DR TIM CROWE
Tim is an Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian, nutrition
scientist and science communicator. Connect with him at
www.thinkingnutrition.com.au or through his
Thinking Nutrition podcast.
FEATURE ARTICLE WINTER 2020
EATING YOUR WAY
TO A HEALTHY GUT
Dietitian Dr Tim Crowe gives us the lowdown on fibre for optimal gut health.
You are what you eat. It is a common saying, but when it
comes to your health, especially your gut health, what you
eat has a profound impact on keeping you and your gut
microbes in good shape. A growing field of research is finding
that gut bacteria can play a crucial role in your health. Feed
these microbes well, and your digestive system will work at
its peak capability.
A well-fed microbe population opens the door to improved
health. Immunity, mental health, heart disease, diabetes,
chronic inflammation and even bodyweight is linked to the
Prebiotic fibre is food for gut microbes
Eat more fibre. I’m sure you have heard this advice many
times before, and for a good reason. Eating more foods
high in dietary fibre is one of the best things you can do for
The bacteria in our gut play an important part in our health,
and prebiotic fibre is the food they thrive on. Prebiotics act as
a fuel to enhance the growth or activity of beneficial bacteria
such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus.
Some other benefits of prebiotics include a stronger gut
barrier, immunity and even regularity of bowel movements.
Prebiotics can also help reduce the amount of potentially
damaging bacteria in the gut by altering the acidity, and
making it a less hospitable place for more harmful bacteria.
Dietary fibre in our diet can be either soluble
Soluble fibre dissolves in water, forming viscous gels that
can bypass digestion in the small intestine. Gut bacteria can
then easily ferment the soluble fibre.
} Foods high in soluble fibre include barley, oats, legumes,
vegetables and fruits.
Insoluble fibre is mostly responsible for keeping things moving
along the gut. When insoluble fibre reaches the bowel, it
absorbs a lot of water and increases the bulk of the stool. It also
makes the stool softer, increasing the speed and ease at which
it passes through your bowel. This all adds up to helping prevent
constipation and keeping your bowel movements regular.
} Insoluble fibre is found mainly in wholegrain cereal foods,
wheat bran and vegetables.
YMCA HEALTHY LIVING MAGAZINE