When you think of gut health, and supporting the trillions of bacteria that live down there, you may immediately think of fibre, probiotics, and fermented foods. And yes, these are some of the best ways to support our gut bacteria.
If you are suffering from bloating, gut discomfort, diarrhea, constipation or other gut symptoms, you will also want to address the fire in your gut, that is inflammation. These super foods can help:
Cruciferous vegetables: Such as cauliflower, cabbage, garden cress, watercress, bok choy, broccoli, kale, turnip, radishes, brussels sprouts, and similar green leafy vegetables. The polyphenols in these vegetables act as messages to your body that can move the needle away from inflammation and disease and toward health and vitality. But remember, these may not be a good idea if you have reactions to high FODMAP foods.
Curcumin (Turmeric): Curcumin is the supplement extracted from the spice Tumeric. Curcumin is a powerful compound that scavenges free radicals and prevents damage to the intestinal tract. Add turmeric to meat marinades, homemade stews, sauces and even your coffee and smoothies for added free radical protection. Try this yummy turmeric latte.
Carotenoids: from carrots, yams, sweet potatoes, papaya, watermelon, cantaloupe, mangos, spinach, kale, tomatoes, bell peppers and oranges
Stewed Apples: Stewed apples make the immune system in our gut smarter. Find out more here
Oily Fish: Such as salmon, mackerel, herring, anchovies or from walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds provide the anti-inflammatory omega-3s which reduce gut inflammation.
Dark coloured vegetables and fruits: such as cherries, berries, red pepper, beetroot, red onions, red cabbage contain a higher concentration of polyphenols
Ginger: Ginger eases as gastrointestinal upset, stimulating saliva and bile production. It reduces intestinal inflammation and nausea. It is also a powerful anti-microbial which may benefit you if you have an unhealthy balance of bacteria in your gut
Garlic: When garlic is crushed it releases allicin, the phytonutrient thought to be responsible for garlic’s anti-microbial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties.
Cooking stops the enzyme forming though, so if you crush your garlic and immediately throw it in a hot pan, you’ll receive little allicin. Instead, leave the chopped garlic for 10 minutes before cooking to allow the allicin to form, and then you should still receive the benefits.