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Superfood top-ups to support gut health

amy-talbot

Written byAmy Talbot

superfood

Gut health: it’s not the most glamorous of topics. But it’s key in almost every way that our body works. 

At best, an unhappy gut can leave you feeling sluggish and blocked up. At worst, it may increase your risk of chronic illnesses. 

Taking care of the bacteria inside you is crucial - they’re all part of your body. 

Luckily, there are some pretty tasty foods that top up your healthy microlife and support your gut.

What does poor gut health look like?

Your toilet habits are pretty indicative of your overall gut health.

However, everyone has a different gut, so there’s not exactly a “normal”. Some people need to poo 2 or 3 times a day, whereas others go 2 or 3 times a week.

Frequent:

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Bloating or discomfort
  • Heartburn

are all signs your gut health could improve. 

 

Other signs, like

  • Fatigue
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Unintentional weight loss or gain
  • Migraines
  • Thyroid issues

can also be related to gut issues. But this isn’t always the case, so it’s best to consult your GP if you’re experiencing these long-term.  

 

 

Start the day right

Breakfast can get repetitive… 

Sprinkling a seed blend onto your morning meal is a great way to shake things up (quite literally). Cereals, smoothies, and yoghurts are all a perfect base. 

Get familiar with fibre

Your parents were right! Fibre keeps your digestive system moving and can help us feel fuller for longer.

In short, getting your fibre is essential for a happy gut. You can find it in:

  • Certain cereals like porridge, wheat biscuits, and Shredded Wheat
  • Wholemeal bread
  • Wholegrain pasta and rice
  • Potatoes with their skins on, like jacket or new potatoes
  • Beans, lentils, and chickpeas
  • Fruit and vegetables

Our recommended daily allowance (RDA) of fibre is 30g per day, but most adults in the UK only eat about 20g. 

So, how can you boost your intake? Your diet should always be your main source of nutrients, but supplements can provide a helping hand. 

Inulin is a plant-based prebiotic that’s naturally high in soluble fibre. 

It increases your body’s ability to absorb calcium - so it’s a superstar from your bowels to your bones. 

You can find inulin in foods like chicory, garlic, and some whole grains. However, even high-inulin foods may not be enough to fulfil your daily fibre requirement alone. Unless you fancy over 100g of garlic per day…

This is where inulin powder can come in. Mixing it into your food or drinks is an easy way to:

  • Boost your fibre intake
  • Support your bowel health
  • Help control your blood sugar

You can still indulge!

A chocolate that contributes to your gut health? You’d be mad to say no. Eating cocoa can increase lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, both of which help to get rid of unhealthy bacteria.1

But, of course, not all chocolate is good for your gut! Some are best in moderation…

A ferm(ented) favourite

Purposely eating bacteria might be a bit weird to think about. But there are millions of healthy kinds that can improve our gut health.

Fermentation is a way of preserving food that dates back roughly 8000 years.2

Fermented foods can increase the diversity of our microbiome (the community of microorganisms living in our body).

The more diverse your gut microbiome, the more functions it can perform and the better it can thrive overall. 

So, maybe it’s time to introduce some new cultures into your diet.

Kombucha is rising in popularity with its distinctive tang. Not only does it benefit your microbiome, but it’s a naturally carbonated alternative to other fruity, fizzy drinks. 

Umami lovers will be glad to hear that kimchi and miso are also great gut health foods.

Get your protein in with tempeh, an Indonesian food made from fermented soybeans. It’s an excellent meat replacement and contains all your essential amino acids, too. 

With a few of these in your diet, you’re well on the way to supporting your gut health. 

Not all fermented foods contain live bacteria, so check for “live” on their labels. 

The final say

Feeling lighter yet? Up to 40% of us will struggle with our gut at some point in our lives, but incorporating some friendly superfoods into our diets could help keep this at bay.3

To summarise:

  • Fibre-rich foods
  • Fermented foods with live bacteria
  • Omega-3 fatty acids

could help to support your gut health.

Sources

  1. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-10382-2 
  2. https://foodandnutrition.org/winter-2012/history-health-benefits-fermented-food/  
  3. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/the-brain-gut-connection 
 

Disclaimer

The advice in this article is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP or healthcare professional before trying any supplements, treatments or remedies. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.

 
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