Do you know what it means to have a healthy gut? What you eat or don’t eat, plays a huge role in your overall health. We all need a healthy dose of a combination of the “biotics”: prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics. Recipes that are high in fiber and contain these gut-friendly nutrients can help to create a healthy microbiome!
When your microbiome is unbalanced it can cause all kinds of problems from a weakened immune system, to poor digestion, weight gain, lack of sleep, and even depression or anxiety. This is exactly why a healthy gut should be a high priority!
A collection of trillions of bacteria make up our microbiome. Scientists have recently classified two major types of bacterial families: Bacteroidetes (good bacteria) and Firmicutes (bad bacteria). In several studies, scientists are now able to illustrate a link between higher levels of firmicutes and lower levels of Bacteroidetes with weight gain and some chronic diseases (obesity and Type 2 diabetes to name a few). In these individuals, Firmicutes are extracting more calories from food, causing more cravings for sugar, and increasing inflammation. It’s fascinating to consider!
As a nutritionist, almost every client I see comes to me with a problem that stems from an unhealthy gut microbiome. There are several strategies to improve the balance of good/bad bacteria. It begins with a fiber-rich diet, something that is severely lacking in the Standard American Diet. We can also eat plenty of pre-biotic foods, probiotic foods, or take a probiotic and postbiotic supplement.
What is the difference between Prebiotics, Probiotics, and Postbiotics?
Prebiotics are the nutrients and food that feed the good gut bacteria. In order to keep a balance of more healthy gut bugs, we need plenty of prebiotics! These are found in high fiber foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Probiotics are the actual gut microbes. We can find these in some food sources (fermented foods), or by taking a supplement.
Postbiotics are the actual waste products produced by gut bacteria. In other words, when our good gut bacteria feasts on prebiotics, postbiotics are produced. Think of this like a fertilizer! Recent scientific research has now uncovered that most of the positive effects we used to attribute to probiotics are actually due to postbiotics. I actually take a postbiotic supplement daily! My favorite is the GBX Fit purple pill from Amare.
Which foods will help to improve my gut health?
- High Fiber Foods: increasing fiber in the diet is an absolute must. Here are a few of my personal favorite sources: chia seeds, nuts, legumes, cruciferous veggies (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts), berries (raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries), and winter squash (butternut squash and acorn squash).
- Prebiotic foods: besides the high fiber foods mentioned above, other pro-biotic rich foods include asparagus, garlic, onion, Jerusalem artichokes, chicory, oats, leeks, bananas (that are less ripe and more green), Dandelion greens, and spinach.
- Probiotic foods: Most probiotic foods are fermented foods that contain living organisms. These include kefir, kimchi, tempeh, miso, kombucha, yogurt, sauerkraut, and sourdough bread.
- Anti-inflammatory foods: these foods play a natural role in reducing inflammation and providing anti-inflammatory pathways promoting the health of our gut! These foods include salmon, flax seeds, chia seeds, berries, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, ginger root, spices like turmeric, and walnuts.
Introduce some of these recipes into your routine and diet for a healthier gut microbiome.
Which one are you most looking forward to enjoying?
10+ Gut Friendly recipes: Chia Pudding
Simple and nutritions chia pudding is a gut-friendly recipe that you can make ahead and enjoy throughout the week!
- 2 cups unsweetened dairy-free milk
- 1/2 cup chia seeds
- 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1 tbsp cacao powder
- 3 tbsp almond butter
- 1 ripe banana (mashed)
- 1 tbsp nuts (for garnish)
Begin by stirring together chia seeds with the milk, and add the maple syrup and cacao power. Stir until well combined.
Add in the mashed banana, and stir in the almond butter.
Let sit for at least 1 hour in the fridge, or until the chia seeds have expanded and the mixture has thickened. Top with nuts to enjoy!