Go with your gut

Heal your gut by chow­ing down on some se­ri­ously good food

Women's Fitness (UK) - - Contents -

Heal your gut by chow­ing down on some se­ri­ously good food

When it comes to buzz­words, no two are hot­ter than ‘gut health’ these days. More and more of us health-con­scious lot are be­com­ing aware of just how im­por­tant hav­ing a healthy gut is when it comes to all-round well­ness – en­ergy lev­els, main­tain­ing a healthy weight and men­tal health.

Naomi Devlin’s new book, Food for a happy gut aims to get our guts happy and healthy with de­li­cious recipes made up of lo­cal pro­duce, pre and pro­bi­otics and a va­ri­ety of healthy in­gre­di­ents like plant food, raw cheese and fer­mented foods. The home-cooked dishes will heal sen­si­tive guts, en­cour­age op­ti­mum di­ges­tion and leave you feel­ing sat­is­fied. And ac­cord­ing to Naomi, we now need this more than ever. ‘Busy, seden­tary mod­ern life and over-re­fined foods are wreak­ing havoc with our health, weight and di­ges­tion and peo­ple are start­ing to look for more holis­tic an­swers to the prob­lems they face,’ she re­veals. ‘Sci­en­tists are dis­cov­er­ing more and more about the im­por­tant role of the gut mi­cro­biome in sup­port­ing our im­mune sys­tem, gene ex­pres­sion and what it pro­vides in terms of ben­e­fi­cial nu­tri­ents and detox­i­fi­ca­tion.’ It only seems right, then, that we start look­ing to food to nour­ish our­selves from the in­side out.

Naomi reck­ons that eat­ing well doesn’t have to equal bor­ing, bland or un­sat­is­fy­ing food – and this is ev­i­dent in all these mouth­wa­ter­ing and sur­pris­ingly easy-to-pre­pare dishes. It’s all about tak­ing ad­van­tage of the good foods you do like, as op­posed to fo­cus­ing on what you shouldn’t have. ‘If you keep things like toasted seeds, pesto, crème fraiche, parme­san, chilli flakes, herbs and spices in your larder, veg­eta­bles can be­come the stars of meals, rather than some­thing that sits on the side of the plate,’ she adds.

Food for a happy gut will also help to broaden your eat­ing hori­zons by in­cor­po­rat­ing fer­mented foods, pre­bi­otics and pro­bi­otics more reg­u­larly into your diet. If this sounds like a chore to you, then you prob­a­bly don’t know just how much it’ll pay off. ‘Fer­mented foods have been pre­served by en­cour­ag­ing the lac­tic acid-pro­duc­ing bac­te­ria to thrive and min­imise the ac­tiv­ity of harm­ful bac­te­ria,’ Naomi ex­plains. ‘Lac­tic acid-pro­duc­ing bac­te­ria are the same ones that you find in yo­ghurt or salami and they also live hap­pily in our guts, pro­vid­ing us with ben­e­fi­cial nu­tri­ents. When you eat fer­mented foods, it is be­lieved that some of the ben­e­fi­cial bac­te­ria make it all the way to the large in­tes­tine where they set up home and help keep you healthy, while the ones that don’t sur­vive may help the im­mune sys­tem to be less hy­per­ac­tive.’

As for pre­bi­otics like whole­grains, pulses, nuts and seeds, these are foods that our res­i­dent gut mi­crobes like to eat, ex­plains Naomi, and pro­bi­otics like milk ke­fir, kom­bucha and miso are the help­ful mi­crobes that live in our guts. Just be­ing more mind­ful to add these good-for-you in­gre­di­ents into our home-cooked meals could make a world of dif­fer­ence to our di­ges­tive tract, gut mi­cro­biome and over­all health. Well worth it we say.

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