Whether you want to lose weight, recover faster from exercise, increase energy or elevate mood, the health of your gut plays a very important role. One of the easiest ways to improve your gut health, is to eat foods that nourish your gut microbiome – the trillions of microscopic bacteria that lives within your gastrointestinal tract.
Here are our top Gut Happy Foods that can be easily introduced to your daily diet:
Polyphenols are compounds found mostly in colourful fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, nuts, seeds, red wine, green and black tea. Polyphenols ensure that the balance of your gut microbiome is maintained. They reduce inflammation and improve overall metabolism, especially of sugar (glucose) and fats (lipids). This enhances the quality of your health and prevents disease.
Prebiotics are generally the non-digestible, plant fibres found in food. They are the foods that feed and nourish the friendly bacteria already present in your gut. Inulin is the main prebiotic compound found in foods such as asparagus, onions, garlic and artichokes. Other forms of prebiotics are fructo-oligosaccharides, galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), xylo-oligosaccharides (XOS) and arabinogalactans. Inulin and GOS have much positive research behind them and are shown to prevent bacterial imbalances in the gut, leaky gut, obesity and its complications. Foods rich in prebiotic fibre are asparagus, leeks, onions, radishes, tomatoes, garlic, artichoke, carrots and kiwi fruit.
Probiotic Rich Foods
Probiotics are the living bacteria that restore and renew our microbiome. They reduce inflammation in the intestines, improve the quality of the gut and reduce absorption of toxins. Fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, kimchee, fermented vegetables, yoghurt and kefir are natural probiotics.
Your cell walls are made up of fat, so in order to do their job they need healthy fats such as nuts, nut butters (almond, cashew, macadamia), seeds, seed butters, avocado, oily fish, flaxseeds and olive oil. Having healthy cells ensures that you are the best version of your inherited genes because whatever enters your cells, affects your DNA. Unhealthy fats such as vegetable oils feed the harmful bacteria – the microbes that ignite inflammation, encourage your body to store fat and produce toxins.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Your microbiome and stomach acid stimulate your small intestine to produce the enzymes needed to break down nutrients from the food you eat. If you have an unbalanced or unhealthy microbiome or low stomach acid this important signal is not given, and digestion can be compromised. A simple way to improve your stomach acid is to use Apple Cider Vinegar. You can dilute 1 tbsp of this household favourite in water before most meals and also use it as a staple vinegar in sauces and dressings.