What Is SIFO And How Can It Affect Your Gut Health?
Sifo is a term used to refer to two different substances: a soluble fiber found naturally in certain fruits and vegetables such as onions, garlic, leeks, cabbage and broccoli; and another insoluble fiber found naturally in some grains like wheat bran or rice bran. Both types of fibers are beneficial for your digestive system because they help keep it healthy. They prevent gas, bloating and other unpleasant symptoms associated with diarrhea.
The soluble fiber content of foods varies widely from one type to another. For example, whole grain bread contains much less than white flour bread.
Whole grain bread may contain up to 10% soluble fiber compared to 1-2% in white flour bread. Some fruits and vegetables have higher levels of soluble fiber than others (see table).
Table: Fiber Content Of Common Foods
Food Serving Size % Soluble Fiber Apple 1/4 cup 3.3 Brown Rice 1 cup 2.9 Peanut Butter (unsalted) 1 Tbsp 0.8 Orange Juice (unsweetened) 1 oz 0.6 Banana 4 medium 0.5 Tomato 4 medium 0.4 Cabbage (green & raw) ½ head 5.0 Celery stalks ½ stalk 4.7 Onion ¼ onion 2.3 Turnip 1 small 1.2
SIFO AND DIGESTIVE HEALTH
A diet rich in foods that contain SIFO is good for your digestive system. Your body can’t break down and use the nutrients in food without proper digestion, which depends on a complex system of organs that work together to break down food and excrete waste.
The way your stomach churns up food and slowly pushes it into small “particles” so that the intestines can absorb nutrients is an amazing process. Your intestines also need to keep the right balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria, and this delicate system can easily be upset by a bad diet or foods that contain excessive amounts of fat, sugars, and chemicals.
A diet that contains SIFO helps to lower the chances of digestive problems because it keeps your digestive tract moving along at a good pace. The soluble fiber absorbs water as it passes through your system, and this softens your stool.
Your intestines also have many “finger-like” projections that latch onto the soft stool, pull it further down, and basically sweep the walls clean. Both the soluble and insoluble fiber in SIFO help to protect the lining of your intestinal tract by creating a layer of padding that prevents bad things (like certain chemicals, toxins, or unhealthy foods) from being absorbed into your blood stream.
A diet low in foods that contain SIFO can actually contribute to making your digestive system sick. If you don’t consume enough soluble and insoluble fiber, your stool can become hard and large in size.
This is known as constipation. When this happens, the finger-like projections in your intestines can’t sweep out all of the waste material, and this can cause a build-up.
Sources & references used in this article:
Small intestinal fungal overgrowth by A Erdogan, SSC Rao – Current gastroenterology reports, 2015 – Springer
Dysmotility and proton pump inhibitor use are independent risk factors for small intestinal bacterial and/or fungal overgrowth by C Jacobs, E Coss Adame, A Attaluri… – Alimentary …, 2013 – Wiley Online Library
How Do Our Bodies Maintain Healthy Gut Flora? by D Driscoll – vagusnervesupport.com
Investigation of Small Intestinal Fungal Overgrowth (SIFO) and/or Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) in Chronic, Unexplained Gastrointestinal … by C Jacobs, J Valestin, A Attaluri, GK Zamba… – …, 2011 – gastrojournal.org