As always, we need to preface everything we say that the science is still emerging in this area – but one thing we can be sure of is that the food we eat is an essential part of ensuring you have a healthy gut, or healthy microbiome (as it is often referred to by scientists and health professionals).
When we look at the link between food and gut health, it's important for us to start with fibre. Did you know that UK Government guidelines suggest that we should all be aiming to eat 30g fibre a day? You might not because on average, we're only getting around 18g. In fact 90% of us are NOT getting the recommended 30g.
Research has shown that eating plenty of fibre is associated with a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and bowel cancer. It can also support our immune system, help regulate blood sugar levels and make you feel fuller for longer thereby aiding weight loss.
But it can be hard to understand what 30g of fibre looks like. We get this - so at Troo we make sure every portion of our products contain at least 8g of fibre, so 25% of the daily recommendation. That's not to say you should eat 4 portions of Troo a day (we'd recommend a maximum of 2) as you need variety in your diet, diversity is key.
The key word here is DIVERSITY. The best diet for gut health is one that contains lots of different vegetables, wholegrains, legumes and a variety of proteins, which will also mean you're getting a variety of fibre. Keep mixing it up – aim for 30 different types of plant based foods per week. This is easier than it sounds; herbs, spices, nuts, seeds and grains all count. For example of bowl of Troo Nutty & Cinnamon Granola contains 11 different plant products, getting you a third of the way there!
Rather than electing for an iceberg lettuce, go for a bag of mixed leaves. Try buying a bag of mixed seeds to sprinkle on salads and yoghurt; add ras-el-hanout spice or garam masala to sauces or hummus dips. Always be on the lookout for opportunities to add a few herbs or spices to your cooking or baking – in this instance more is definitely more!
Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria found in the gut. You need to have a wide variety of different bacteria to thrive.
More and more research links some diseases to a low presence of particular types of bacteria in the gut. A lack of diversity can also lead to health conditions like obesity.
Research with twins undertaken by Kings College in London has shown that whilst twins share the same DNA, they share only c. 50% of the same bacterial groups in their gut. This difference in gut bacteria can have a big impact on health outcomes.
Illness and taking antibiotics can deplete your gut bacteria. You may need to take a probiotic supplement – but do check they contain a wide variety of bacteria, this is key.
As with all supplements, you may want to consult with a healthcare professional who is knowledgeable about probiotics. You can also re-introduce gut bacteria through some food.
Probiotics are found in ‘live’ dairy products – Greek yoghurt for example. There are also the little drinks like Yakult and Actimel that contain some bacteria. Milk Kefir is also found in the dairy aisle and has been used as a health drink by many cultures for centuries.
Do take care when relying on some products that claim to have probiotics added though, they often contain only one strain of bacteria and the proof of whether the bacteria actually gets to the guts can be limited.
Fermented food has grown in popularity recently but has been used to preserve food for ever! From Kimchi to Kombucha, Kefir to Sauerkraut, Tempeh to Miso – it’s a multi-cultural habit that creates delicious food enriched with the essential bacteria.
You can buy these products in some supermarkets and health stores, or you can make them yourselves. When buying pre-made fermented foods make sure they are not pasteurised, as this process kills the bacteria. Look out for our fantastic homemade fermented vegetable recipes. We also love fermenting our own Water Kefir – contact us if you want any info about this.
Last, but not least, we have prebiotics – the food for your gut bacteria that provides the nourishment that lets them flourish and grow.
Prebiotics is basically the fibre that your body doesn’t digest, instead it passes through into your gut to be devoured by the gut bacteria. You should aim to eat 12g of prebiotic fibre per day. Each bowl of Troo Granola and Troo Porridge+ contains 6g of prebiotic fibre, getting you halfway there.
Please note: The contents of this website are provided for you as information. It is not intended to replace advice from a qualified professional. We encourage you to make health care decisions based on your own research and in partnership with a qualified professional.
Read our blogs on food and gut health.