Bile and Fibre

Bile and Fibre

What is bile:

Bile is important for the digestion of fat. It is a liquid made in the liver and stored in the gallbladder until you eat. Bile is similar to soap. Just like soap breaks down fat when cleaning clothes or dishes, bile breaks down fats from food, helping digestion.

When we are lacking bile it’s common to deal with an inability to digest fats, hormonal imbalances, an unstable nervous system, digestive issues, lack of appetite, intolerances, nausea, constipation, inability to lose weight, fatigue, fatty liver, and PMS.

Bile can become thick and sludgy, ideally bile should be nice and thin. Fibre helps this process and cleans the bile.

From this source,When we don’t eat fiber, the toxins that we should be eliminating through our bowels get reabsorbed into the bloodstream — and that can cause many problems”.

Why we need bile:

  • Digests fats.
  • Helps us absorb fat soluble nutrients like vitamins A, D, E & K.
  • Detoxing…. it doesn’t matter what you are trying to detox whether it’s heavy metals, bad bacteria, Lyme, parasites, medications, ammonia, candida, hormones, toxic copper or excess iron- you need bile to properly detox it all.
  • Helps alkalise the intestines.

Which fibre is best?

Obtaining fibre from a range of food sources is ideal, such as oats, fruit and vegetables etc. Soluble fibre feeds the “beneficial” gut bacteria, it also really gets the bile moving, the source that seems the best for bile is beans.

Which type of beans?

Any beans are good, personally I prefer low oxalate beans such as chickpeas and butter beans.

Some children may not be up for eating beans, so for my son for example, I fry them for a few minutes to make them crispier (I’ve found Co-op brand of chickpea perfect for frying!). Or you could pop them in a curry, stew or make houmous.

How many beans?

Each person can handle different amounts of beans, some may need to divide the portions into 2 or 3 times a day.

Some need to very small amounts, like a teaspoon of beans a day. Nutritionist Karen Hurd (who created the ‘bean diet’) suggests the aim is ½ cup three times a day. However, many won’t need to divide the dose up and for example can eat one can of beans each day for one meal, such as lunch.

We don’t all tolerate beans immediately. If you don’t — it’s likely you need to build up stomach acid or you’re dislodging and sweeping out pathogens (e.g. candida, bad bacteria).

Ideally you want to be moving stools a few hours or the next morning after eating beans, if this doesn’t happen, I would look into low stomach acid.


  • Those who have SIBO need to go slowly introducing fibre. Fibre for some might end up feeding the bacteria too much. In my experience though, SIBO is very common in those suffering with low bile flow (and low stomach acid), but we may need to address a few other things before increasing fibre.   
  • Just remember if you’re low in stomach acid, take betaine with beans as they are a good source of protein. Bile and stomach acid are then working together, which is a magical digestion partnership!
  • Those with Ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s or Diverticulitis, may need to consult a nutritionist before increasing fibre.  

As ever if you have any questions on any of the above, please do feel free to contact me.


Karen Hurd on Enterohepatic Recirculation

Fiber: Why it Matters more than you think!