Hopefully you read the last blog about WHY this may be important for your weight and overall health. However, it is also important to know that as we age, the microbiome –the bacteria and other microbes that live in your gut – tends to decrease in diversity and shift towards more harmful species. That may weaken the immune system and raise risk of obesity, type 2 DM, constipation, and autoimmune related diseases. Foods rich in probiotics (or taking the right supplement) helps support your microbiome… but we must also focus on eating a wide variety of veggies and fruits to provide the prebiotics to nourish and grow more good bacteria. This may be one reason that eating more produce has been linked to longevity!
(Oh….and you thought as a dietitian I just like to “push” this colorful stuff – it works folks and I really want you to feel your best! HONEST! YOU are why I come to work everyday (grin)! )
- Trillions of good microbes live in your GI tract, and they need prebiotics to flourish.
Prebiotics are foods or supplements high in the soluble fiber that your gut microbes love to eat.
Here are some of the best prebiotic foods:
- Chicory root
- Jerusalem artichokes
- Brussel Sprouts
You really want to make sure you get these prebiotics through FOOD verses a supplement when you can. (note: it is often the probiotic supplement we need to add. Some probiotics contain a prebiotic – I prefer foods for greatest benefit!) These foods are particularly important if you need to take an antibiotic, which kill off millions of good microbes along with the bad ones.
- Your gut also needs beneficial bacteria such as probiotics.
One of the best ways to get this is to include proboitic foods in your diet. These foods contain live, beneficial microbes that will settle happily into your ecosystem, helping to build a diverse and well-balanced micro biome. Many of us need to take a probiotic supplement to gain enough healthy microbes in order for our gut to be at its best, especially if you are not a fan of probiotic foods! (ps. you want to make sure you take a probiotic supplement that best fits your needs.)
Probiotic foods include:
- Sauerkraut (the unpasteurized kind in the refrigerated section at the store)
- Kimchi (available in in our specialty stores such as Earth Origins, Richards, and Whole Foods)
- Pickles (the unpasteurized kind in the refrigerated section at the store)
- Coconut kefir
If you aren’t used to sauerkraut and kimchi, give them a chance, you may grow to love them. Sauerkraut is great with eggs or on a sandwich, and kimchi makes a fabulous spicy side dish for any Asian meal or a stand alone snack with rice crackers.
- Add anti-inflammatory foods for an optimal healthy microbiome.
When you feed your gut prebiotics and probiotics, you’ll lay the foundation for a super-healthy gut microbiome. To make it even healthier, eat anti-inflammatory foods that soothe and heal your gut, making it a better environment for your hardworking microbes. Here are some of the most powerful anti-inflammatory foods good for the gut:
- Bone broth – gaining in popularity. Available in some local restaurants (one of my favorite spots to eat- Evergreen Cafe). Interested in making your own? Check this out!
- Berries – any type will do. Go organic when you can since they are part of the Dirty Dozen. Frozen is always a good choice.
- Turmeric – great on eggs, stews, and so many other ways. Did you see this recipe?
- Ginger – fresh is always best but don’t forget the one on the spice rack!
- Curry powder – Fall is a great time of year to break out the warm and savory meals with curry.
- Fatty fish – salmon, tuna, herring, trout, sardines – look for wild and from the USA! Try this quick dish.
- Avocados– so versatile! On sandwiches, with eggs, mixed with tuna/egg salad, eaten alone with a dash of salt.
- Green and leafy vegetables – think “COLOR” at every meal – especially dark green, orange, and red.
- Cruciferous vegetables – brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, kale, bok choy…oh my! If you find these disrupt your gut, cook them well to break down some of the fiber… and for some it releases added benefits.
- Green tea – also black teas have also shown some benefit! (oh and this is fresh brewed tea…not the one you find in a bottle.)
When you combine the power of prebiotics, probiotics, and anti-inflammatory foods, your microbiome will keep getting stronger and healthier. As a result, you will likely be more successful with weight loss, your hair will become shinier, your skin will look smoother and younger, and you’ll feel like a Rock Star (well maybe;)!
For those of you receiving the JBS Nourish Newsletter, check out last month’s recipes and links to find more recipes on fermented foods! More recipes to come this week…
Keep your eyes peeled for 2 of my Favorites coming your way – GUT Friendly Muffins (my weakness!) that will have you savoring every bite… and my very own creation of a delicious Lentil Stew that will keep you healthy all winter long…..
Until Then … Keep NOURISHING Well!
Remember, one small change can impact your health – start today!
Leave a comment and share. What is working for YOU to nourish your microbiome!