22 March 2023
My Muscle Chef Accredited Dietitian and Nutritionist
Gut Health, a topic rarely discussed and yet something that can deeply affect how we live our lives on a day-to-day level. So let’s celebrate the inner workings of our body and tackle how to overcome the issues which sometimes we find hard to talk about.
Did you know 20% of Australians are affected by gut health problems like constipation, IBS and bloating, which can significantly impact your daily life and wellbeing (some of you might unfortunately be all too aware of this!). Food and nutrition are central to managing these types of gut problems and for keeping your gut healthy in general. Your gut plays a massive role in thousands of processes from digestion to mental wellbeing, so read on, find out how to stay on top of your gut health and discover our favourite MYMC gut friendly meals and snacks!
Whilst us humans are the masters of our domain, we are actually not alone. Covering us from head to toe is millions and millions of microbes. But the most concentrated number of microbes live inside our gut, and to put a number to it, we have around 39 trillion microbes (that's A LOT of microbes). To put this in perspective, that’s the equivalent of taking 100 galaxies full of stars and compacting it down and putting it inside your intestine.
And they play a huge role in our health.
During the digestive process all the food you consume is broken down in the gut into a form that can be absorbed into your bloodstream and delivered as nutrients to your body. The powerhouse units that do this within the gut are called microbes and their main job is to help to digest your meals and allow your body to absorb nutrients from your food you consume. Recent research has suggested a varied diet helps to build the diversity of gut microbes which additionally has a positive impact on your immunity and your mental health. There are both good and bad bacteria that live in your gut. If you have experienced gut issues such as abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhoea or constipation the chances are there is an imbalance of bacteria within your gut and you lack the necessary beneficial bacteria needed to have a regular digestive system.
The working of your gut doesn’t stop at digestion (even though that is already a massive task). The microbes found in your gut play a critical role in shaping your appetite, allergies, metabolism, mood and neurological function to help maintain overall health and wellbeing. The role of your gut on your mood and behaviour is an emerging focus for health practitioners and in addition to protein, a varied diet rich in fibre from fruits and vegetables, can play an important role in exercising the mind, as well as your body.
With the many important roles our gut plays in our health and wellbeing it’s a surprising fact that not alot of us actually know what we need to do to improve our gut health.
The single most important nutrient that good bacteria need to thrive inside you is fibre. When we have plenty of fibre in our diet the good bacteria in our gut can do their job - and your digestion, mental functioning and mood can seek the benefits!
Most Australians don’t meet the recommended serving for fibre each day - 25g for females and 30g for males. Our main focus should be how to continue to feed the good bacteria through consuming enough fibre on a daily basis.
When talking about feeding the good bacteria, we are feeding the probiotics in our gut. Probiotics are the so-called “good” microorganisms inside your gastrointestinal tract which need to be fed to remain active and healthy. Prebiotics, a type of plant fibre, are the food which probiotics need to thrive and the more we consume, the more efficiently our probiotics will work their wonders in your gut. The simplest way to think of it is this: If you want to nurture good bacteria, eat lots of fibre.
Some top foods that provide an abundance fibre (the best microbe-fuelling nutrients) include whole plant foods including fruits (bananas, apples), vegetables (garlic, leek, onion and asparagus), legumes (lentils and kidney beans), and wholegrains (barley, oats and flaxseeds). It is important to note that these microbes are picky eaters, and not every microbe wants to eat kale. So the diversity of the foods in our diet plays an important role in feeding and growing good bacteria in our gut. We can also help the good bacteria thrive by not ‘feeding’ the growth of bad bacteria by reducing our consumption of processed sugars and unhealthy fats (aka junk food) in our diet.
At MYMC we are all about gut health. Below we have compiled out most gut friendly meals, packed with the benefits of prebiotic fibre from a variety of sources!
To keep your gut happy, why not add a few of our top picks to your next order!
Mexican Superfood Bowl - 492 cal, 20.1g protein, 11.7g fibre
Chipotle Chicken Burrito Bowl - 704 cal, 65.4g protein, 10.3g fibre
Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese - 448 cal, 21.8 g protein, 10.0g fibre
Roast Lamb with Root Vegetables & Diane Sauce - 430 cal, 40.2g protein, 9.0g fibre
Protein Bite: Cookie Dough - 170 cal, 7.1 g fibre, 3.8g fibre
Protein Yoghurt: Strawberry with Almond & Cranberry - 204 cal, 20.1g protein, 6.5g fibre
Protein Oats: Raspberry, Cranberry & Coconut Flavour =- 392 cal, 21.8g protein, 6.1g fibre
Low Carb Bar: Salted Caramel - 219 cal, 11.1g protein, 4.3g fibre
Protein Muffin: Banana & Walnut Flavour - 301 cal, 15.8g protein, 3.9g fibre
As you build a healthier gut microbiome you will notice the difference as the community of critters inside you help you digest food, secrete brain boosting neurotransmitters and defend you from harm. With a number of reasons why gut health is so important, now it’s up to you to take the step towards a healthier gut and a healthier you!
With a number of reasons why gut health is so important, now it’s up to you to take the step towards a healthier gut and a healthier you!
Nutrition Connection, 2022, Gut Health Month https://nutritionconnection.com.au/gut-health-month/
Nutrition Australia, 2022 Fibre, https://nutritionaustralia.org/fact-sheets/fibre-2/
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