Eating For Better Gut Health

Eating For Better Gut Health

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Your gut is home to over to over 100 trillion bacteria, which is referred to as your “gut flora”.  A healthy “gut flora” is super important for your overall health.

The food you consume can have a positive or negative impact on your gut bacteria.

Variety Is The Spice Of Life

A diet that contains a wide variety of whole foods, like fruits, vegetables and whole grains is a good way to maintain a diverse gut flora.

The nutrients in the food provide the ingredients needed for the bacteria to grow.  When you have a diet rich in whole foods your gut has a variety of nutrients that help different bacteria thrive, creating a varied gut flora.

The modern western diet unfortunately has lost much of it’s diversity with most of it coming from a narrow list of sources.

When compared with cultures that are more rural and are less affected by Western eating they have a more diverse gut flora.

The “F” Word

Many whole foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains naturally contain “Fibre”.

There is a kind of fibre called “prebiotic fibre” that helps the growth and activity of friendly gut bacteria.

Foods that are a good source of prebiotic fibre are:

-Lentils, chickpeas and beans

-Oats

-Bananas

-Asparagus

-Garlic

-Leeks

-Onions

-Nuts

Another “F” Word

Fermented foods like yoghurt, kefir, kimchi and tempeh have good bacteria already in them and can add to the population of gut flora in your body.

Wrapping Up

As mentioned the wider and more varied your diet of mostly whole foods like fruits and vegetables the better your gut health will be.

Adding in some fermented foods will be a good option also.

Lifestyle factors like good quality sleep with a regular bedtime routine combined with physical activity and stress relief will contribute to keeping your gut healthy.




How Can I Make Better Eating Choices?

How Can I Make Better Eating Choices?

It all starts at the supermarket. What you buy here creates your food environment at home.

To eliminate any confusion there are some pretty simple things you can do to make better eating choices.

Make A List And Stick To It

It takes a little time and some effort, but it will help you eat healthier and save money.

-Healthier eating will generally mean you’ll have to cook some of your meals at home. Having a few simple recipes that you can make regularly will help.

-Plan your meals a week ahead of time.

-Make a shopping list of ingredients for your weekly meals and any other basics like fruit that you’ll need for the week.

Buy Fruits and Vegetables In Season

In season items are less expensive and taste much better.

-Your local supermarket will sell in season fruit and vegetables.

-Try a local farmer’s market to get fresh in season produce.

-Canned or frozen foods are another option as they’re packaged or frozen at the peak of ripeness.

Spend Most Of Your Shopping Time In The Outer Aisles Of The Supermarket

The fringes of the supermarket is where you’ll find all the whole, minimally processed foods. All of the healthier food options like fruit, vegetables, meat, seafood, eggs, dairy products and whole grains are found here.

-The closer you get to the centre of the aisles is where you’ll find the more highly processed products that are less healthy.

Keep It Simple

Having a plan and being a little more organised when you shop for food will make your choices much healthier. You can buy delicious food that is in season and fresh and importantly less expensive.

You won’t have the stress of trying to decide what to buy or wondering if you got everything or the right stuff.

You can be a little more adventurous and try some things you might have never eaten.




Why Is Eating Fruit Better Than Juice?

Why Is Eating Fruit Better Than Juice?

To eat or to drink, that is the question.

But Which Is Better?

To answer this you need to look at this topic through the lens of eating better for a healthier lifestyle then it becomes clearer.

If you’ve neglected your diet for years and have eaten badly then juicing is a step in the right direction. By starting to make your health a greater concern you’re doing a good thing.

Drinking juice is a convenient and quick way to get more vitamins and minerals into your diet.

But when you compare drinking juice to actually eating whole fruit, this is where juicing comes up short.

  1. Juicing removes the all important fibre present in fruit. We’ve discovered more recently that fibre feeds important gut bacteria that maintains our immune system.

  2. The juicing process releases the natural sugars present in fruit which is more rapidly digested by the body thus raising your glucose levels. Consistently raised glucose levels increase your Type 2 diabetes risk.

  3. What you end up with is a sugary drink that has some vitamins and nutrients but is a significant calorie hit and won’t leave you feeling full.

What Does Science Think?

While there hasn’t been a lot research into eating fruit versus drinking it, one study surveyed 190,000 Britons over 24 years and found that eating fruit lowered the risk of Type 2 diabetes while drinking fruit in the form of juice increased the risk.

Eat The Fruit, Skip The Juice

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Fruit juice is heavily marketed as a healthy option and while it contains some vitamins and minerals it is a big sugar hit.

If you like the taste of juice then small amounts are ok but don’t overlook the fact that it can be equivalent to drinking soft drink/soda from a calorie perspective.

Just remember all the good stuff you get with whole fruit, the vitamins and minerals and the fibre (which is almost non existent in fruit juice) fills you up and keeps your stomach in good health.

How Can I Start Eating Better?

A simple question that can leave you scratching your head because you don’t know where to go next.

The amount of information available can make it seem overwhelming but it doesn’t need to be.

I’m going to help you find your starting point so you can get moving without all the confusion or the need to overhaul your life.

Start Here

To begin with you’re going to look at what’s missing from your current diet.

As much as you’d like to ignore the fact, there will be nutritional deficiencies.

The solution is not to take extreme measures, like going on a diet or ditching carbs.

A simpler approach is to assess what you’re lacking.

What’s Missing?

The most common nutritional deficiencies are:

  1. Water (low level dehydration)

  2. Vitamins and minerals

  3. Protein

  4. Healthy Fats

We’re not talking a complete dietary overhaul but a focus on simple strategies that balance out your diet so that you get:

-A little more protein

-Sufficient vitamins and minerals

-The right amount of healthy fats

-More water

Embrace The Process

This is a step by step process to build your optimal eating habits.

Your starting point will be the area that is the most challenging for you right now.  Take a look at the list above and highlight what you feel is your biggest roadblock.

Adding a little more protein could be as simple as adding some yoghurt as a snack, or an egg to breakfast.

Having an extra vegetable with dinner is an easy way to get some more vitamins and minerals.

Healthy fats are found in foods like avocado, olive oil and nuts. A small handful of nuts or a spoonful of avocado can be just the boost you need.

This is not about being slow it's about being systematic and addressing the things that are holding you back right now.

The awesome thing is, once they're eliminated you're progress accelerates quickly.