They don’t call it the “second brain” for nothing. The gut microbiome, which consists of no less than 100 TRILLION bacteria, affects everything from skin health to energy levels and hormone balance. The gut has its own nervous system called the enteric nervous system (ENS), and while its main purpose is to regulate digestion, it also has a strong connection to the brain, and thus, a major impact on your mental well-being. A healthy gut has a diverse community of microbes, each of which prefers different foods. Eating a range of foods doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive; you can pick up most in your local supermarket. Here are a few ideas:

1. Go bananas on fruit: Add berries and citrus fruits, such as oranges and grapefruit to your diet, they contain less fructose, making them easier to tolerate. Bananas are another low-fructose fruit that is fibre-rich and contain inulin, a substance that stimulates the growth of good bacteria in the gut.

2. Say YES to whole grains and nuts: Eating more whole grains has been shown to increase the types and numbers of bacteria in our gut. The same is true of nuts, so pick up a variety of walnuts, pecans, pistachios or almonds, remembering that a serving is what fits into the palm of your hand.

3. Drink live cultures: Fermented food and drinks like Kombucha contain live microorganisms. Through a traditional fermentation process, a number of probiotic bacteria are produced which can help to balance the gut microbiome in humans and improve digestion. Our favourite is Remedy Kombucha because it is the real deal – long-aged brewed for 30 days in small batches using only the best, all-natural ingredients with no nasties (see tip #6 below!). It’s deliciously sparkling and jam-packed with live cultures, organic acids and antioxidants. Not only that, it’s sugar-free and there are just 7 calories in a 250ml can. It’s also super tasty and refreshing. 

4. Grab more greens: Leafy greens, such as spinach or kale, are excellent sources of fibre, as well as nutrients like folate, vitamin C, vitamin K and vitamin A. Research shows that leafy greens also contain a specific type of sugar that helps fuel growth of healthy gut bacteria. 

5. Korean Kimchi: This Korean speciality of fermented vegetables brings the benefits of probiotic bacteria along with vitamins and fibre. It’s so popular that Koreans say “kimchi” in the same way that we say “cheese” when they have their photos taken.

6. Say CYA to artificial sweeteners: Steer clear of artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose and saccharin. These disrupt the metabolism of microbes and reduce gut diversity – in animal studies this has led to obesity and diabetes. Ditch the processed foods too, as these also upset microbes’ metabolism.

7. Peas please: Good bacteria need fibre to flourish, so the more fruit and vegetables you consume the better. Peas are full of soluble and insoluble fibre to help keep your system in balance. Add peas to stir-fries, soups or salads.

Reader Offer

20% OFF Remedy Kombucha

We love Remedy Kombucha as a tasty, refreshing and healthy alternative to sugary or artificially sweetened soft drinks. It’s unpasteurised, meaning it’s full of live cultures that help protect your gut. Plus it only has 7 calories per 250ml can and contains zero sugar. We love to drink kombucha with our lunch, as a mid-afternoon pick me up, or to hydrate after a workout. Try Remedy Kombucha for yourself at www.remedydrinks.com and get 20% off your order using code “HIPANDHEALTHY20”.*

Artisans and experts in making the best tasting kombucha out there, Remedy handcraft their kombucha in small batches. They long-aged brew it for 30 days, using only the highest quality all-natural ingredients, resulting in high levels of live cultures and a super tasty combination of sweet and sour notes.

Why not try one of their delicious mixed kombucha cases or taster packs that allow you to sample an array of flavours.

*Offer subject to availability. Terms and conditions apply. Offer ends 31st September 2021