Nutrition

6 best foods to nurture your gut microbiome

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Looking after your gut microbiome is key to healthy living. Nutritionist Rob Thorp reveals the 6 foods your gut will thank you for

Do you want improved mood, stronger immunity, fewer digestive complaints and even weight loss?

A healthy gut is the key. In a nutshell, a healthy gut is key for a healthy, optimally functioning body. So, how can we nourish our gut microbiome so that our good bacteria can flourish and thrive?

Here are Rob Thorp’s top 6 foods that allow the bacteria to do their job better and improve overall gut function:

#1 Garlic

Garlic has antibacterial and antifungal properties because it is naturally high in inulin.

Garlic is a type of non-digestible carbohydrate that feeds the good bacteria in your digestive system, keeping the less beneficial bacteria under control. This makes garlic a prebiotic.

to enjoy the maximum goodness from it, it should be eaten raw

Curries, soups and sauces use garlic for flavouring. However, to enjoy the maximum goodness from it, it should be eaten raw.

Try including raw, crushed garlic with creamy avocado and diced red onion to form a guacamole dip, or with diced tomatoes to make the popular Italian starter, bruschetta.

foods for a healthy gut microbiome garlic

#2 Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate is rich in polyphenols. You can find polyphenols in plant foods that have antioxidant properties.

To put it simply, foods with antioxidant properties can fight the negative effects of ‘free radicals’, which can cause stress-related cell damage to the body.

Polyphenols are also considered a prebiotic as they feed the good bacteria in your gut.

Only a small percentage of polyphenols can be absorbed. The rest make their way down to the large intestine or colon where they act as food for the gut microbes.

This supports the beneficial microbes to recalibrate balance, whilst keeping the less helpful ones under control.

look out for the all-important cocoa content to reap the health benefits

But before you start eating chocolate like there is no tomorrow, keep in mind that not all brands are created equal.

The cocoa found in chocolate belongs to a category of polyphenols called flavanols, which are more abundant in dark chocolate than milk chocolate.

So, when making your next chocolate purchase, look out for the all-important cocoa content to reap the health benefits. You be aiming for anything over 75 per cent is what you should be aiming for.

For an added gut boost, try dark chocolate and nut flavoured Body Bars from Vite Naturals. These tasty snack bars contain prebiotics, probiotics, and digestive enzymes to encourage optimal gut health and they can be used instead of traditional supplements.

6 best foods to nurture your gut microbiome DARK CHOCOLATE

#3 Raspberries

Most fruits are a great source of dietary fibre; however, raspberries take the lead with an impressive eight grams per cup, which is a third of our recommended daily intake.

The bacteria in our guts feast on the fibre that comes from our diet. This helps them to flourish and multiply so they can aid digestion and nutrient absorption.

Fibre further supports good digestion by helping to regulate bowel movements, reducing the likelihood of constipation.

Raspberries make a tasty addition to numerous meals and snacks, including yoghurt and shaved dark chocolate, porridge or overnight oats and breakfast smoothies.

foods for a healthy gut microbiome raspberry

#4 Caraway

Caraway seed is a unique spice that has been used for digestive complaints for a long time.

It has an earthy taste that is similar to fennel and coriander. Typically used in breads, pastries, curries stews and warm teas.

Caraway seed is a unique spice that has been used for digestive complaints for a long time

Although the cause for reducing digestive distress is unknown. Caraway seed is thought to have antimicrobial properties. The properties may reduce uncomfortable symptoms in the digestive tract.

This is by helping to relax the cramping muscles in the intestines and preventing fermentation in the stomach.

#5 Fermented foods

Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kombucha, and kefir are a good source of naturally occurring probiotics.

Long before the days of refrigeration, the fermentation process was being used as a way of preserving foods and drinks.

eating fermented foods can also boost the number of beneficial bacteria found in the gut

Not only does fermentation help enhance food preservation but eating fermented foods can also boost the number of beneficial bacteria found in the gut.

They are also easier to digest since the fermentation process breaks down some of the sugars and starches.

A large proportion of the immune system is housed in the gut. That’s why consuming probiotic-rich foods can help support the gut lining as a natural barrier, making the immune system more robust.

foods for a healthy gut microbiome fermented foods

#6 Pineapple

Fibre and water content make up pineapples. This makes them a great fruit for constipation prevention and promoting regularity and a healthy digestive tract.

They are also rich in bromelain. A digestive enzyme that helps the body to break down proteins and reduce the inflammatory immune cells, called cytokines, that damage the digestive tract lining.

Rob ThorpRob Thorp, Nutritionist and Founder of Vite Naturals.

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