The microbes that inhabit our intestine can keep us healthy – by looking after our gut microbes they will look after you. We can improve our gut microbiome in several ways.
Probiotics – these are the live microorganisms of beneficial bacteria and yeast that help to balance our gut microbiome. Probiotic rich foods include yoghurt, sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi and kombucha. You can also buy probiotic capsules from the chemist. While there is some research evidence that probiotic supplements are helpful, the results have been mixed and we are not at the stage where we can give precise information about dosage and types specific to any health condition.
Prebiotics – this is the non digestible type of dietary fibre that feeds gut bacteria and therby positively influences the composition and activity of the gut microbial population. Gut microbes ferment prebiotic foods which can then stimulate growth of beneficial bacteria. Here are my top tips to keep your gut microbes well fed and thriving.
Eat as many different plant based wholefoods as possible:
Some top prebiotic foods to include are:
Barley and Oats
Cashews and Pistachios
Chickpeas and Lentils
Understanding the gut microbiome and how it affects our health is still at an early stage with hundreds of research labs around the world working in this area. Watch this space.