Not all bacteria is bad! Your gut is home to trillions of little bacteria and microbes; they are what make up your microbiome, and ultimately, make up YOU!
The gut has so many important roles; including helping us to digest food, absorption of nutrients, supporting a healthy immune system and protecting us from disease, and excreting waste from the body. With so many important roles, its vital we nurture a healthy gut to keep it functioning optimally.
This is something I am SO passionate about, especially having suffered from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) myself for 5+ years.
The MOST important thing we can do to nurture a healthy gut is to eat more plants. These contain Fibre, Probiotics and Prebiotics – all essential for a healthy gut. Before I go into the specific healthy gut foods I keep in my kitchen, lets quickly have a look at what each of these is…
Fibre is the indigestible parts of plant foods, such as vegetables, fruits, grains, beans and legumes. It is a type of carbohydrate that helps keep our gut healthy.
Probiotics are live bacteria (the good kind of bacteria), that when consumed, provide health benefits for us and support a healthy gut. They assist in the diversification of the gut flora and reduction of the growth of bad, harmful bacteria. Probiotics can be consumed through food products or supplements.
And finally, prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrate molecules that feed the good bacteria in our gut.
These are all highly present in my diet daily. When I started focusing more on including a variety of plant foods in my diet (disclaimer: amongst other food and lifestyle changes too!) I noticed a huge reduction in the frequency and severity of my IBS. And it is because these types of foods are all super important for a healthy gut!
Below is the top healthy gut foods I ALWAYS have on hand in my kitchen/pantry/fridge!
- Fresh Veggies. I always have an abundance of fresh veg, including asparagus, beans, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, cucumber, leafy greens, leeks, tomatoes and zucchini. Asparagus and leeks are especially great veggies for our gut health as they contain prebiotics that act as food for the probiotics in our gut. They pass undigested into the large intestine where they are fermented and stimulate the growth of the good bacteria.
- Fresh Fruit. My fruit bowl and fridge is always stocked with apples, bananas, berries, kiwifruits, pears and mango! Fruits with edible skin are particularly rich in fibre and help promote good digestion. So its always a good idea to buy organic and eat the fruit skin where possible!
- Yoghurt. Fermented foods like probiotic yoghurt are a must for keeping in your fridge as they contain live good bacteria that help promote a healthy gut and support our immune system. Add it into a smoothie, use as a topping for oatmeal or mix with some protein powder & top with fruit for a balanced brekkie bowl! I’ve recently discovered Activia’s Oat Probiotic Yoghurt; which is a plant-based yoghurt packed with BILLIONS of probiotics! This is my new fave plant-based yoghurt; amazing taste, texture AND ingredients! I’ve included a breakfast recipe at the end of this post featuring Activia’s Blueberry Acai Oat Yoghurt!
- Tofu or Tempeh. I always have one or both of these plant-based protein options in my fridge; they taste delicious and you can do so much with them! Tempeh is particular is good for gut health as it contains probiotics i.e. the live good bacteria that live in our gut.
- Nuts, seeds and nut butter spreads. Nuts and seeds are a good source of healthy fats, plus they are high in fibre and prebiotics that act as food for your good gut bacteria. I always have cashews, almonds, walnuts, pepitas, sunflower seeds and hemps seeds in my pantry to have as a snack, bake with or add on top of oats and salads.
- 1/2 apple, grated
- 1/2 cup oats
- 1 tbsp coconut
- 1 tbsp sunflower seeds
- 1/2 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tbsp raisins
- 1 tub @activiaaustralia Blueberry-Acai Oat Yoghurt
- 1/2 cup plant milk
- 1/4 cup blueberries, warmed to serve
Combine all ingredients, except blueberries, refrigerate overnight and in the morning stir with warm berries!
Be sure to join me over on Instagram (@balancebyelise) for daily motivation, recipes and fitness tips! xxx