Phil Lancaster // Diet, Gut Health, Microbiome

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February 18  

10 Microbiome Friendly Foods

The Basics of the Microbiome

Your microbiome is a complex community of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microorganisms that reside primarily in your gut, but also on your skin and in various other parts of your body. Think of it as a bustling city within you, with trillions of inhabitants living in harmony. Each "citizen" of this microbial metropolis has a specific role, contributing to the body's functions in a symbiotic relationship.

Caring for Your Microbiome

Caring for your microbiome involves lifestyle and dietary choices that support its diversity and balance. Consuming a varied diet rich in whole foods, minimizing antibiotic use, and managing stress are key strategies. Additionally, incorporating prebiotics (fibers that feed good bacteria) and probiotics (live beneficial bacteria) can help maintain a thriving microbial community.

For More Information on Looking After Your Microbiome

See Avoid Ultra-Processed Food.

10 Gut-Friendly Foods

Here are 10 foods that contribute to a healthy microbiome.

1. Olive Oil

01 Olive Oil

Searching for digestive-friendly additions to your diet? Consider incorporating a bit of olive oil onto bruschetta or into a salad. A study featured in the Nutrients journal indicates that adding this component to your daily meals may support 'intestinal immune function,' meaning it could enhance the performance of your gut.

And of course you should always use virgin or extra virgin olive oil to fry your food.

2. Blueberries

02 Blueberries

Whether you scatter them over your cereal or snack on them directly from the package, blueberries might be a valuable inclusion in your diet. Animal studies conducted by the University of Georgia suggest that intake of blueberry supplements can modify gut microbiota and decrease inflammation. Natural fruits are frequently abundant in the essential nutrients for gut-friendly food.

A mixture of blueberries, strawberries and blackberries, topped with full-fat cream or yogurt, makes a healthy and delicious dessert.

3. Lentils

03 Lentils

Packed with protein and incredibly adaptable, there's plenty to admire about the simple lentil. Here's yet another reason to incorporate it into your meals. Research involving animals, shared in the U.S. National Library of Medicine, indicates that lentils have a beneficial impact on the gut microbiome and also aid in addressing obesity concerns.

Lentils can be made into a delicious and nutritious soup. There are plenty of recipes available online.

4. Almonds

04 Almonds

Got a snack craving? Opting for a bowl of almonds when you're looking for something to munch on can quell your hunger. Studies by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the University of Florida have shown that consuming these nuts can positively alter the composition of gut microbiota. Carry some in your bag for an energy boost.

A handful of almonds makes an excellent between-meal snack. 

5. Broccoli

05 Broccoli

Consider making room for more greens in your diet! Studies on animals, published in the Journal of Functional Foods, indicate that eating broccoli may lessen inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. This implies that individuals who include this digestive-friendly vegetable in their meals might experience fewer intestinal problems.

Simply steam and serve.

6. Spinach

06 Spinach

Alternatively, incorporating spinach into your daily diet might provide an additional lift to your gut health. This leafy green is celebrated for containing a crucial sugar molecule. Drawing on findings from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, it might be wise to emulate Popeye and increase your spinach intake.

Spinach is easily prepared by wilting. Add a generous splash of olive oil to a pan, add the spinach and toss over high heat for a few minutes. The volume will reduce to about a quarter of its original size.

7. Oats

07 Oats

Oats aren't just a tasty option for breakfast; they could also bolster your health. A study in the Nutrients journal indicates that oats naturally contain prebiotics, which are substances that promote the proliferation of beneficial microorganisms in the digestive system. Whether you prefer your oats warm or as overnight oats, beginning your day with them is always a smart choice.

Steel-cut oats are best. Follow the cooking instructions on the packet.

8. Onions

08 Onions

The following digestive-supportive food might bring tears to your eyes. The same research featured in the Nutrients journal highlights that onions are abundant in prebiotics. This implies that incorporating them into your meals can contribute to maintaining optimal gut health. For best outcomes, you can mix either white or red onions into a variety of recipes you already enjoy.

If you like mashed potato (or sweet potato) you can give them a lift by chopping a couple of onion slices, browning them in a frying pan with some olive oil and then stirring them in with the mash (or simply mash everything together).

9. Garlic

09 Garlic

Beyond its legendary use in repelling vampires, garlic boasts another intriguing advantage. A presentation at the Experimental Biology annual meeting revealed that eating garlic could counteract age-related alterations in gut bacteria. Researchers suggest that preventing these changes in bacteria could also have beneficial impacts on memory.

Garlic is an important part of the Mediterranean diet and has many health benefits, along with its ability to impart flavor to other ingredients, particularly meat.

10. Salmon

10 Salmon

Were you aware that salmon can benefit your gut health? Indeed, according to USDA research, 100 grams of raw salmon contain approximately 563 IU of vitamin D. This fish is a valuable provider of the vitamin, which is linked to gut health. So, the next time you're in the mood for a deliciously inviting fish filet, why not choose salmon?

Either fry in a pan with olive oil or wrap in aluminum foil and bake in the oven. Either way, delicious and nutritious.

Conclusion

In conclusion, your microbiome is a fundamental part of your health. By understanding and nurturing this complex community, you can support your well-being from the inside out. As research continues to unfold, the potential for harnessing the power of the microbiome in promoting health and preventing disease seems boundless.

About the Author

Turning 80 in 2024, I weigh the same as I did when I was 18 and remain seriously fit and healthy.
I'm on a mission to help everyone to become happy, fit and slim.
In the long-term, the only way to prevent the dreaded yo-yo effect and not only lose weight but keep it off for the rest of your life is to embrace a lifestyle change that welcomes healthy eating and moderate exercise.
But that can be dishearteningly slow for most people.
It’s very easy to fall away from that journey before it’s had time for any real effect and also well before it’s had any chance to become a lifestyle habit.
That’s why I recommend a 2-prong approach.
Studies show that most overweight people have a compromised liver function. So the first prong is a supplement designed to help you lose weight immediately by fixing that.
And the second prong is the Happy, Fit and Slim training course designed to change your lifestyle so that the weight stays off permanently.
Click on Free Stuff in the main menu to find out more.

Phil Lancaster

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