More fibre, that’s the message, but shall we get more specific…
Consuming more varied fibre sources, is going to help the diversity of the beneficial bacteria which make up our gut microbiome!
I am excited to share with you a tool that is easy to use and can really help you have better health, and awareness of better health in a week!
What’s the gut microbiome?
So, I have blogged and spoken quite a bit about our gut garden, but just in case you haven’t heard much about the gut microbiome, or need some myths busted (because let’s face it there can be such a thing as information overload) here is a run through.
We are made up of trillions of bacterial and human cells, and if we take red blood cells out of the equation, we are more bacteria than we are human! Bacteria can be great and helpful to us for the most part, but there are also pathogenic bacteria (weeds), and if we encourage the weeds to thrive, our bodies will suffer.
The gut (digestive tract, intestines) is populated by a bacterial community, which is termed the gut microbiome. I call it the gut garden, because if we help a variety of flowers (beneficial bacteria) to grow and thrive, and do not support the weeds we will have overall better health.
Hippocrates suggested “all disease begins in the gut”, so you could say this is not actually new information. But the science of what makes the best gut microbiome community for health is still new and we are just beginning to understand.
Best way I think is to look at the parts of the world where people are thriving in good health and think about what they are doing, also we do know that variety is key.
Be wary of any strong health claims with probiotics. I think they are going to be, and some are extremely helpful in many cases. But we need to have the foundations of health first (remember no magic pills) and throwing even a high strength varied probiotic into a field of weeds is going to do nothing.
In the UK, adults and older adults are doing better than the younger generation with the 5 a day, but it isn’t enough, we are still not meeting the minimum fibre guidelines of reducing risk of disease. Having a few veggies, and generally the same types daily, is common to our British daily habits, but it doesn’t seem to be enough. Don’t worry it is so much easier than you think. Read on…
Why do I need to increase diversity?
Increasing the diversity of flowers in your gut is associated with all of these:
- A healthy microbiome is important in determining if we develop cancer or not
- Reduces risk significantly of acid reflux and heartburn
- Improves mood and can significantly improve depression/symptoms
- Decreases risk of heart disease and diabetes type 2
- Having a healthy diverse microbiome, more likely to be healthy weight
- Reduces risk of common colds and flu as boosts immunity
- Associated with reducing inflammation – reducing inflammatory illness and disease
- May have implications in preventing dementia
- Associated with quicker recovery from exercise or illness
- Supportive for great skin and healthy hair, nails etc.
In short, a healthy diverse microbiome will not only form the overall picture of our future health, but also impact on the way we feel, look and perform.
So, what can you do?
Firstly, plan and shop to include a range of veggies, beans, nuts and seeds into your week.
Secondly, download the free 30 in 7 challenge sheet, and each day note the whole food fibre sources – vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, pulses. You cannot write the same food twice.
Aim for 30 in 7 and you will know you are well on your way to supporting a healthy microbiome. If you are mid-way through the week and you notice that you are repeating sources and are having difficulty completing, try and include a few different sources e.g. buy a tin of chickpeas and add into a salad/curry or stir fry, buy a few different veggies and experiment or make a big pan of soup with a variety of veggies included.
Our taste buds, develop and change, try a new veggie a week, and roast and stir fry adding flavours such as Tamari, lemon juice and sea salt to your greens can make a big difference to the taste.
Enjoy, and let me know how you get on, by posting your sheets and or meals – tag me on Instagram @passion8nutrition or facebook @passion8nutrition
Lots of love and health,