You might have heard that your gut is your ‘second brain’, or be familiar with the expression ‘trust your gut’. Hidden in the depths of the digestive system, the “brain in your gut” is revolutionizing medicine’s understanding of the intricate links between mood, digestion, health and cognition, such as your memory.
As our last blog post on gut health noted, more than 95% of the serotonin is located in your gut. This means what we eat not only affects our physical health but greatly impacts our mood and mental health too. All in all, your gut does a lot for you, perhaps more than science even knows yet. So we think it deserves to be celebrated. Here are our top tips for feeding the good bacteria in your gut.
Fruit and vegetables and gut health
Including more fruit and veg in your diet is a great way to give back to your gut. The gut bacteria thrive on fibre, it helps them grow and prosper, which in turn helps keep you healthy. Some good sources of fibre include raspberries, broccoli and green beans. The traditional Western diet sadly is not diverse enough, meaning that we can miss out on giving back to these gut microbiomes that work hard to keep us physically & mentally healthy. So try challenging yourself to jazz up your meal prep, including various different fruit, veg, dried nuts, fish, and meats to maintain a healthy balanced diet.
Prebiotics & probiotics foods and gut health
The Harvard School of Medicine recommends prebiotics and probiotics into your diet to enhance gut health. It notes that while probiotics (live cultures which can be found in fermented foods- such as yogurt, cheese, kefir, and sauerkraut) are helpful, they lack effectiveness when taken alone and irregularly. Prebiotics are fibre-heavy foods such as nuts and seeds, avocados, and leafy greens, that contribute to maintaining a healthy intestinal environment. They need to be taken alongside probiotics to help the desirable gut bacteria grow inside your digestive tract. Therefore, they suggest adding them to one or more daily meals to see significant results. For instance yogurt and (Keto Hana) granola for breakfast, and green soup for lunch.
Polyphenols and gut health
Moving on from fruit and vegetables, you’ll be pleased to hear that chocolate and wine are also excellent choices for the gut (in moderation of course).
Cocoa / dark chocolate and red wine are examples of foods that are high in polyphenols, meaning that they feed the gut bacteria directly instead of making their way straight to the colon. Alongside chocolate and red wine, other healthier options include grapes, green tea, almonds, broccoli, blueberries, and onions.
To sum up, here are some top Keto ingredients for your gut health
- Probiotics: kefir, cheese, sauerkraut, plain yogurt (with live bacteria- avoid the sugary, flavored type)
- Prebiotics: leafy greens, vegetables, beans
- Vegetables: broccoli, green beans, cauliflower, avocado, garlic, onions
- Fruit: grapes, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries (check our blog post on fruit & the keto diet here)
- Nuts & seeds: almonds, flax, Brazil, macadamia & pecan nuts (or a bag of Keto Hana granola!)
- Guilty pleasures: dark choc & red wine (even doctors says a little is fine ;)
We hope this helps you make good decisions for your gut!