The Toilet is my Friend!
Fibre is what cleans out the lower intestines and adds bulk to food. The best news about fibre is that:
• It helps keep you full
• It contributes no calories to your meal
• Helps you lose weight faster
• By helping your body transport fat and calories through your digestive system, it causes some calories and fat to be excreted in your faeces.
• Soluble fibre coats the intestines, reducing the amount of fat absorbed.
• It takes longer to eat.
• It moves food quickly through the lower intestines, minimising the time toxins remain in the system
• Helps prevent constipation, haemorrhoids and diverticulitis
• It helps to balance cholesterol levels
• It slows the impact of carbohydrates, preventing sugar cravings and insulin spikes
• It lowers risk of developing colo-rectal cancer, irritable bowel syndrome and haemorrhoids.
• Leads to a more efficient absorption of water and minerals
Generally between 18g to 24grams of fibre are beneficial, with 25g –30g being optimal. It is found in bran, psyllium, vegetables, pulses, lentils and oats. When fibre is added to a diet, weight will begin to go down while the converse is also true, when refined foods are eaten, weight will either remain high or begin to climb. Initially though, if you are used to more refined foods and you swap to high fibre, you may experience some windiness. This is because fibre is fermented in the large intestines by the bacteria living there and this process produces methane, hydrogen and carbon dioxide. These side effects, while initially uncomfortable, are just part of the transition process and will settle as your diet improves. Introduce fibre more slowly into your diet and this will minimise the problem. Sometimes, as soon as we ingest more fibre, we become constipated. This usually happens if we are not drinking enough water. You can avoid this by increasing your water intake.
Soluble and insoluble fibre.
Insoluble fibre is the husk type fibre. This acts like a broom and ‘sweeps’ the colon clean. It can sweep quite quickly so we need the soluble fibre to slow it down. Soluble fibre absorbs water and forms a gel like colloid in the stomach. This slows down the time it takes the stomach to empty and this contributes to how soluble fibre decreases the glycemic impact of the meal. The food enters the intestines more slowly and from there, more slowly into the blood. Without the carbohydrate sugars spiking in the blood, the insulin also rises more slowly.
• Introduce the fibre slowly, over a four-week period.
• Vary your intake of veggies and fruits.
• Stay away from all processed foods. These do not benefit the body in any way.
• Drink at least 8 glasses of water per day.
If you are being treated for any health disorder, please check with your doctor before beginning a high fibre diet.
Do not overdose on fibre. Too much may cause the body to become depleted in minerals and vitamins.
Foods that are rich in fibre include fruits, vegetables, brown rice, wholegrain pasta, whole meal bread, nuts, seeds, and bran. Foods that are high in soluble fibre are fruits, vegetables, lentils, beans, and outs. Foods high in insoluble fibre are: whole meal bread, brown rice, fruits, and vegetables. It is best to eat a combination of soluble and insoluble fibre.
Some interesting facts about your colon, called your large intestines.
• It is about 6 feet long
• It serves to dehydrate liquid waste material
• Your appendix is attached to your colon
• Your rectum is a storage pouch that retains feces until your large intestines contract to expel the contents.
• Your colon is contracting all the time in moves called peristalsis.
• Your emotional state affects your colon health.
• While 90% of the water you take in is absorbed by the small intestines your colon also has special cells that reabsorb water and some nutrients, as well as cells that release mucous that lubricates the large intestines.
• When waste material moves through the bowel too quickly for water to be reabsorbed, you will experience diarrhea.
When waste travels too slowly, too much water is absorbed, leading to constipation. Constipation leads to the development of little pouches in the colon wall, called diverticuli. Small bits of old feces can get lodged within these pouches, leading to diverticulitis and other problems.
Causes of constipation
• Sporadic, small meals that do not elicit peristaltic contraction of the intestines
• Not excreting when you feel the urge to do so.
• Poor water intake
• Poor fibre intake
• Poor intestinal health
• Eat 3-4 larger meals during the day, not 5 smaller meals. This promotes the stretch receptors in the stomach, which, in turn, trigger peristalsis
• Do not suppress or delay the urge to go. The longer the waste remains in your bowel, the more water will be absorbed from it. In addition, the toxins will also be reabsorbed.
• Drink lots of water
• Consume plenty of fibre rich food
• Consume healthy fats, particularly omega 3.
• Maintain healthy bacteria in your intestines by taking probiotics
• Maintain low stress levels