We say fabulous because when fibre reaches the large intestine it is the vital food source for your resident gut bacteria. They ferment the fibre which in turn produces short chain fatty acids (SCFA). These compounds stabilise the integrity of the gut wall and are believed to play an anti-inflammatory role in the prevention of colitis and colon cancer.
These beneficial microbes also provide you with:
The ability to digest food properly
Protection against pathogenic bacteria
Immune system training
A connection between your gut and brain
Start low and go slow with increasing your fibre intake. Aim for approximately 25 - 30 grams per day – most western diets contain about 1/2 of this daily recommended fibre but you need to allow your body to adjust gradually to increasing fibre intake.
Cereal fibres often contain more grams of carbohydrates.
Prebiotic Fibre - a subclass of fibre that positively influences the growth of beneficial bacteria like Lactobacilli and Bifidobacterium. Some examples include Inulin, Fructo-Oligosaccharide and Galacto-Oligosaccharide. There is no consensus for a daily prebiotic fibre recommendation however 3-8 grams per day is a common suggested dose. Some prebiotic fibres and can cause side effects such as gas, bloating and abdominal cramping if used in high doses. The best way to minimise this is to start at the lowest dose and try introducing new prebiotic foods in small amounts; halve your prebiotic supplement dose or take it on alternate days.
Foods high in prebiotic fibre are garlic, chicory root, artichoke, leeks, asparagus and onions.