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Top 3 Ways to Achieve Good Gut Health

Everyday is a good day to raise awareness of Australia’s second deadliest cancer. Helping to raise funds to support research, prevention, early diagnosis and quality treatment of bowel cancer is something we can all do to help. Did you know that our body contains millions of bacteria and microbes – in fact, we are 90% bacterial cells and 10% human cells. Many of these bacteria (our microbiome) provide health benefits; help us to digest fibre in foods; and produce a wide range of enzymes, chemicals, hormones and vitamins. Good gut health creates a healthy environment for  cells in your bowel and boosts your immune response which reduces your risk of bowel cancers and the effect of diseases such as Crohn’s and Colitis.

Intestinal microbiome, bacteria colonizing different parts of digestive system, Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, Enterococcus and Escherichia coli, 3D illustration

Country Kitchens recommends the top three ways to achieve a healthy gut are:

  1. Increasing the dietary fibre in your diet

Consuming a plant-based diet, high in fibre is the best way to achieve good gut health such as the Mediterranean Diet. The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend a diet that includes a variety of nutritious foods from the five food groups to reduce the risk of chronic disease and some cancers. Foods such as: vegetables with skin on, fruit with skin on, wholegrain cereals and beans contain high fibre. Studies show that people who eat more dietary fibre, have a more diverse microbiome which is beneficial for gut health. According to the National Health and Medical Research Council, we need to consume 25-30g fibre each day. We detail how much fibre is in certain foods in our Good Gut Health resource, found on our website at https://bit.ly/323jysx

Health food concept with legumes, grains, seeds and organic vegetables.

2. Including Probiotics and Prebiotics

Introducing probiotics (such as: fermented vegetables, yoghurt, kefir, bananas, onions and garlic) and prebiotics to your diet is also recommended. Prebiotics are the functional non-digestible food components (eg. fibre) that stimulate activity or the growth of beneficial bacteria. It is also recommended to reduce saturated fats, added sugars, processed foods and alcohol in your diet for good gut health.

Fermented preserved vegetables in jar.

3. Consume all three types of dietary fibre

  • Soluble: helps manage blood cholesterol and blood glucose, helps restore good bacteria and repairs colonic epithelium. Found in: oats, artichokes, leeks, onions, garlic, bananas, legumes, lentils, peas and miso.
  • Insoluble: keeps stools soft and bulky, assists with diverticular disease, haemorrhoids, constipation and bowel cancer. Found in: wholegrain cereals, nut, seeds, brown rice, corn, vegetables with skin on, fruit with skin on.
  • Resistant starch: consumed by good bacteria and helps keep the bowel lining healthy. Found in: unripe banana, cooked and cooled potatoes and pasta, lentils and plantain.

To find out more and access our Good Gut Health resource and healthy recipes, visit: https://bit.ly/323jysx

References:

https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/guidelines/about-australian-dietary-guidelines

https://www.bowelcanceraustralia.org/bowel-cancer-awareness-month

NHMRC, 2005, Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand including Recommended Dietary Intakes, Dietary Fibre, Commonwealth of Australia, 2006.

Olendzki, BC, Silverstein, TD, Persuitte, GM, Ma, Y, Baldwin, KR & Cave, D 2014, ‘An anti-inflammatory diet as treatment for inflammatory bowel disease: a case series report’, Nutrition Journal, vol. 13, no. 5, pp. 1-7.

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