Nutritionist Cassandra Barns reveals 10 gut-friendly foods
Garlic has potent anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties and can help to keep in check any bad bacteria in the gut. It can also be beneficial in cases of candida (yeast) overgrowth.
RAW SAUERKRAUT OR KIMCHI
Sauerkraut is a traditional fermented dish usually made with shredded cabbage and contains gut-friendly bacteria – it’s basically a natural probiotic! Kimchi is similar but generally consists of a combination of vegetables with the addition of spices such as ginger and red chilli flakes. Make sure you use raw sauerkraut or kimchi – if it doesn’t say raw on the label, it’s probably been pasteurised, which kills all of the beneficial bacteria.
These vegetables are one of the best sources of inulin, a type of soluble fibre which has a prebiotic effect and helps to feed and encourage the growth of good bacteria in the gut.
Ginger can stimulate the production of stomach acid and digestive juices, as well as helping to keep food moving through the gut. Use it in stews, stir-fries, soups, vegetable juices, grated on salads or in curries (but keep them light to benefit your digestion!). Hot tea made with fresh grated ginger is a fantastic digestive tonic too.
Fibre is key for a healthy gut and good bowel movements, but wheat bran can be quite harsh, causing digestive problems for some people. Oats are a better source of gentle fibre.
Like sauerkraut and kimchi, traditionally prepared unpasteurised miso contains friendly bacteria as well as live enzymes, both of which can be beneficial for the gut and digestion.
ROCKET AND WATERCRESS
The bitter taste of rocket and watercress can help to stimulate the digestive juices as well as bile flow from the liver. Bile helps to emulsify and digest fats and enables us to process and absorb vital fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A and E. Good bile flow is also necessary for efficient detoxification, as it’s the liver’s way of getting rid of waste and toxins.
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
Contrary to what you may think, it’s more common to have too little stomach acid than too much, and this can cause many of the problems that people associate with indigestion, including burping, nausea and heartburn symptoms. Adding a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to a small amount of water and drinking this before a meal can help to balance stomach acid levels (don’t do this if you are already taking a prescribed medication to reduce stomach acid).
Traditionally prepared bone broth is made by simmering leftover meat or fish bones for 8 – 12 hours. This process creates a highly nutritious broth with valuable minerals and gelatin from the bones. Gelatin can help to restore a healthy gut lining and the amino acids it contains may also help to improve stomach acid levels.
Pumpkin seeds are a great source of zinc, which is vital for good gut health, and they’re also used as a traditional remedy for parasites.
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