Beneficial Nutrition for Gut Health
What is gut health?
The concept of gut health has recently garnered a lot of media attention, but with so many sources of information, it can be tricky to find the right path to nurture your digestive health. A good place to start is to work out what great gut health actually looks and feels like.
Typically, gut health includes:
- Absence of gastrointestinal disease or symptoms
- Absence of undesirable gut conditions, such as having a leaky gut or mucosal inflammation (inflammation of the gut lining)
- Good function of processes linked to the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, such as the normal digestion and absorption of food
- A healthy balance of microbes living in the GI tract, also referred to as the microbiome.
Signs of a healthy gut
Scientists have recently begun to discover the complexity of the microbiome and its impact on overall health. While there’s still much to be discovered, it’s quite easy to do a general check of your gut health and to identify any issues. The following are all signs of a healthy digestive system:
- Regular bowel movements
- Ability to eat a diverse diet without any digestive issues
- No excess bloating or gas
- Good sleep and energy levels
- Sharp memory, stable mood and an ability to concentrate.
It’s also a good idea to:
- Limit processed foods, high salt foods and sugary foods.
- Avoid antibiotics as much as possible.
How can I make my gut healthy?
The trillions of bacteria, fungi, and other microbes in your digestive tract make up your gut microbiome. The composition of that microbiome is unique to you. Having a diverse range of “good” bacteria is the cornerstone of a healthy gut, and there’s plenty you can do to improve the quality of bacteria in your microbiome.
Here are some useful ways to support friendly bacteria and suppress unfriendly bacteria:
Eat a diverse range of foods
Try to eat the rainbow by mixing and matching plant foods with different colours. Aim to eat 50 different foods to feed at least 1,500 bacteria.
Read 50 Foods Challenge , written by our director Enid Taylor to find out how to increase diversity. You can also use the 50 Food Challenge Grid, which helps support your ability to eat diversely and enhance gut health.
Get your greens
Many plant-based foods also contain polyphenols. These compounds are not easily absorbed through your intestines, so they move along your gut to the large intestine, where most of your gut bacteria live. Microbes feed on polyphenols. In the process, they convert them into a variety of bioactive compounds which benefit your overall health, including that of your digestive system.
Eat prebiotic-rich foods
Prebiotics are a type of fibre that feeds friendly gut bacteria. Prebiotics pass through your gut without being digested and nourish your gut bacteria. Some examples include bananas, Jerusalem artichoke, chicory root, and onions.
Feed on fermented foods
Probiotic foods contain live bacteria. They may help increase the diversity of your gut bacteria. There is some evidence that consuming these foods might encourage the growth of good bacteria and benefit overall health. Examples include kefir, kimchi, kombucha, miso and sauerkraut.
Avoid processed foods
These foods have high levels of refined sugars, salt, additives, and unhealthy fats. Research has revealed that processed foods including these ingredients don’t feed friendly bacteria in your gut, resulting in your good bacteria being starved and destroyed. When you’re considering long term health, it’s vital to support the survival of your healthy bacteria.
Frozen live yoghurt bark recipe
Below is a yummy recipe for you to try which not only nourishes your gut but also adds diversity to your diet!
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 500g / 2 cups plain or vanilla yoghurt (or any live yoghurt)
- 1 tbsp dried cranberries
- 1 tbsp raisins
- 35g strawberries, chopped
- 25g dried mango, chopped
- 25g cashews, finely chopped
- 1 tsp desiccated coconut
- Mix the yoghurt with the cranberries and raisins in a large bowl.
- Line a baking tray with foil or baking paper and pour the yoghurt mixture on top. Spread it about 1 ½ cm thick, or whatever you prefer.
- Sprinkle the strawberries, cashews and desiccated coconut on top and place in the freezer for 1-2 hours or until it is completely frozen.
- Remove from the freezer and use a sharp knife to break the bark into pieces.
If you’re looking for more information around improving and nurturing gut health, read our recent blog about the benefits of nutrition and hydration for your gut.
Find out more about Taymount by visiting our website: www.taymount.com
The Taymount Team
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