Go with your gut! How many times have you heard that before? Probably quite a few. And while it’s usually pretty good advice when it comes to decision-making, it’s also a pretty fantastic motto to live by when it comes to your health. Because a happy, healthy gut means you’re likely to be pretty healthy overall.
Ensuring that you nourish your gut health is probably the most essential way you can improve and maintain your overall wellness (well that and getting a great night's sleep). Obviously, you need to avoid food that has negative effects on gut health, but it is just as important to sip and munch on gut-supportive foods as much as you can. Are you with us so far? Good.
One of the things we hear over and over again when we encourage people to adopt a healthier lifestyle is that it is prohibitively expensive, but it doesn't have to be this way! And the fact that healthy food doesn’t need to be terribly pricey has never been truer than with gut-supportive foods.
Now before we get started on what you can and should be eating, it probably makes sense to talk a little bit about gut health. The health of your gastrointestinal system goes beyond good digestion, as it affects our physical, mental and emotional health too. There is a very strong gut-brain connection that is important to nurture for overall wellness. In fact, some people even refer to the enteric nervous system – the nerve cells that line your GI tract – as the second brain.
Though it may sound gross, we need beneficial bacteria, known as probiotics, to ensure that we have healthy guts and that we can digest food, fight unwanted pathogens and produce vitamins. While you can take probiotics, it’s best to get them from your food. Fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi (or coconut yogurt!) are great sources that also taste delicious. The more variety of bacteria you have in your gut, the better, so it’s important to stay on top of your probiotic consumption.
And let’s not forget about prebiotics! These non-digestible fibres ferment in your gastrointestinal tract and act as tasty food for the probiotic bacteria to gobble up. And while not all dietary fibres act as prebiotics, they are still very good for you. Wondering where you can get these healthy prebiotics? Onion, garlic, scallion, leeks, chicory and dandelion greens are all good sources. As are bananas, apples, oats and chickpeas. All the more reason to pick up The Sinner, a Middle Eastern Tabbouleh Salad and our PB & Salted Caramel Steel Cut Oats!
But if you want to make your life easier, you can pick up ‘synbiotics,’ which combine probiotics and prebiotics in one neat package. Once you’ve got the ‘biotics down, there are a few other essential things you need to consider for the healthiest gut in town. Healthy fats, low-glycaemic carbs, vegetables and clean protein are all very important. Hydration is also key, as it keeps things moving right along in the GI tract.
So now to the good part, the tasty part! We have a long list of healthy gut essentials to keep stocked in your fridge, freezer and pantry that won’t break the bank.
# Frozen vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli and kale
# Frozen berries for a gut-friendly sweet treat
# Coconut yogurt
# Onions and garlic
# Pickled red onion (you can make this yourself at home!)
# Gluten-free oats
# Canned chickpeas and beans
# Avocado, coconut and olive oil
# Hemp, chia and flaxseeds