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).
Are you eating enough fibre?
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.
Diversity is the key to a gut healthy diet
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 – the gut bacteria
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 in dairy
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.
Probiotics in fermented food
Prebiotics – essential nourishment for gut bacteria
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.
Other sources of prebiotic fibre include:
- Legumes and pulses such as lentils, chickpeas, beans and peas
- Oats and Barley
- Inulin-rich fruit and vegetables like green bananas, Jerusalem artichokes, garlic, leeks and onions
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.
Want to learn more?
Read our blogs on food and gut health.