Did you know that in as little as twenty-four hours, the food you eat can be changing your resident gut microbiota?
Most of you will now know that diversity is one key parameter of a healthy gut microbiome. Simply having a large variety of different bacterial species is beneficial to overall health.
Studies done by Professor Rob Knight show that there is a major link between the number of different types of plant food you eat and the diversity of your gut bacteria or microbiome.
Another key parameter of a healthy microbiome is whether it is functioning well.
One main function of our gut microbiota is to metabolise fibre down to short-chain fatty acids (SCFA’s) such as butyrate, acetate and propionate. Butyrate plays a critical role in promoting host health and adequate butyrate production is considered a hallmark of a healthy microbiota.
Not only do these SCFA’s play vital roles within the gut they contribute to overall health in unique ways such as:
• providing energy for host cells
• exerting anti-inflammatory affects
• influence satiety and the metabolism of simple sugars
• improve gut transit
• maintain microbial balance and colonic pH
So what do the Good Bugs like to Eat?
In order to grow beneficial and diverse bacteria that produce ample SCFA’s, the right types of foods need to be consumed. These foods are often called ‘prebiotics’.
Prebiotics have long been recognised as a valuable source of non-digestible compounds that can help encourage the growth of specific beneficial microorganisms in the gut.
The following is a list of microbiome-enhancing foods.
The Good Stuff
The fibre from vegetables, fruit, whole grains and flaxseeds (linseeds) are essential to maintaining microbial diversity.
Consuming low fibre diets, especially low in fruit and vegetables actually starves bowel microbes. Numerous studies show that diets high in sugar and/or animal fats and low in fibre may lead to the extinction of health-promoting gut microbes.
Fructoligosaccharides (FOS) and Inulin
Inulin and FOS’s promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria and support the production of short-chain fatty acids which are essential for bowel health. Inulin has also been shown to inhibit growth of pathogenic or bad bacteria.
Inulin and FOS’s are found in onion, leek, asparagus, bananas, barely, wheat, honey, tomato, rye, Jerusalem artichoke, chicory root, and dandelion greens
Resistant starch has been shown to increase our core strains of microbiota. These are the core butyrate-producing bacteria which play a very important metabolic role in our health a provides a measure of healthy microbiome function
Resistant starch is found in potato (which has been cooked and cooled), bananas (esp. green bananas), cashew nuts, uncooked rolled oats, white beans and cooked lentils
Polyphenols and other Prebiotic foods
Polyphenols found in blueberries, strawberries, peach, plum, tea, cocoa, chocolate, resveratrol
Other prebiotic foods such as kiwi fruit, beetroot, fennel, green peas, snow peas, sweet corn, savoy cabbage, chickpeas, red kidney beans, cashews, pistachios nuts, peaches, watermelon, grapefruit, pomegranate, dried fruit (eg. Dates, figs), fermented foods (eg. Sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, kombucha)
To protect and enhance the diversity and functionality or our microbiota, it is recommended that the typical Western (high sugar, high saturated fat, low fibre) diet be avoided and instead we nourish our microbes with fibre, polyphenols, and prebiotic foods.
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If you think your gut health is compromised and you have symptoms of bloating, dyspepsia, flatulence, constipation or diarrhoea, foods sensitivities, allergies and are prone to constant viruses your gut health may need some help. Mammoth Health has a team of qualified Naturopaths, Nutritionists and Natural Health practitioners who look at gut health and are available for consultation at our In-store Clinics. Consultations are available daily. Book your Consultation Now
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The information provided in this article is for information purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. We recommend you consult with a GP or other healthcare professional before taking any action based on this article. While the author uses best endeavours to provide accurate and true content, the author makes no guarantees or promises regarding the accuracy, reliability or completeness of the information presented. If you rely on any information provided in this article, you do so at your own risk.