Do you take care of your gut health? While many of us try to get our five a day, balance our diets and cut down on nasties like saturated fats, far fewer of us think about the impact that our diet has on the health of our gut. With lots of people now choosing alternative diets such as veganism (which contain no animal products) our guts can miss out on the essential probiotics they need to thrive.
Why listen to your gut?
So why should we be more conscious of our gut health? Well, there are all sorts of very good reasons for that. There are 100 billion bacteria in every gram of intestinal content in our tummies. There are also 100 million neurons in our gut, which ferry messages all the way around our body. With so much going on, and so many connections, a happy gut can really set the stage for a healthy body.
From reducing bloating and managing our weight, to keeping our hormonal balance in check and potentially reducing our risks of everything from depression, to heart disease and diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, Parkinson’s and cancers; the list of possible “healthy gut” benefits is long and steadily growing as more research is conducted.
So what should you eat to boost your gut health?
1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Not sure which oil to cook or dress your salad with? Extra virgin olive oil contains more microbe-friendly polyphenols than any other fat.
2. Miso Soup
This tasty, tangy, salty broth is packed with all the protein, fibre and probiotics a gut will naturally love. You can even make tasty miso based salad dressings, if you’re not in the mood for soup.
This classic Korean dish of fermented cabbage is absolutely bursting with probiotics and fibre. Along with a host of other dietary “good guys”, Kimchi is laden with lactobacilli, a healthy bacteria which is essential for great gut health. Not a big Kimchi fan? Try sauerkraut as an alternative!
4. Non-Dairy Yoghurt
Although yogurt does contain probiotics, dairy- or lactose-free alternatives are often even better for you (just make sure you check out the ingredients and fibre content first). Soya yogurts, coconut and almond options often feature live probiotic cultures.
Good news for flavour fiends, garlic is a powerful prebiotic. Unlike probiotics, prebiotics feed the good bacteria already present in your gut, keeping your internal ecosystem in great condition! Raw garlic is the best for this, time to get crushing!
Do you make an active effort to take care of your gut health? What foods do you ensure you include in your diet? Share your ideas below.