Nutrition And Gut Health: The Rundown
When it comes to gut health, one of the largest growing areas of research, there is still very much we are yet to discover. What we do know though, is that good gut health is linked to many other aspects of our overall health. This includes a stronger immune system, better skin, improved digestion and is even linked to a better mood (hello gut brain axis). As a dietitian, one of my favourite topics is to break down all the complex information out there on gut health and really focus on the basics of how eating well can benefit your gut.
Research has shown that when it comes to ways to optimise and create diversity in your gut health and microbiome (aka gut bacteria), one of the main principles is to allow as much plant diversity in your diet as possible.
The research shows that those individuals that consume 30 or more different plant foods per week, and subsequently eat more fibre, have more favourable diversity in their gut microbiome. This increase in population of bacteria results in a higher production of short-chain fatty acids, which have a role in maintaining a healthy immune system and are linked with reduced inflammation.
However, unfortunately many Australians do not eat enough vegetables or hit their fibre target each day and therefore 30 plant foods a week can seem like a lot! Simple ways to increase this diversity in your diet might include: switching out meat for legumes or tofu in meals, aiming for your five vegetables and two fruits each day by changing up sandwich fillings or snacks, or rotating what cereal you have for breakfast to incorporate a mix of different grains, nuts and seeds.
When we become run down, stressed, physically inactive or struggle to maintain a good diet, this is where our gut microbiome and bacteria can get thrown out of whack. In this situation, increasing probiotic containing foods can help regain that balance and work towards diversifying your gut bacteria again. Probiotics are live bacteria that can benefit your digestive function and support your immune system. Food sources of probiotics include yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, or probiotic drinks such as PERKii. Through increasing more plant products in your diet and including different probiotic food sources you can help your gut flourish.
See the below recipe for a great example of how you can get creative to not only increase your diversity of plant foods (this recipe contains 6!!) but also includes probiotics.
Green Goddess Juice
What you need:
- 1 green apple
- 1 kiwi fruit
- 1/3 of a cucumber
- 1 handful chopped kale
- 3-4 mint leaves
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 PERKii Super Greens Probiotic Shot
Blend all ingredients together and enjoy!
About Maddy: Maddy Hall is an Australian Dietitian and recipe developer who spreads her love of nutrition through sharing her passion for all things cooking and food. Her goal is to teach people that nurturing your body does not have to involve dieting, restricting foods you love or expensive health supplements.
Through her online platform, @madsdietitian on Instagram, Maddy shares tasty, affordable, and easy to make recipes whilst collaborating with like minded brands.