We all know that a healthy gut is the foundation for good health overall. So, let’s delve a bit deeper into how, on a day to day basis, we can include things that are helping our gut. These foods are pretty great – they either help to reduce inflammation, promote the good bugs in our gut, or provide the right type of fibre for the good bugs to feed on (and therefore stay there where they have a good food source). You ready? Here they are:
These little seeds are powerhouses of nutritional value – they are an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids – which are anti-inflammatory. They are a great source of fibre – this fibre helps to keep your bowels regular, and also encourages the good bugs to stay in your gut. You can buy them at your local health food shop, whole food store, or the health food section of the supermarket. My tip – buying ground up linseeds, or whole linseeds and grind them yourself prior to consuming helps to get the most nutritional benefit out of them. Add them to your favourite smoothie, with some yoghurt and berries, or on your cereal.
This amazing fruit is full of mono-unsaturated fat and vitamin E, both of which are anti-inflammatory in the body (in the gut, brain, heart). Vitamin E is a very important antioxidant, having a role to play in many processes in our bodies, one of which is the function of the liver. Remember, the liver is an important organ in the detoxification process. My tip – buying avocado variety that is season, and enjoy on your eggs, on your rice cakes or toast instead of margarine or butter.
These are an excellent source of omega 3 fats, fibre, antioxidants, polyphenols and have been found to promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. A Randomised controlled trial (RCT, the “gold standard” when it comes to research) of 194 people carried out in 2017 showed that daily consumption of 43gm walnuts (approx. 1 and ½ handfuls) over 8 weeks significantly affects the gut microbiome by enhancing probiotic- and butyric acid-producing species (the “good bugs”). (1) So, including these little powerhouse nuts as a snack is a great idea.
Oats are a great source of soluble fibre. This fibre feeds the good bugs in your gut. If you are celiac, you could try gluten free oats OR quinoa flakes as a replacement. Oats are not only good for your gut, they are also good for your heart – helping to lower LDL cholesterol levels.
Overall, eating a whole foods diet has been shown to be beneficial to gut health. Having foods that are as close to their natural state as possible is what it is all about. So, head to your local farmers market and load up on fresh vegetables and fruit for the week – you can have a chat to the farmers, and it is great in terms of reducing food miles (more on this in another post). Remember, if it comes off a tree, out of the ground, from the ocean or the farm, this is a great start. You will be amazed at the difference this simple change to your intake can make to your overall energy and your gut health.
For more information on what will work for your body and health, book an appointment with dietician, Cathy Welsby.
References: 1. https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/10/2/244