My role as a dietitian, nutritionist and blogger, means I’m constantly on the go and I need to ensure my body is functioning optimally to stay on top of everything. Gut health is important for everyone as it’s so critical to overall health maintenance, and I want to help more people take charge of their gut!
Here are my picks of the best food for gut health and the optimum time to eat them throughout the day.
Your AM routine is crucial as the first foods you consume can hugely affect your gut’s circadian rhythm. This is basically what’s telling your body to wake up and get pumped! Syncing your gut’s circadian rhythm to your actual wake up routine will promote better health, concentration and alertness.
I would recommend a filling breakfast containing gut-loving fibre from foods like whole grains, fruits and nuts. This will help keep you full and prevent unhealthy snacking throughout the day, whilst nourishing your gut. Think spinach and berry smoothies, homemade muesli or overnight oats. These fibre-rich foods will also help ensure you are consuming prebiotics which feed the good bacteria in your gut so probiotics can flourish naturally.
Don’t forget to have a big glass of water when you wake up! Water works hand in hand with fibre and is essential to getting the most out of it. Water’s also great to keep a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut, which in turn keeps your gut functioning optimally.
Top tip: One single avocado contains around 14 grams of fibre… embrace the avo!
By the afternoon, your body will have been nourished by the nutrients consumed in your breakfast, which will be working away to maximise the benefits of probiotics. But you, and your body, will probably be feeling like you’re ready for your next fuelling… we’ve all hit the 3 o’clock wall before!
The easiest way to get probiotics into your gut is eating foods rich in probiotics. When I feel like I need a probiotic boost, I like to whip up some of these super easy creations (or make them in advance to bring with me)
Tempeh with Baked Veggie Salad
Tempeh is a fermented soybean product rich in probiotics. I love making a big salad, roasting a tray of baked veggies and tossing them through the salad with some tempeh and an olive oil or avocado oil dressing.
Made with my favourite fruits like mango and banana, with some milk and a few scoops of yoghurt for a good hit of probiotics.
Miso is a Japanese seasoning made by fermenting soybeans with salt and koji. I make it into a delicious soup with spring onions and seaweed and bulk it up with some barley or rice.
Another thing to think about here is fermented foods, these are the ultimate source of probiotics. Think twice next time when you request your burger with no pickles! Fermented foods include yoghurt, miso, tempeh or kombucha.
I know it’s really easy to just reach for probiotic supplements but do your research first! For the probiotic to be effective it needs to reach your gut unharmed, so it can populate your colon. Your stomach is a really harsh and acidic environment and not all probiotics survive the journey, making them essentially useless.
To maximise the chance of probiotic survival I would recommend consuming healthy fats, such as those found in avocados, alongside probiotics. This offers a protection from your stomach acid destroying the bacteria.
If you’re after a quick probiotic fix and want to ensure it reaches your gut unharmed I would suggest kombucha such as the Nexba range which is sugar and artificial-free, plus it contains a newly identified strain of probiotic proven to reach your gut, unlike most probiotics in other kombuchas.
Top tip: Anticipate the 3pm snack craving and put some time aside the night before to get some gut-nourishing snacks prepared. I promise you can whip some up in under 15mins!
By the time you get to the evening after a long day at work it can be very tempting to ‘indulge’ and eat large portions. Avoid overeating as this can disrupt your sleeping patterns and consequently your gut microbiome. You need to allow your gut time to rest when you are sleeping.
To avoid overeating, I suggest slowing down your eating at dinner to see how hungry you actually are. Eat until you are satisfied, not bursting at the seams! Also focus on chewing each mouthful well, as this allows for better digestion and overall gut health too.
Dinner is also a great time to incorporate prebiotics into your consumption. Prebiotics help feed the probiotics in your gut. Try experimenting with different flavours and use foods such as garlic, onions and leeks, as these are great prebiotic sources that can help nourish your gut. Look towards high-fibre vegetables like asparagus and artichokes for more prebiotics to stimulate the good bacteria growth.
Top tip: Swap packet sauces for fresh homemade flavours at dinner using onion, garlic and leeks to feed your good gut bacteria.