Immunity and its link to gut health is a hot topic and for good reason. Thanks to the trillions of bacteria living inside your gut, which form part of a very important ecosystem known as the microbiome, your gut health is a key part of digestion and your overall wellness. There's emerging evidence that suggests gut health plays a key role in supporting a strong immune system, fending off illness, keeping inflammation low, and even promoting mental health.
But how do you make sure your gut stays healthy? Nutritionist, Kathleen Alleaume shares her diet tips for boosting your digestion and overall health, starting with what you choose to eat in the morning to kickstart your day.
Focus on fibre
We may get caught up on eating enough protein and limiting added sugars, yet we often overlook the importance of dietary fibre. Not getting enough fibre every day may significantly change the way your gut functions and may stop your digestive tracts from flowing smoothly. Why? Fibre found predominantly in plant-based foods is the meal preference for the gut bacteria to survive and thrive.
Up your grain game
According to the Australian Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council, most Aussies eat 'core foods' every day (like bread, breakfast cereals, pasta and rice), but only around 30% of these are whole grain, so most of us are falling short of their health benefits, which include up to three times the amount of dietary fibre, and 80% more minerals like iron and zinc. Compared to refined grains, whole grains like rolled oats have more nutrients like minerals, vitamins, dietary fibre and antioxidants. So, by including more whole grains in your diet, you'll be getting more of these vital nutrients and making sure you've got the wholesome energy you need for the day ahead. Just 1/3 cup of UNCLE TOBYS Traditional Rolled Oats dishes up 30g of wholegrains.
Eat plenty of prebiotic-rich foods
Not all fibres are created equal and each variety offer their own set of health perks. Some fibres (like beta-glucan) help reduce our cholesterol level, some are more important for preventing constipation and others serve as good fuel source for our gut bacteria. Prebiotics is a special form of dietary fibre that acts as a fertiliser for the existing bacteria in our gut and encourage the growth of a diverse community of microbes.
Make sure that you're starting your day with a wide variety of plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, and nuts to help ensure you're getting all types of fibres for optimal gut health. Wholegrain toast with avocado and spinach or oats with berries and nuts is a great start.
Enjoy probiotic-rich foods
While prebiotics act as a sort of fertiliser for bacteria, probiotics are the living bacteria itself. Eating foods rich in gut-friendly bacteria will top up your digestive tract with the 'good' bugs and help your gut flora flourish. Live probiotics are commonly found in a range of dairy products, including yoghurt, kefir, and cottage cheese, as well as fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha or miso, and some sourdough breads.