Think bacteria are bad? Think again!
The most recent scientific research shows that the bacteria in our gut can play a huge role not only in our digestive health, but also in our immune function and mental wellbeing.
Kate Percy's is all about what I call #enerjoy - great taste, good energy, vitality and happiness. I've always said that eating the right types of food can improve your mood, and now I'm pleased to say we have the science to prove it!
Your gut is actually an amazing and complex environment, containing trillions of bacteria, yeast and viruses, commonly called the ‘gut flora’ or the ‘microbiome’. Some of these bacteria are good, and some bad, and in fact we need a healthy balance of the two.
This is where pro- and prebiotics come in. But what are they?
Probiotics are found in fermented foods such as yoghurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut and pickles.
Prebiotics are found in foods such as leeks, onions, flax and chia seeds, radishes, carrots, garlic and cabbage. They feed the good bacteria.
I recently attended a brilliant webinar recently on gut health, run by registered dietitian and nutritionist, Sue Baic MSc RD (Sue is amazing, I've known her for many years now and it is Sue who analyses and endorses the recipes in my books).
Try these top tips to good gut health:
1. Eat MORE FIBRE - fibre not only keeps you regular, it's super gut-friendly as it speeds up the movement of the gut and feeds gut microbiota. Good sources of fibre are wholegrains, fruit & veg, pulses & beans, nuts & seeds.
- make vegetables the focal point of your meals rather than meat.
- snack on fruit, nuts and pulses (eg hummus and carrot sticks!)
- healthy snacks which contain dried fruit and nuts such as Kate Percy's Go Bites are great for the gut as they're really high in fibre and also count as 1 of your 5 a day.
- sprinkle flaxseed on your cereal or add to smoothies - flaxseed is an amazing superfood and fantastic news for your gut health!
- roasted chickpeas! Drain a tin of chickpeas, arrange them on a baking tray, toss with a little oil, salt, pepper and your favourite spices and roast in the oven for 30 minutes. Delicious!
- swap the white bread, rolls, muffins, croissants etc - all made with refined white flour - for wholegrain bread, banana muffins made with wholemeal flour etc (as a fan of 'everything in moderation' please continue to enjoy your croissant or muffin on a Sunday morning with a coffee, just don't eat them every day!)
- give processed foods, especially junk food takeaways, a wide birth.
2. DRINK plenty of fluids - water is the best, or you could try a fermented drink such as kombucha - it's an acquired taste but there are some good brands out there...
3. Include some PROBIOTICS in your everyday diet. Here are some of my favourites:
- Natural live yoghurt is a good place to start, or you could try kefir.
- Then there's fermented cabbage - sauerkraut (my favourite) or kimchi - both are great in a sandwich!
- Miso soup is an excellent way to get your probiotics.
- Even aged cheese like a good mature cheddar works as a probiotic.
- Green olives - the natural salt-water fermentation process of brined olives means that they’re rich in gut-friendly bacteria.
Don't forget to combine your amazingly good eating habits with exercise. And it doesn't have to be an ultra-marathon! Just regular, moderate exercise helps towards a healthy gut microbiome :)