Decoding The Gut Microbiome: Here’s Why Going Plant-Based Can Boost Good Gut Health - Women's Health

Decoding The Gut Microbiome: Here’s Why Going Plant-Based Can Boost Good Gut Health

As a “healthy gut” becomes the new buzzword for health and wellness, more people are looking to plant-based diets to achieve good gut health. Thanks to Soulara’s meal delivery service, adopting a plant-based diet’s never been easier.

It used to be the case that we were raving about a new fitness trend, boutique studio or pastel-coloured gym equipment when it came to exciting developments in the space of wellness. But in recent years, as diet culture has come to be dismantled in favour of a holistic approach to health, our attention has turned to food not only as a source of food, but a source of micro- and macronutrients that fuel good bacteria in our gut. Yep, “gut health” is the new buzzword, coming to influence everything from our energy levels, sleep, recovery, and even our skin. If all that wasn’t enough to convince you to make the switch to a plant-based diet (or at least a flexitarian one), new studies have found reducing consumption of meat also benefits the environment, too. 

It’s safe to say that in recent years, the environmental impact of the animal agriculture industry has reached something of a fever pitch. And thanks to documentaries like The Game Changers, the benefits of going plant-based now extend into the athlete space too, with countless individuals and professional athletes speaking to the benefits they’ve seen in their performance, from more energy to reduced recovery time. But when it comes to the gut, plant-based diets are a key driver in maintaining good gut health. 

For some, going plant-based can be a challenge. But thanks to meal delivery service Soulara, it’s never been easier to make the switch. Sure, microwavable meals have existed for decades now and for most of us, the idea of microwaving dinner conjures images of stogy mash and dried peas. But Soulara is no ordinary service, with a wide range of meals curated by chefs and expert nutritionists, the dining options feel like an extravagant meal from your new favourite restaurant. Consider the likes of spinach and lentil soup, spiced butter chickpeas, a masaman curry with peanut butter, coconut, eggplant, sweet potato and chickpeas, and a golden coconut Dahl that’s as warming as it is delicious. 

As Kylie Alla, Soulara nutrionist and plant-based recipe expert, explains: “In the past few years, maintaining a healthy gut microbiome has become synonymous with getting eight hours of sleep or thirty minutes of exercise a day, and for good reason,” explains Kylie. “There are approximately 100 trillion bacteria, good and bad, living in our digestive system. When the good bacteria are thriving, they work harmoniously with your body to significantly improve overall health.”

A healthy microbiome isn’t just beneficial for your wellbeing, but it also works to boost your immune system. As well as this, it promotes the production of essential vitamins and amino acids, improves the overall function of your digestion system and can help regulate your mental health, too. But while exercise and sleep are a significant component of overall health, diet can’t be overlooked and in most instances, the impact is immediate. “Diet is one of the most accessible ways to alter the quantity and quality of bacteria living in your gut,” explains Kylie. “Studies have shown that an overnight switch to an entirely plant-based diet can significantly alter the composition of your gut bacteria in just 24 hours.”

For those looking to improve their gut microbiome, a plant-based diet rich in whole foods – think grains, legumes, fruit and vegetables – provides high quantities of non-digestible fibre, polyphenols and plant proteins. Ultimately, these micro and macronutrients serve as fuel for good bacteria living in your gut and boosts their numbers. For Soulara, the meal delivery service is taking the guesswork out of plant-based eating, and for those wanting to go plant-based who aren’t exactly sure where to start, it serves as the perfect entry point. Not only will it inspire you to think of your own recipes, but it allows you to see that going plant-based doesn’t mean eschewing flavour. 

“It’s undeniable that the health of the gut microbiome is heavily dependent on the food we eat. A vegan, or mostly plant-based, diet is consistently linked to better gut health and, by default, a reduced risk of developing a swathe of diseases, from obesity to diabetes and even Alzheimer’s,” says Kylie. 

Entry-level prices for Soulara begin at $80.50 per week for 7 meals, working out to $11.50 per meal. With breakfast options, snacks and juices available as well, you can ensure even the fussiest of eaters. For more details and the full Soulara menu, visit the website here. 

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