Digestion is more important than you perhaps realise for our overall health and obviously plays a huge part in our weight management. Everywhere you look now in the supermarkets there is a plethora of products aimed at boosting our microbiome the health buzzword of the moment. Coincidentally I was given at Christmas a copy of Dr Michael Mosley’s wonderful book called The Clever Guts Diet which made a wonderful read especially after the excesses of seasonal fayre! Since then I have started to take more notice of not only the probiotic foods but also the less known about prebiotic foods. It is a fascinating subject and it was interesting to learn that our gut actually has a brain called the enteric system made up of the same neurons as our brains and which stretches in a thin membrane from the throat to the rectum. This may explain why we get that “gut-feeling” or “gut instinct” about something!
If you suffer from any kind of digestive disorder a greater understanding of how to look after your gut is to be recommended. The first thing to know is that a wide range of about 30 different plant based foods is advised over a two week period and this is a combination of nuts, seeds, wholegrains, legumes, fruit and vegetables. The intestine is 9 metres long and 70% of our immune system lies within it. Modern diets have disrupted the trillions of bacteria in our guts and to date approximately 1500 species of bacteria have been identified in the gut microbiota. Science is beginning to understand more about the biome and so it makes sense to think about your own biome when you eat and to learn about which foods or drinks consumed affect your own disposition and health. Foods that nourish the gut are olive oil, oily fish, grass-fed meat, cocoa, eggs, colourful fruit and vegetables, herbs and spices. Prebiotics include Inulin (found in onions, leeks and garlic, chicory, Jerusalem artichoke, asparagus and bananas) and fibre (in the form of barley, oats, flaxseeds). Probiotics can be found in live full-fat yoghurt, cheese and fermented foods like kefir, kimchi and sauerkraut. It may be useful to add here that the foods to avoid to promote a healthy diverse biome are sugar and processed foods. If you are interested in knowing more why not visit cleverguts.com.