With up to 100 trillion beneficial bacteria in the gut, looking after this precious part of our bodies is more important than ever. The gut is “the home of our immune system,” says BePure founder and nutritionist Ben Warren. In nourishing the gut, we protect the body from illness and disease and promote wellbeing.
“The immune system is incredibly important to health, but it’s also heavily related to many immune dysfunctions generally related to modern disease,” Warren explains. Research links an unhealthy gut to multiple health issues, including inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, coeliac disease, thyroid problems and diabetes, as well as bloating, constipation, indigestion and food intolerances.
Dr David Perlmutter, a neurologist, and fellow of the American College of Nutrition puts poor gut health down to the modern diet. “Our Western cosmopolitan diet is extremely devoid of fibre, extremely high in sugar and carbohydrates and lacks the micronutrients needed, as well as good fat,” he says.
Perlmutter recommends increasing the prebiotic fibre intake in our diet to nurture gut bacteria. Food like kimchi, dandelion greens, onions, leeks, and garlic will all help nourish the gut, as well as fermented foods such as a cultured yoghurt. We should change our thinking from “you are what you eat” to “you are what your gut eats.”
Steps to improve your gut health:
- Avoid gluten, sugar, processed grains and anti-inflammatory medications
- Avoid refined carbohydrates such as white rice, pasta, and bread: they cause inflammation
- Eat probiotic yoghurt and fermented foods, such as kombucha tea, that help build beneficial gut bacteria
- Drink more water: it helps the bowels work to get rid of toxins
- Avoid over-using antibiotics
- Add good fats to your diet by eating nuts, avocado, and salmon
- Don’t drink alcohol on an empty stomach: this damages the villi (folds in the small intestine tissue) and can cause leaky gut syndrome
Not sure where to start? Try our Garlic and Parsnip Soup with Garlic Flatbread.
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