Scientific research now tells us that looking after your friendly gut bacteria (the trillions of microscopic organisms that live in your intestines) is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health.
Here’s 5 simple diet swaps to help feed friendly gut bacteria:
1. Swap a processed pot of ‘no sugar, fat-free’ yoghurt for a small bottle of kefir
Many commercial yoghurts are marketed as healthy because they are fat-free and contain no added sugar. Yet we now know that ‘fat-free’ is no good, and unfortunately these yoghurts are often filled with artificial sweeteners too, which are known to negatively disrupt the delicate balance of bacteria in the gut. Kefir on the other hand is a fermented milk drink that is naturally packed full of probiotic bacteria, and delivered with a healthy dose of prebiotics (food for your friendly bacteria) too. Kefir is now available to buy as a plain liquid yoghurt drink in some supermarkets.
2. Swap a heap of picalilli for a spoonful of sauerkraut or kimchi
Commercial pickles often contain lots of salt, sugar, artificial colourings, flavourings & preservatives. Sauerkraut or kimchi on the other hand supply naturally fermented cabbage which contains high amounts of pre- and probiotics. You’ll find sauerkraut and kimchi in some supermarkets; just add a spoonful onto your lunchtime salad, or as a tasty accompaniment to meat or fish.
3. Swap an afternoon can of diet coke for a bottle of sparkling kombucha
Diet coke contains sugar and artificial sweeteners which together spell disaster for the gut microbiome. Kombucha is now stocked in glass bottles in many supermarkets and is a sparkling, refreshing fermented drink that is packed full of probiotic bacteria.
4. Swap a tin of processed soup for a mug of miso soup
Most tinned, processed soups contain high amounts of sugar and very little in terms of fibre and nutrients. Miso is a protein-rich paste made from fermented soybeans and contains friendly bacteria to nourish your gut. You will find miso soup as a box of little sachets in the supermarket, to which you just add hot water for a comforting, afternoon drink.
5. Swap sugary breakfast cereal for homemade muesli made with barley, oats & rye.
Commercial breakfast cereals are typically refined, processed and laden with added sugar. This high sugar, refined, low-fibre combo is bad news for the gut bacteria. Swapping to a natural or homemade muesli containing wholegrains such as barley, oats and rye will instead help to feed and nourish your gut bacteria.