What are the five best foods for gut health and how can I include them into my diet?
What are the five best foods for gut health and how can I include them into my diet? It’s a question I am often asked. Here are my recommendations:
Meat stock: Including meat stock into your diet is a great way to keep your gut in great shape. It is one of the best-known foods for healing your gut, a process necessary for most people who have digestion problems, and for those who eat a typical Westernised diet.
Meat stocks support your gut health by providing essential nutrients to repair the gut lining. They’re also important for building up bacteroides, an important species of health-promoting gut bacteria. Bacteroides help your gut process carbohydrates, initiating the breakdown of fibre from fruits and vegetables.
It is really easy to incorporate meat stocks into your diet, as meat stock is simply any type of meat with the bone included, slow-cooked for a few hours in a fair bit of water. Think slow cooker meals. You then have the deliciously soft meat to eat, and the yummy stock to drink.
Ginger: A great food for gut health as it helps your gut move food through the intestine so it does not sit and ferment, bloat and cause pain. Ginger stimulates the migrating motor complex, which is when your gut starts to move the food through your digestive system.
Ginger tea is a great way to get more ginger into your diet. Cut a few slices of fresh ginger, pour boiling water over the top and you have the perfect ginger tea. A cup after each meal is ideal. You can also add ginger to the cooking process as ginger really adds to the flavour of many foods.
Flaxseed meal: Definitely one of the five best foods for gut health, flaxseeds contain lignans that your gut metabolises to enterolactones. Taking antibiotics lowers the levels of enterolactones you need, which leads to poor immunity and poor gut health.
Flaxseed meal is easy to get into your diet. Add it to your breakfast smoothie, or sprinkle on the top of your porridge.
Olive oil: Brilliant food for gut health, because it increases enzyme activity in the gut. That, in turn, ensures your food can be digested properly. Olive oil can prevent gut dysbiosis (microbial imbalance) and decrease gut permeability.
Olive oil is easy to add to your diet – make your salad dressings with a good quality olive oil. You can also drizzle it on cooked vegetables.
Turmeric: Fantastic for your gut health because it can help to prevent reflux. It’s the perfect natural anti-inflammatory for your gut. Turmeric improves intestinal barrier function as well as increasing enzyme activity, helping to digest your foods.
Getting turmeric into your diet is relatively easy. I recommend using it as you would garlic and ginger when cooking. You can use fresh or powdered (ground) turmeric. It’s one of the main ingredients in a curry. Also think ‘golden lattes’ – made with turmeric and coconut milk. They are this year’s ‘new’ latte.