Updated: Jul 13, 2021
Feeding your gut microbiome
April showers don’t just bring May flowers for me… they also bring sneezing, sniffling, runny eyes and itchy skin. This year I’ve made a commitment to relieve allergy symptoms by fixing my gut before reaching for antihistamines. Beyond proper digestion of nutrients, the gut in particular profoundly influences the immune system.
I settled on a 28-day microbiome reset diet. For me, that means removing the offending foods (dairy/sugar to eczema and gluten/alcohol to allergies) then adding probiotics (beneficial bacteria) with fermented vegetables and prebiotics (the food for the probiotics) with fibre.
Despite the popularity of low-carb diets for weight loss, avoiding carbs altogether may not be so great for gut health. The down side to very-low-carb diets is that in eliminating most carbohydrates, you do so at the expense of some healthier plant carbs with fibre that are found in fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains. These plant foods are rich in vitamins and minerals and without them you may experience constipation, low energy, and possible micronutrient deficiencies.
Having a diet rich in different types of dietary fibre literally feeds trillions of bacterial cells in our gut encouraging diversity and stimulating the growth of probiotic bacteria. These microbes are able to balance the PH in the gut, prevent inflammation, modulate the immune system, deter pathogens, and can even improve mood and stress resilience.
Not all fibre is created equal. Adding isolated fibre to highly processed foods does not necessarily make them healthy options. Go for whole plant foods that are natural sources of fibre and they come packaged with other important nutrients.
Getting your fill of fibre may not be as tough as you think. Here are my choice suggestions:
1 - Eat the skin of potatoes, cucumbers and carrots
2 - Forget the juice; have whole fruits with the peel instead
3 - Add beans or chickpeas to your soups and salads
4 - Switch from white rice to black or brown rice
5 - Make snacks count with fresh berries and granola in plain yoghurt, raw
vegetables dipped in hummus, avocado stuffed celery sticks, low-fat popcorn, edamame in the pod, nut, seed and dried fruit trail mix
I've just completed my reset diet and can tell you that I don’t need a nap in the afternoon, my good mood stays more consistent throughout the day and I haven’t taken one allergy pill! Going forward, I will rely on Qspice and my hundreds of quintessential recipes in the cookery to continue wholesome clean eating.