Unlocking longevity with prebiotic fibre
Ageing is an undeniable part of life. And while we can't halt the passage of time, we do hold the power to shape the quality of our later years through diet and lifestyle. In this post, we discuss how adding one simple ingredient to your diet - fibre - can help you take control of your well-being and make the most of the journey ahead.
Dietary fibre is a type of carbohydrate that cannot be broken down by the human body. Instead, fibre travels to the large intestine undigested where it is partially or completely broken down by a large community of beneficial gut bacteria. Let's explore how fibre influences longevity and the various ways you can improve your fibre intake to reap its benefits.
One of the essential contributions of fibre to longevity is its impact on weight management. High-fibre foods have a unique ability to increase satiety and keep you feeling fuller for longer periods. This characteristic makes them valuable allies in weight control. Numerous studies have demonstrated that adults who regularly consume whole grains - a rich source of fibre - tend to gain less weight compared to those who rarely include them in their diet. Moreover, dietary fibre intake has been independently associated with weight loss and increased adherence to calorie-restricted diets, making it especially valuable for overweight or obese individuals seeking to shed extra pounds.
Prevention of chronic disease
Adequate fibre consumption is crucial for preventing chronic diseases, some of which are leading causes of death in the UK. Research has shown that consuming fibre-rich foods such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables can significantly reduce the risk of dying from heart disease and certain types of cancer. A high-fibre diet has been associated with a 16% to 24% reduction in the risk of dying from cardiac disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and colon cancer. The risk reduction is most significant when aiming for a daily fibre intake of between 30 to 35 grams.
Let's delve into some specific chronic diseases that are directly influenced by fibre consumption:
Fibre can improve insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance in diabetic individuals, helping to control blood sugar levels and prevent hyperglycemia.
Studies have shown that increased fibre intake is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, better lipid profiles, and lower levels of inflammatory markers. Soluble fibre, in particular, plays a critical role in lowering LDL cholesterol levels (the “bad” cholesterol), a major risk factor for heart disease, thereby contributing to better heart health.
Fibre also plays a vital role in protecting against certain types of cancers, including colorectal and bladder cancers. Research has revealed that individuals who consume fibre-rich foods, such as whole grains, have a lower risk of colorectal cancer, one of the deadliest forms of cancer. Additionally, high intakes of whole grains and total dietary fibre have been associated with a reduced risk of bladder cancer.
Gut microbiome health
Another way fibre promotes longevity is by supporting gut health. The gut microbiome, a complex community of bacteria in your intestines, plays a crucial role in various aspects of health, including digestion, weight regulation, immunity, and even mood. Since our body can’t digest fibre, it passes through to the large intestine where it becomes food for our beneficial gut bacteria. When our gut bacteria digest fibre, they produce an important substance called butyrate, which supports metabolic health, strengthens the immune system, and helps control inflammation.
Perhaps one of the most striking findings is that an increased dietary fibre intake is associated with a reduced risk of death from any cause. Studies have shown that people who consume more fibre reduce their risk of mortality by 23% compared to those who consume little to no fibre. For every 10 grams of fibre consumed, the risk of mortality decreases by 10%.
In conclusion, fibre is a powerful ally in promoting longevity and a healthy lifespan. Its effects on weight management, prevention of chronic diseases, support for gut health, reduction of inflammation, and cholesterol management all contribute to its significant impact on longevity. By incorporating fibre-rich foods into your daily diet, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes, you can increase your chances of living a longer, healthier life.
What else can I do to get enough fibre?
We get it. It’s hard to get your 30g of fibre a day.
This is why the microbiome scientists and dietitians at myota have developed a number of custom fibre mixes that provides 1/3 (10g) of your fibre needs in just one tablespoon.
Our fibres are specifically designed to support immunity, metabolic health, mental wellbeing, digestive health, and gut microbiome diversity. Our mixes are purified versions of the fibres that comes from natural plant sources. Find out more here.