Eli Brecher, a registered nutritionist talks us through how your gut health can be supported by nutrition.
How can I support my gut health through nutrition?
Nutrition and the gut are intrinsically linked, because everything we eat has to transit through our gut. To nourish our gut health, we can choose a diverse range of foods that contain fibre, probiotics, prebiotics and other gut–healthy nutrients.
Why is gut health so important?
Having a healthy gut is essential for overall health, beyond the digestive system. With over 90 per cent of our serotonin (“happy hormone”) being produced in the gut, it is known as the “second brain”. The gut is very closely linked with our immune health, with up to 80 per cent of the immune system being located in the gut. A healthy gut produces certain nutrients, promotes nutrient absorption, supports energy levels and eliminates metabolic waste and toxins from the body.
How does nutrition impact the gut?
Our diet has the potential to affect our gut microbiome (the trillions of bacteria, fungi and viruses that live inside us), either positively or negatively depending on our food choice. The gut microbiome plays a key role in many processes in the body, from controlling appetite signals and aiding weight management to clearing excess hormones from the body.
Diversity is key
Studies show that the more diverse our microbiome, the healthier it is. This means that we want a vast array of different organisms living inside us. One way we can encourage this microbial diversity is by consuming a varied and colourful diet, and avoiding eating the same thing every day, even if it’s healthy. For example, if you usually have broccoli and carrots alongside your dinner, swap these for beetroot, wild mushrooms and cauliflower (or any vegetables you don’t usually eat).
Fill up on fibre
Eating a diet rich in fibre is one of the best ways to support our gut (it also helps to lower cholesterol and to prevent bowel cancer). We should be aiming for 30 grams of fibre a day, but the average intake in the UK is only 17 grams. Fibre-rich foods include vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes, pulses, nuts and seeds such as chia seeds. Remember that the more diversity the better, so experiment with ingredients like lentils, butterbeans, chickpeas, buckwheat and quinoa. For an easy way to boost your fibre intake, try adding a spoonful of Chia Bia Gut Health to your breakfast, which contains 7.5 grams of fibre per 30 gram serving.
The power of probiotics
Probiotics are friendly bacteria that can keep the bad strains of bacteria under control and restore the balance of the bacterial community. Try to incorporate fermented food into your diet such as sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi, miso, kefir, tempeh and live yoghurt. These contain probiotics, which are the friendly bacteria that are great for gut health. You can also get these live cultures from Chia Bia Gut Health, which contains Bacillus coagulans (GanedenBC30), a beneficial bacteria that may support your digestive health, and in turn may support your immune system, which is predominantly located in the gut.
What are the importance of prebiotics?
While probiotic are the good bacteria, you can think of prebiotics as the powerhouse that makes them grow, multiply and thrive. It is important to include prebiotic fibres as a prominent feature of the diet, as these act as the fuel for probiotic bacteria to feed off. Prebiotic fibre can be found in onions, leeks, garlic, asparagus, bananas that are slightly under-ripe, Jerusalem artichokes and oats. Another source of prebiotic fibre is chicory root, which is found in Chia Bia Gut Health.
Support digestive enzymes with calcium
Calcium is a mineral that can be particularly helpful to include in our diet when it comes to gut health. Our bodies use digestive enzymes to break down food and aid digestion, and these digestive enzymes require adequate calcium in order to function optimally. Good sources of calcium include dairy products, edamame, calcium-set tofu, tinned fish with bones such as salmon and sardines, almonds and leafy greens such as spinach, bok choy and kale. Chia Bia Gut Health is rich in calcium so it can help support the normal function of digestive enzymes.
Include omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids can enhance the diversity of healthy gut bacteria, which is beneficial for overall health. One of the richest plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids is chia seeds. They contain a type of omega-3 called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which contributes to normal blood cholesterol levels. Chia Bia Gut Health also supports the growth of muscle mass through protein and may help reduce feelings of fatigue through the iron content.
How to include Chia Bia Gut Health in the diet
To support your gut health, add 30 grams of Chia Bia Gut Health into your daily diet. You can stir it into breakfast bowls, from yoghurt to porridge, blend it into smoothies or sprinkle it over cereal. You could even get creative and use it as an ingredient when baking.
The way we eat has a direct impact on the way we feel and function, specifically when it comes to our gut health. Improving your diet with a focus on gut-friendly nutrients, including fibre, probiotics, prebiotics, calcium and omega-3, can transform your overall physical and mental health. The benefits can range from better digestion and increased energy, to clearer skin, improved sleep and reduced anxiety levels.
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Eli Brecher is a London-based AfN Registered Associate Nutritionist (ANutr) with a 1st Class Honours Degree in Nutrition and a recipe developer on Instagram @EliBrecherNutrition. Having lived with Crohn’s all her life, Eli understands that having a healthy gut is fundamental to our overall wellbeing. With a clinic on Harley Street and online, Eli’s mission is to help people transform their gut health, optimise their nutrition and elevate their quality of life.
Eli’s undeniable passion for the wellness and nutrition industry has seen her firmly cement herself as one of the industry’s leading recipe developers, working with high profile brands on the supermarket shelves, delivering corporate nutrition talks and designing the menus at London’s top boutique fitness studios.
Recipe Ideas For Gut Health
Take a look at our recipe for a smoothie bowl using our Chia Bia Gut Health