Fibre comes in two forms, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibre swells with water and traps a portion of harmful microbes and dietary fats preventing them from entering the body. Insoluble fibre increases bulk, which eases digestion.
Fibre can help to reduce appetite (3). It fills you up so you eat less, and in addition, it prevents some fat from entering your system.
Fibre boosts beneficial bacteria, by giving your bacteria something to feed on. It can also help to keep the balance of your gut ecosystem in check, which is helpful for preventing bowel disease and dysbiosis (5). Harvard University conducted a study wherein they followed 43,881 men, and researchers found that eating adequate fiber, and insoluble fiber in particular, was associated with a 40% reduction in the risk of diverticulitis (intestinal inflammation).
The last point I'll elaborate on in this post, is fibre's potential to improve muscle tissue. This major benefit of fiber comes from the fact that it carries out the waste byproducts of muscle production. This type of waste build up in the system increases body fat and decreases overall body health. When that waste is not eliminated from the system properly, it exerts stress on the body. That stress then decreases the levels of growth hormones, which are needed in order for muscle growth.
Some of my favourite sources of grain and legume-free fibre are:
- Avocado - 7g fibre per 100g (about half an avocado)
- Sweet potato (kumara) - 3.9g fibre per 133g (a small sweet potato)
- Figs - 4.1g fibre per 5 dried
- Broccoli - 5g fibre per 1 cup
The Mayo Clinic has a useful chart of high-fibre foods which you can access here: