The Importance of Fermentable Fiber

Fermentable fiber foods and supplements play an essential role in maintaining not only the health of the lower gut but also overall wellness. Here is what you need to know about fermentable fiber, what foods contain fermentable fibers and how you can tell if you need to increase your intake of healthy dietary fibers.

What Is Fermentable Fiber?

fiber-foodsIn the past, medical scientists and nutrition experts divided dietary fiber into two distinct categories: soluble and insoluble. Today, however, increasing numbers of researchers are beginning to see those categories as inaccurate because studies suggest both insoluble and soluble fibers undergo fermentation in the large intestine. Fermentation is important because it’s the gases and acids produced during the process that result in significant health benefits.

What does this discovery mean? For years, health experts have known that soluble dietary fibers provide important and diverse wellness benefits. Now, it appears certain soluble fibers — such as inulin and oligofructose — also provide these same health benefits because they also ferment in the large intestine. Quite simply, people who make fiber an important part of their diet help their bodies operate and heal more efficiently than those who don’t. The benefits of soluble and insoluble fermentable fibers include:

  • The stimulation of good bacteria production in the colon
  • The stabilization of blood glucose, which helps people avoid developing diabetes
  • The suppression of “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, which helps people avoid hardening of the arteries and heart disease
  • The increase of lower gut acid levels, which protects against cancerous polyp formations and helps the body absorb essential minerals such as iron, calcium and magnesium
  • The inhibition of inflammation by improving the protective layer in the lower gut
  • The stimulation of the immune system by boosting production of helper cells and other antibodies
  • The reduction in the number of dangerous conditions associated with an unhealthy diet, including obesity and a diverse array of gastrointestinal disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease, diverticulitis, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis

How to Make Fermentable Fiber a Part of Your Diet

Multiple independent studies demonstrate that adding foods containing the plant fibers inulin and oligofructose have a beneficial effect on the proliferation of good bacteria in the lower gut. The good news is that making fermentable fiber a regular part of your healthy lifestyle couldn’t be simpler. In the grocery store, you can find fermentable fiber in foods such as chicory root, Jerusalem artichoke, yams, dandelion greens, leeks, onion, garlic, wheat and bananas. The key to success, however, lies in the daily intake — and most people, unfortunately, don’t eat nearly enough fermentable fiber to make serious health improvements.

If eating 15 grams or more of chicory root, onion and other foods doesn’t sound appealing, adding a prebiotic supplement such as Prebiotin to your diet can help you get your daily fiber goal without difficulty — and without adding a ton of unnecessary calories.

8 comments

  1. Susan Borg says:

    Hi, I suffer with GERD & have the Helicobacter infection a few times now, real bad acid reflux at night & early hours of the morning, I cant take Losec as it gives me bad wind pain, so I take Zantac but it doesn’t seem to work, I also take Mylanta this seems to work the best, I eat a very low fat diet Turkey Breast, bananas, etc, I don’t do to well with high fiber foods, bran etc, they seem to just sit in my stomach, I was just wondering what would help me??

    Thank-You
    Susan

    • Lisa says:

      Susan,

      I’m no medical professional – I can only offer the information over learned Through research… Yogurts are, to my knowledge, the best source of oligosaccharides. Do not eat varieties that are sweetened as that sugar will work against your immune system… eat any brand, any style (Greek or regular) in whatever amount you den necessary after you perform your own research. I’ll pray you experience healing from your illnesses.

      In Christ,
      Lisa

    • Em says:

      Hi, Susan! It sounds like you have a lot on your plate and I am glad you reached out! I just wanted to suggest a few things. Firstly and VERY importantly, get off the “very low fat diet” — this diet has been proven to be damaging over and over! Your body desperately needs high quality fats like extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil to function. Low Fat diets wreck every cell in your body, your metabolism, your liver, and your immune system. Do some research online and you’ll find that “low-fat” was always bad science and bad medicine! Taking digestive enzymes and bitters before meal is going to help you start having more motility in your digestive tract. You probably have chronically low HCL due to a b12 deficiency and possibly food sensitivities. Anytime we feel like food is just “sitting in our stomachs” it means our digestive fire is off — which makes us more susceptible to things like GERD and infections — this can be easily corrected with digestive bitters before meals (which stimulate digestion), being more mindful and present when we are eating, taking B complex (especially sublingual b12) daily, supplementing with HCL before every meal and eating fat and protein rich meals and snacks at the same times every day!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Hello Susan,
      I was diagnosed with IBS. Just yesterday the Dr asked check on FODMAP Stand for Health. I went to library and borrowed the book THE PALEO CURE. You will find some good advices and also a list of food that would help you including some recipes.
      Hope you get well soon.

  2. Debbie Kelly says:

    Susan,
    The fiber suggested in the above article should be beneficial and helpful to you. Take it slow and add gradually to allow your gut flora to populate enough to break it down. A good probiotic supplement will also help increase the healthy gut flora. Feel free to friend me on fb as I have some other info I can share with you.
    Debbie Kelly
    Palmyra Pennsylvania

  3. Bry says:

    I suffered for years with acid reflux, diarrhea, stomach pains, depression, anxiety, no energy, sleep problems, and much more. I lived on tums. Eating them all day long. Everyone I had a meal. I found out I was gluten intolerant and stopped eating gluten. Every single problem I had subsided and I’m now healthier than I ever thought I could possibly be. I’ve spent the last 4 years studying food and health and I’ve come to one major conclusion and that is that wheat is never OK for anyone to eat. This is a great article but I have a problem with anything that suggests anyone eat wheat. At one time wheat was OK for human consumption but now it has been found to be detrimental to humans. With or without celiac or gluten intolerance, wheat it not safe to eat. I’ve looked into every study I have seen, heard of and could possibly find and the only time wheat is mentioned as being OK it when it’s casually mentioned in articles like this. Please do your own research and remember you can’t believe everything you read online but this isn’t just something I read once. I’ve been obsessed with health and the human body for years. I know many people call this gluten free thing a new craze but it’s really not. If you don’t believe what you see or hear then try it yourself. Take 1 month of your life and cut gluten out completely. So many people have done this that didn’t think they had any serious issues and they’ve benefited from it just in the increase in energy, the better sleep, the lack of the slightest stomach issues.

  4. Martin Jordan says:

    I like your response Bry, and as a Naturopath I couldn’t agree more…

  5. Edna says:

    Oats, nuts, fatty fish, beans, Blueberries lower the cholesterol, hence preventing from diseases. I think greater use of vegetables having more fiber content is also good for this very purpose.

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