Gut Health is the key to a happy, healthy, illness free life.
The gut microflora or bacteria as it is often called is a well tuned environment. Too much bad bacteria can cause an upset of the gut’s flora and gives rise to opportunistic pathogens, bacteria and viruses which are ingested with food and dealt with by the body’s immune system which is mostly located in the gut.
So eating foods that increase gut bacteria and foods that heal the gut wall, seems a sensible option in most cases.
- Bone Broth – Bone Broth is made from bones of good quality grass fed animals. It is a rich source of gelatine, amino acids such as proline and glycine and high in minerals like calcium, magnesium and phosphorus which are beneficial to teeth, hair and skin. The amino acids proline and glycine heal and strengthen connective tissues. They also support good digestion. Glycine promotes hydrochloric acid production which is vital for digestion and good health. Heartburn (reflux), osteoporosis, candida, skin conditions (acne, eczema and dermatitis), food allergies and rheumatoid arthritis are all conditions linked to low hydrochloric acid levels. Glycine also helps the liver with detoxification.
The gelatine in the broth reduces inflammation in the digestive system and it is easy for the body to digest.
Bone broth can be drunken everyday for chronic gut problems or it can also be used for casseroles, gravies, stews, sautéing vegetables. If you have vomiting or diarrhoea bone broth can calm the gut and reduce the inflammation.
Recipes for Bone broth (beef and chicken)
- 2.5 kg beef bones
- 1 brown onion (quartered with skin on)
- 5 chopped carrots (if organic leave skin on)
- 3 celery stalks, roughly chopped
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (this leeches minerals, amino acid and collagen from the bones)
- Enough water to just cover bones
You can brown the bones in the oven first for 10-15 minutes for added flavour. Simmer over a very low heat for 8-72 hrs topping up with water if needed and skimming off froth which comes to the top. After desired time strain stock and discard the solids. Then place in fridge overnight and skim the excess fat off and place into containers suitable for freezing.
- 3-4 organic or free range chicken carcasses or bones from left over (chickens raw or cooked)
- 3 carrots (if organic leave skin on)
- 3 stems of celery, roughly chopped
- 3 Bay leaves
- Handful of parsley
- 2 sage leaves
- Sea salt and black pepper for seasoning
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (with the Mother in it)
Add all ingredients to a large stock pot and add enough water to cover. Cook for at least 4 hours. Skim the top as scum rises. Strain and discard solids and refrigerate overnight. Skim fat and pour into containers to freeze.
- Sauerkraut- Sauerkraut is made by the process of lacto-fermentation. Lactic acid is formed when fermenting the cabbage. It:
- Enhances digestibility of foods
- Increases their vitamin levels in the food
- Preserves and enhances enzymes in the food
- Increases the nutrient bioavailability
- Promotes growth of healthy bacteria in the gut.
- Kefir- Kefir is a fermented milk drink made from ‘kefir’ grains. It has around 30 different strains of bacteria and yeasts which help recolonise the gut against candida and other pathogens. It is great for Candida as it does not feed the yeast. It can also be drunk by people who have lactose-intolerance as it does not generally affect them.
- Coconut Oil-Coconut oil is anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic. In a compromised gut, bacteria, microbes, viruses, funguses and parasites can create havoc and cause serious and life threatening health problems. Cooking and adding coconut oil to your everyday foods has more benefits than most people realise. It is a medium chain fatty acid which when eaten is not stored as fat but converted to immediate energy for use by the body so it can actually help you to lose weight.
- Paw Paw or Papaya- Paw Paw and Papaya can aid with digestion and ease bloating after meals. They both have an enzyme called papain within the flesh of them. Papain helps breakdown proteins within the food you have consumed.
- Apple Cider Vinegar-Apple cider vinegar jump starts your digestive system by helping stimulate hydrochloric acid (HCL) within your stomach. The HCL breaks food down into smaller particles so nutrients can be absorbed. It reduces bloating and aids in balancing the pH of the gut. It also encourages the growth of good bacteria in the gut. Apple cider vinegar must have the ‘Mother’ in the bottle for it to make a difference to your health. Take 1 tablespoon in water before every meal.
- Spirulina and Chlorella-Both these super greens are algae. They both are nutritional powerhouses. They both contain digestive enzymes which help to breakdown foods. They contain more dietary protein than red meat and more fibre which helps ease constipation and other components help detox the bowel and also soothe the bowel walls. They both have the ability to increase the good bacteria in the gut and suppress the levels of bad bacteria. They aid in better absorption of nutrients, protection from infection and they also strengthen the immune system.
- Yoghurt- Yoghurt that contains ‘live ‘cultures help suppress bad bacteria in gut. Although yoghurt needs to be low in sugar and minimally processed to ensure ‘live’ culture.
- Ginger-Ginger has been used for thousands of years for digestive health. It reduces vomiting, nausea, motion sickness and morning sickness. It is thought to stimulate stomach activity, reduce inflammation and reduce spasm in the stomach.
- Kiwi fruit-Kiwi fruits are high in the enzymes pepsin and actinidin. These enzymes help breakdown protein faster which keeps waste in the digestive tract moving. Kiwi fruit is also able to restore the balance of good bacteria and they can help maintain the integrity of the gut barrier. They are high in antioxidants, they protect the body from infection and they also lower the risk of colon cancer.
If you would like more information on these foods or any practical advice on how to incorporate these foods into your diet please get in touch.