Could the key to a healthy gut, be the diversity of plants in your diet?
The more fibre and plant diversity, the healthier your microbiome and ultimately a healthier you.
Consuming more wholegrain foods.
This means consume the whole grain (including the outer layers, bran and germ). Choose wholegrain oats as opposed to the quick oats.
Consume a variety of fruits and vegetables, as close to Nature as possible.
Some fibre rich foods to include:
Wholegrain oats: these are high in a prebiotic fibre called beta glucan, which can help lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels. They also contain phenolic acid that has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Wheat bran has been shown to boost healthy gut microbes like Bifidobacteria and reduce digestive symptoms such as flatulence and abdominal pain. You need the whole bran and not the refined grains to get its benefit.
Barley also has the prebiotic fibre, beta glucan that promote the growth of healthy microbes, helps lower total and LDL cholesterol plus regulates blood sugar. It is also high in selenium which is important for thyroid health and beneficial for preventing thyroid autoimmune diseases.
Legumes: yes legumes are among the healthiest foods and budget friendly. They are a prebiotic fibre and resistant starch, which is so beneficial for a healthy microbiome.
White potatoes (what!!!!) yes, they are a great source of resistant starch. Obviously not the potato chip and French fries. Tip: if you let your potatoes cool, the cooling process creates more resistant starch. (Resistant starch is a starch that resists digestion and has many health benefits)
Flaxseeds are high in soluble prebiotic fibre from mucilage gums that can regulate bowel movements and improve your gut microbiome.
Phytochemicals are compounds that are exclusively found in plant foods. It is the phytochemicals that gives vegetables and fruit their colour. That’s why you hear people saying, ‘Eat a rainbow’.
Each different plant and colour has its own unique nutritional benefits.
Tomatoes (red) contains the phytochemical Lycopene and its benefits include increasing antioxidants and protecting against prostate cancer.
Sweat potatoes (orange) contains the phytochemical beta-carotene that supports healthy skin, immune system and eyes.
Spinach (green) contains the phytochemicals chlorophyll and lutein, that helps protect against cancer and protects eye health.
Purple grapes contain Resveratrol which is beneficial for reducing cholesterol and helping protect against cancer.
So whether you are vegan, vegetarian or omnivore, it’s the diversity of plants that creates a healthy gut.
Try consuming thirty different plants (vegetables, salads, herbs and fruits) in a given week for 4 weeks to help boost your microbiome and improve gut health.
For any further information on gut health, please get in touch.
Naturopathic consults are available in clinic at Casuarina, in between Kingscliff and Cabarita Beach or Online via zoom.
Bulsiewixz.W (MD, MSCI) (2020). 'Fibre Fueled.' Penguin Random House. New York.