We all understand the importance of fibre in an adult diet, but it’s easy to forget that it’s just as important for our kids. To understand why, let’s take a quick tour of the digestive process.
Digestion done quick
It all starts when we chew up food and let it mix with the saliva in our mouths.The food then travels down the throat to the stomach, where acids and enzymes help to digest it into a pulpy fluid known as chyme.
Next up is the small intestine, where enzymes continue to break down the chyme, and nutrients are absorbed. Any undigested matter then passes on to the large intestine (colon), and this is where fibre comes into play.
Fibre falls into two main groups:
- Insoluble fibre doesn’t dissolve in gastrointestinal fluids, and passes through the digestive system largely unchanged.
- Soluble fibre combines with water to form a gel-like substance, which is broken down by bacteria in the large intestine.
Both kinds are common: many foods contain both soluble and insoluble fibre.
What’s the fuss about fibre?
While most foods are digested into nutrients and energy to fuel the whole body, the fibre you eat resists being broken down until it arrives in the large intestine.
Why is this such a good thing?
- Having survived as far as the colon, certain kinds of fibre act as a fuel for the beneficial gut bacteria of your microbiome.
- Fibre is important to bowel health, supporting bowel regularity.
Kids and fibre
Fibre plays a particularly important role in the early years.
Your child’s microbiome is still under construction, with prebiotic fibre encouraging beneficial strains of bacteria to grow.
During breastfeeding, the natural oligosaccharides in your milk (or similar compounds found in some infant formulas) help fuel your baby’s microbiome. After weaning, diet becomes your child’s primary source of fibre.
Where to find fibre
Fibre is naturally found in a wide range of fruits and vegetables, with whole grains and legumes high on the list.
Soluble fibre is more common than insoluble fibre. Some rich sources include apples, citrus fruits, oats, barley, peas and lentils. (Leave the skin on the apple for extra fibre goodness.)
For insoluble fibre, make sure to include whole grains, beans, bran, nuts and potatoes in your child’s diet. A good diet should include plenty of both kinds of fibre.
A helping hand
If you want to complement your child’s dietary intake of fibre, you can also try Pentavite Fibre & Prebiotic Kids Liquid, which helps support bowel regularity.
This product contains inulin and fructooligosaccharides (FOS), both good sources of prebiotic fibre.
Conveniently added to food or drink, Pentavite Fibre & Prebiotic Kids Liquid has a naturally delicious berry flavour that kids will love, without any artificial colours or flavours.
Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. Supplements should not replace a balanced diet.