Gut health and the microbiome
The road to health is paved with good intestines! Interested? Read on …………
Although hardly a new topic, there’s been lots of chat on gut health and the microbiome since January – partly I guess because of the usual post Christmas ‘let’s get healthy’ focus and a particularly strong media presence from Tim Spector @tim.spector
I’ve been interested in this for a few years – due to my own health issues (including leaky gut – yes, it’s a real thing). I’m not a medical expert – just someone who decades ago (when new romanticism was a thing -that's the music not the artistic movement!) studied nutrition as part of her degree and still has a real interest (at one point I wanted to be a dietician – but A level Chemistry was a stumbling block for me – too many anatomical structures to memorise!).
So, if you’re interested in moving towards a healthier gut, here are my takeaways:
- Eat fermented foods (e.g, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, natural yoghurt, sourdough bread and my favourite – kombucha)
- Eat a rainbow of plants - at least 30 different plants a week – including nuts, seeds, pulses, whole grains, fruits and vegetables – on top of starchy staples such as potatoes or rice.
- Eat whole grains – not refined grains (like oats!)
- Reduce your sugar intake – especially refined sugar
- Add foods such as green tea, extra virgin olive oil, herbs and spices and dark chocolate to your diet – to increase your polyphenol content.
A healthy gut microbiome is a real thing – so if you’re interested in finding out more I’ve included some sources below – mostly Tim Spector related (can you tell I’m a fan?!).
This really is the tip of the iceberg – I have simplified this whole topic and to give it the credit it deserves it’s worth doing a deep dive into some of the sources below.
Do let me know what you think? Are you actively trying a diet which encourages a healthy microbiome or is this just not something you are remotely interested in, and have I missed anything?
Sources and useful reading:
- https://joinzoe.com/ (a huge array of materials here)
- Diary of a CEO – Steven Bartlett: https://open.spotify.com/episode/3ZgbK4ibcD2CrBzZEzuhmE?si=7uQQ0QW9Teqrlbvf6xLYsw