The foods you eat and the lifestyle you lead have a tremendous influence on the health of your digestive system. Staying active, staying hydrated and making sure that your diet contains an abundance of plant foods are all key to digestive health. Let’s take a closer look at two plant components – fibre and aloe – and how they help support the health of your digestive system.
‘Fibre and Aloe support the health of your digestive system’ – Herbalife Nutrition expert Susan Bowerman, RD
WHAT IS FIBRE?
Fibre is a type of (non-digestible) carbohydrate that plays a key role in normal digestion.
There are two types: soluble and insoluble.
Unlike other complex carbs, fibre cannot be broken down by the human digestive system, so most of it passes through the small intestine, providing bulk.
Am I getting enough?
As the most important dietary factor for helping to maintain normal gastrointestinal function adults should aim for 25g fibre per day.
Yet research shows 72% men and 87% women do not reach this daily recommendation. If your current fibre intake is low, increase your fibre consumption gradually and drink plenty of water.
So what should I eat?
Since your body needs both types of fibre, it’s best to eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains. Aim to have a fruit or vegetable with every meal or snack, toss some beans into a soup or salad, and choose whole grains over refined “white” breads, cereals, rice and pasta. Not only will you get both types of fibre you’ll also benefit from the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that these healthy foods contain.
ALOE ALSO PROMOTES DIGESTIVE HEALTH
Aloe is also popularly promoted as a tonic for the digestive system, since it helps to support nutrient absorption and overall digestive health. As foods pass through the digestive system, nutrients and water are absorbed in the intestines so the body can utilize them, while waste is passed through.
When designed for oral use, aloe is available in several forms including aloe vera juice, liquid concentrate, or as a dried aloe extract designed to be mixed with beverages such as water and tea. Some forms of aloe also have a light, refreshing flavor, which encourages you to take in more fluids. In that way, aloe can do double duty for your digestive system – you get the digestive support and you might be better hydrated, too.