You may have already heard by now that for every human cell in our body we have 10 times the number of bacterial cells. So, we’re more bacteria that we are human!
What’s important not only for our gut health but for our overall health is that we have a healthy diverse balance of gut bacteria to prevent what is called dysbiosis. When that balance is not there, we can have its many symptoms. These dysbiosis symptoms include abdominal bloating or cramping, wind, food sensitivities, nausea, heartburn/reflux, and bloating to name but a few. Other non gastro symptoms can also be present such as brain fog, fatigue, mood imbalance, joint aches or muscle pain.
Fibre helps us thrive
For our beneficial bacteria to thrive and to help prevent dysbiosis we need to eat fibre. Fibre has many functions. It super charges our gut health and you might ask why. It’s because fibre is fuel for your bacteria, and they break it down to form short chain fatty acids (SCFA’s). These SCFA’s have a huge amount of gut health benefits. They are a vital nutrient for intestinal health.
And here is why…..
- SCFA’s are a dominant source of energy (about 20% of our daily energy comes from SCFA’s)
- They support a healthy gut microbiota.
- They help to repair intestinal permeability (leaky gut). Inflammation caused by leaky gut affects the function of the intestinal lining, including nerves and muscles. This leads to diarrhoea or constipation, bloating and stomach pain.
- SCFA’s promote intestinal motility helping you to have at least one daily bowel movement. Daily bowel movements help to prevent an overgrowth of bacteria in our small intestines and help to remove excess toxins and hormones. Poo is not the most exciting topic to be talking about in my consultations, but it really does shed a lot of light on one’s overall health.
- 70 to 80% of your immune system is in your gastrointestinal tract. SCFA’s support your immune cells to become more tolerant to your food, helping to prevent food allergy and sensitivity.
- They also help to make your immune cells more tolerant to gut bacteria and help to suppress an overactive immune system.
How to include more fibre in your diet
Research shows that we should aim for 30 different plant-based foods a week which are full of fibre. These include wholegrains, nuts, seeds, spices, vegetables, fruits, herbs. Diversity is key! Have lots of different coloured vegetables for a range of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals.
Here are a few tips to help you
- Switch from refined white rice, pasta bread to wholegrain versions.
- Aim to have half a plate of vegetables with your lunch and evening meal
- Add frozen vegetables to the water when cooking pasta or rice.
- Smoothies are also a great way to increase your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables. Use a juicer like the “Nutri Bullet” that keeps the fibre and work towards including lots of green vegetables over time. Try to have more vegetables than fruit – 80% veg, 20% low-glycaemic fruit (e.g. berries, kiwis, apples, pears, oranges)
- Add berries to your overnight oats
- Make a big pot of homemade soup (with 5-6 different vegetables) once a week, then freeze it and use it during the week.
- Stocking your freezer with a large variety of chopped veggies and low-glycemic fruit (see above) so that rotating through them each day, and even more than once a day, is easy.
- Mixed seeds such as pumpkin, sesame, sunflower and flax to add to porridge oats, breads and sprinkled onto salads. Keep in glass jar and pop into the fridge
- Try one new fruit or vegetable (that you’ve never tried or rarely eat) a week
- Blend fresh herbs such as basil and parsley with olive oil, pumpkin seeds and garlic for a simple pesto to add to pasta dishes and topping soups and toasties.
If you would like further support with your gut heath or overall health, then check out my personalise one-to-one 90 Day Gut Restore Programme or register your interest in my next group “Love Your Gut” health course that starts on Thursday 20th October 2022. Alternatively book in for a free discovery call to check out how I can support you.