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Gut Bacteria – the Secret to Gut Health

Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2019
Written by Live Life Get Active
Category: Nutrition

Why your happiness relies on the happiness of these little guys.

Your gut is home to trillions of bacteria. These little guys are constantly busy making messages that travel throughout your body, including to your brain. These messages to your brain can be signals that make you happy, sad, or hungry, depending on the type of bacteria you have living in your gut.

Basically, the good guys make you feel good, the bad guys make you feel bad. You want to look after the good guys, so they can grow and dominate the bad guys!

Did you know that the bacteria in your gut produces 90% of your serotonin, which is a hormone responsible for happy feelings! Your brain only produces less than 10%.

So let’s look at how you can keep these good guys happy for your best chance at being happy.

How do I look after my good gut bacteria?

Feed them with lots and lots of FIBRE!

You have definitely heard that fibre is good for you. You may have heard that fibre is not fully digested into your body after you eat it. Well, this is so that it stays in your gut, to feed your bacteria, before it makes it’s exit out the other end. Fibre makes the good guys grow and thrive. They can then send lots of messages around your body which help regulate your mood and help reduce risk of some diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

Best sources of fibre: vegetables, fruit, chickpeas, lentils, beans, oats, nuts, seeds wholegrain bread and pasta.

Fermented Foods

Fermented foods were traditionally used to prevent vegetables like cabbage and cucumber from going off, by adding salt or vinegar. It was then discovered that these vegetables were naturally producing good bacteria during this process (they cause the sour taste). Eating fermented foods can increase the amount of good bacteria in your gut. Bacteria can also be added to foods as a method of fermentation – like in yoghurt! The bacteria in yoghurt has been long known for its health benefits.

Best sources of Fermented Foods: yoghurt, pickles, kimchi, sauerkraut, miso paste, tempeh.

Ditch the processed, high sugar, high-fat foods!

These foods are all low in fibre, giving our good guys nothing to help them grow and thrive, reducing our chance of receiving their potential happy and healthy benefits. This leaves us with the bad guys dominating our gut, potentially leaving us feeling down and increasing the risk of harmful health effects that may lead to disease.

Foods to limit: takeaways, chips, cakes, cookies, pastries, chocolate, fizzy drink, white breads, fried foods, sugary cereals.

In conclusion, to help be your happiest self, keep your good bacteria happy by feeding them with fibre, creating more of them with fermented foods and keeping the bad guys away by limiting processed foods. 

This Weeks Recipe:

Full of fibre and dolloped with yoghurt to keep your gut bacteria and yourself happy!

Tumeric Chicken and Chickpea Rice Bowl

Serves: 4 Time: 40mins Cost: $18 approx. ($4.50/serve)

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken thighs (400-500g)
  • 2 cups brown rice (microwave packet or home cooked)
  • 700g pumpkin
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp crushed ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • juice of ½ squeezed lime
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 4 TBSP natural or Greek yoghurt
  • extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper

 Method

  1. Prepare rice as per packet instructions.
  2. Preheat oven to 180o‑c fan-forced.
  3. Dice pumpkin into bite sized pieces then place on baking tray.
  4. Drizzle pumpkin with olive oil, season with salt & pepper then bake for 30mins, turning half way.
  5. Dice onion, cut chicken into bite sized pieces.
  6. Heat olive oil on a pan, low-medium heat.
  7. Sauté onion for 1 min.
  8. Add garlic, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon then fry off for 1 min (might need a dash more oil).
  9. Add chicken, cook on medium heat for 8-10mins.
  10. Add cooked pumpkin and rice, chickpeas, lime juice then cook for 2 mins.
  11. Take off heat and stir through spinach.
  12. Serve with a dollop of yoghurt .

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4940716/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6047317/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5390821/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5374383/

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41564-018-0337-x

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4393509/

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