Ask the Dietitian: “What should I eat to maintain a healthy gut?”
Three words: live active cultures.Welcome to our series, Ask the Dietitian, where our in-house registered dietitian Kristin Neusel answers all of your burning nutrition and diet-related questions. Kristin is here to inform and empower you in all the food choices you make for yourself.
Interested in submitting a question to Kristin? Email it to her at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll try to answer it in an upcoming post!
Feeding and nurturing our gut is such an important part of a healthy lifestyle- but it’s often overlooked. Did you know that over 70% of your immune system is in your gut?! I frequently get asked how you can improve your gut health and what foods are good for your gut. You’ll want to aim for whole, minimally-processed foods high in fiber.
The goal is to ensure you have a diverse range of “good” bacteria in your gut.The good bacteria play a role in a variety of different bodily functions. When thinking about your diet, you want to focus on two things: probiotics and prebiotics to help diversify your gut microbiome. Probiotics are the bacterial strains, and prebiotics are the foods (fiber!) that feed your probiotics. The goal of having both probiotics and prebiotics is to increase the number of good bacteria in your colon, which positively impacts your health. Fiber also helps slow the absorption of sugar, making it a great addition to a person’s living with diabetes diet. Having a probiotic and prebiotic together is called a “synbiotic”, which is what Pendulum Glucose Control is!
So what foods contain probiotics and prebiotics?
When looking for probiotics, you’ll want to look for the term “live active cultures” on the container. We all know yogurt is a great source of probiotics, but some other great sources of probiotics are sourdough bread, pickles, and kefir. Try some kimchi or miso paste, or add some sauerkraut to a supper dish for some additional probiotics. I’ve also noticed a lot of foods are being fortified with probiotics. Everything from dark chocolate to granola is being packed with a punch of probiotics, making it easier to find. As far as incorporating more prebiotic foods into your diet, this one is easy! An apple or banana in the afternoon as a snack, or garlic and onions added to an evening dish is a simple way to incorporate more prebiotic foods into your diet. Inulin, which can be extracted from chicory root, is a wonderful example of a prebiotic and is found in many foods that are high in fiber. A lot of high-fiber granola bars and cereals are fortified with chicory root inulin too.
Here is a quick and easy good-for-your-gut recipe, including both probiotics and prebiotics. It is also complete with healthy, minimally-processed foods.
Morning Yogurt ‘n Berries1 cup of plain non-fat yogurt
¼ cup fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons flaxseed
1 teaspoon of honey
Mix together and enjoy!