Three ways eating plant-based food can boost your gut health
There are hundreds of different species of bacteria living in and on our bodies – an estimated 40 trillion microbes in fact – and most of these live in our gut.
Collectively, they are known as the gut microbiome. They have a significant impact on our digestion, our immune system and the health of our entire body, including the brain, our muscles and our bones. They can even influence our mood.
“We all have a gut microbiome which is unique to us, so selecting a single marker of health is difficult,” says Robert Dixon, Unilever’s Science and Technology Manager for the gut microbiome.
“But what we can say, regardless of this variation between individuals, is that a diverse microbiome is the best marker of a healthy microbiome. And a healthy microbiome will keep your body functioning at its optimum.”
Working to diversify diets
Findings from the American Gut Project, the world’s largest citizen science microbiome project, show that people who eat more than 30 different plant-based foods a week have a more diverse, and therefore healthier, microbiome than those who eat ten or fewer.
“One of the best ways we can ensure we maintain the diversity of our gut microbiome is to eat a wide range of fruit and vegetables,” says Dr. Dixon. And yet many people struggle to eat the five-a-day portion of fruit and vegetables that WHO recommends.
For example, a 2021 Veg Facts survey of eating practices in the British isles observed only 33% of grown ups and just 12% of 11–18-calendar year-olds at present deal with to hit that everyday target.
This is just one particular of the motives why Unilever R&D, Diet and Ice Product are doing work to create products and solutions that make it less difficult for men and women to consume and delight in a far more plant-primarily based diet.
“They say wide variety is the spice of life and that is also correct for the microbes that stay in your intestine,” claims Dr. Dixon. “Why not give some of our plant-based recipes a consider? Your microbiome justifies it.”
Three means to take in extra veg and expand superior gut microbes
Uncomplicated and delicious plant-dependent recipes to kickstart Veganuary
Add more fibre with beans and legumes
While chickpeas or broccoli might not be ingredients that often make an appearance at mealtimes, adding them to a soup, chilli or casserole is a great way to diversify your vegetable intake and add fibre to your diet.
“Diets that are high in fibre and polyphenols maintain the diversity of our gut microbiomes,” says Dr. Dixon. “While the human part of our guts can’t digest them, they are a rich source of food for our gut bacteria, who all prefer to eat different things.”
Why not try Knorr’s Moroccan style-lentil and vegetable stew or Hellmann’s creamy broccoli pasta?
Ramp up your prebiotic consumption with a strengthen of berries
Prebiotics are good for the gut microbiome because they act like a microbial fertiliser, stimulating the growth of beneficial bacteria.
The good news is prebiotics are found in many fruits and vegetables. Blueberries, for example, are an excellent source of fibre and polyphenols, making them healthy for both you and your gut microbiome.
Why not try Hellmann’s blueberry crisp using Hellmann’s vegan mayonnaise or take pleasure in a decadent weekend deal with with a Magnum Vegan morning smoothie bowl?
Insert some sweet and bitter flavours with fermented veg
Research shows that different types of fermented food such assauerkraut, kefir and kimchi contain different types of microbes, so eating a diversity of fermented foods can also be beneficial.
They’re also a rich source of beneficial microbes which may improve our microbiome function and help restore the microbiome to good health if it’s been compromised.
And while the strong pickled flavour of kimchi might not be appealing on its own, it’s a great ingredient in noodle dishes and stir-fries.
Why not try Korean Peckers from The Vegetarian Butcher?