Would you be surprised if I were to tell you that there is a whole lovely long list of every day foods that are super good for our gut health – and only a few of them are ferments?
Like many fermenters and wholefood lovers, when I started fermenting – I thought I had found religion. I would proudly inform the students in my fermentation courses that I truly believed that ferments were the missing link for our gut health. I have since reviewed this thought – and please don’t get me wrong here – as I wholeheartedly believe in the importance of consuming good bugs – but, a few good reads later, including GUT , and 10% Human, and articles like this, and I had a big old review on my ‘just add kraut’ philosophy.
You see, it turns out that one of the true missing links for many consumers of the ‘Standard Australian Diet’ and the bridge for them to gap towards their journey to better gut health is good old fashioned fibre.
When we ponder to ourselves ‘why are we so sick these days?’, ‘what has changed in the way that we eat?’ ‘Is it sugar? Carbs? Meat? Etc. etc.’, we often focus on what ‘we’ as a nation or a culture have started to consume more of, and forget – quite simply – what we now consume less of.
In fact (and you can search this up to confirm it), many articles have come out in the last couple of years quoting research using mice to compare the effect of low and high fibre diets on the gut microbiome – that demonstrated that a high-fibre diet can actually shift your gut bacteria towards a much more beneficial community – one that sees you slim down, feel better and get sick less often.
So what kind of fibre are we talking about? – Because not all fibre is the same… We are talking about prebiotics or prebiotic fibre. To be clear, not all fibre is prebiotic. To be classified as a prebiotic, the fiber must pass through the gastro intestinal or GI tract undigested and stimulate the growth and/or activity of certain ‘good’ bacteria in the large intestine (source).
The list of prebiotic fibres includes many of our everyday foods (what a relief!), such as garlic, onion and leeks. Some legumes also feature (chickpeas!), as do nuts (cashews and pistachios). So the news is good really – with some forethought and planning we can make the effort to eat more fibrous foods, and perhaps even replace some of our carb-based meals with these.
One of my favourite ways to get more fibre into my day is to start first thing. I love a breakfast stir-fry, and use this to replace bread in my morning – I will often pair this with a poached or fried egg for good fat and to help me to digest the fat soluble vitamins in the vegetables.
Asparagus is high on the list as a fabulous prebiotic fibre – and this just happens to be in season right now. Go to the shop – buy lots and enjoy it while it is here. Asparagus makes a gorgeous breakfast (or lunch or dinner), and pairs beautifully with something rich and delicious, be it eggs, egg sauces (hollandaise), or with a fresh-as home-made salsa verde.
For a comprehensive list of prebiotic foods, click HERE
(Panfried asparagus with salsa verde and roast almonds)
Here is, but one example of how you can eat delicious wholefoods that are in season – that also support your gut health. Pair this breakfast with a yummy blueberry-kefir smoothie and your belly will thank you.
Artisan Wholefoods Cooking School will be hosting a special event – Food & Your Gut – in just a couple of weeks. You can find out more informaiton aobut the weekend and the teachers HERE