Get gutsy with Carla | Why food has the most profound impact on gut health

The Beauty Chef - Get gutsy with Carla: Why food has the most profound impact on gut health

I love the analogy that our gut is like a garden – for a garden to be beautiful and its shoots strong and lustrous, the soil needs the right bacterial and nutrient balance. And our gut is the same. We need to tend to it gently, nurturing it and nourishing it with nutrient-dense wholefoods.

When healthy, it is full of a diverse range of bacteria and when our gut is in balance or eubiosis, we thrive. When there is an imbalance or dysbiosis, however, we can experience a myriad of diverse symptoms – from headaches and bloating, to allergies, skin issues, autoimmune conditions and gut issues.

While there are countless factors that can impact and compromise our gut health, without a doubt, food has the most profound impact. Put simply, what we choose to eat can either help to heal our gut or harm it – so if you’re looking to improve your gut health, it’s essential you turn to your plate first and foremost.

FOODS TO AVOID

Certain foods can disrupt the microbiome, irritate the gut lining and therefore contribute to leaky gut and trigger an immune response and inflammation in the body.  So if you’re looking to heal your gut, it’s important to avoid refined sugars, additives and preservatives, refined flours and processed foods, alcohol, charred or burnt food as well as gluten and dairy – which are both common gut disruptors.

Gluten, in particular, can be particularly irritating to the gut lining, aggravating the immune system. Studies show that gliadin, a protein found in wheat, can actually increase the likelihood of leaky gut – whether you’re gluten-sensitive, coeliac or not. And for some, both soy and dairy can manifest in similar symptoms as gluten sensitivity.

FOODS TO ENJOY

For a balanced, healthy gut, it’s important to promote microbial diversity – by enjoying a varied diet of wholefoods, and an array of nutrients. Remember, different microbes feed on different nutrients so diversity is key!

  • Fermented foods: Rich in probiotic bacteria, fermented foods are a great way to feed the gut with beneficial microbes. Sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, miso and tempeh are all delicious examples of fermented foods – as are The Beauty Chef products, of course! Fermented foods also aid digestion, help to combat inflammation and restore immune function.
  • Fibre: When it comes to promoting microbial diversity fibre, above all else, has the most profound impact. Found in fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, fibre helps to feed the beneficial microbes in the gut. Soluble fibre, for example, passes through the small intestine and begins to break down in the large intestine – fermenting with the help of the beneficial bacteria that live there. The by-product of this fermentation is the production of short-chain fatty acids (such as butyrate), anti-inflammatory compounds which are essential for our gut, immune, brain and metabolic health. Inulin (found in artichokes) and pectin (found in apples and pears) are good examples of fibre that help to encourage the production of SCFA’s.
  • Polyphenols: Found in brightly coloured fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds – including carrots, capsicum, sweet potato, spinach, rosemary, onions, berries, pomegranate and garlic – these antioxidant compounds help to protect and improve gut barrier function.
  • Healing foods: To heal your gut it’s essential to load up your plate with nourishing foods that are soothing and gentle on the gut. Slow-cooked stews, bone broth (rich in gut-healing amino acids), nourishing soups, and foods that contain digestive-boosting enzymes such as bitter greens (rocket and dandelion), and sour foods (like citrus and apple cider vinegar) are all gut-friendly options.

For a comprehensive guide on how to health, weed, seed and feed your belly, The Beauty Chef Gut Guide is out now and contains more than 90 delicious recipes and meal plans to follow.


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