Possibly one of the most underrated organs in the human body, our guts are vital for our overall wellbeing. Yet with an array of information available it’s hard to know where to start to improve gut health, or what we can do to benefit it.
As vital organs in the gastrointestinal tract of our digestive system, our intestines not only function to digest food and enable the nutrients released from that food to enter into the bloodstream, they also have a significant impact on our wellbeing. How we feed our core – known as our microbiome – affects our protection from disease, absorption of nutrients, creation of vitamins, hormonal balance and even our mood.
For example, over 90% of serotonin – the neurotransmitter that is linked to contentment – is made in our intestines and is just one of the reasons we should be supporting our guts. With 100 million neurons in our gut, it is often referred to as the second brain and is thought to influence our behaviour. It also plays an essential part in keeping our immune system in check which is incredibly important to help us transition through the changing seasons.
At Daylesford we are fortunate to have an abundance of fresh seasonal produce available from our organic farm and animals, much of which can be used to create foods that are essential for supporting our guts. Read on to explore our top foods to improve gut health.
PREBIOTICS & PROBIOTICS
“A healthy gut flora is essential and by contributing to a healthy gut, probiotic foods contribute to a healthy mind, too.” – Rhaya Jordan, our in-house nutrition and wellness expert
Our guts are full of bacteria and keeping these healthy is vital for our wellbeing. Things like stress, a poor diet and lack of exercise can all deplete our stores of good bacteria, making it really important to give ourselves good pre and probiotics to support it and allow it to flourish, even when faced with stressors.
There are plenty of natural prebiotics available in fibre-rich vegetables such as squash and leafy greens as well as onions, leeks and pulses. Combining these organic veggies in nutrient-rich soups, smoothies and salads is a great way to pack a health punch for your guts.
Our organic kefirs also contain a healthy amount of good bacteria, contributing to core health and digestion. Try our blueberry and acai kefir, packed with live cultures and made by hand on our farm using milk from our organic grass-pastured cows. As a great source of protein, calcium and vitamin B12, add them to a balanced diet to support your gut health.
Fermented foods are a rich source of probiotics and our new organic ferments are a great way of getting these into your diet. Using surplus or ‘wonky’ vegetables leftover in our organic Market Garden, our organic ferments are one of the best forms of food preservation, retaining the nutritional content of fresh food whilst breaking down the vegetables and making them more digestible and kinder to the gut, too. They are also an excellent way to avoid wasting excess food .
Try to eat some fermented food every day to help keep your microbiome in optimum condition – take your pick from probiotic yoghurt, fermented drinks like kombucha and kefir, miso paste, spicy kimchi, or tart sauerkraut.
Organic meat on the bone, slow-cooking cuts and bone broth all contain the raw materials to heal your gut lining which can be damaged from a stress, poor diet and lifestyle. The chefs on our farm release the hard-to-get collagen and gelatin by slowly cooking the bones from our own organic, grass-pastured animals for hours to make nutritious bone broths. Explore our range which includes our warming beef bone broth and nourishing chicken broth. Rhaya also recommends drinking a cup of organic bone broth everyday to build immunity.
As our gastrointestinal immune cells are a vital part of our immunity, keeping them well nourished and prohibiting bad bacteria from growing is essential. The natural essential oils in ingredients like thyme, rosemary, garlic, chilli, ginger and turmeric inhibit bad bacteria from taking hold of the gut.
Drink your dose of naturally antibacterial plant oils in our organic cold press boosters, add to winter stews and roasts or blend into soups and smoothies.
FEED YOUR CORE
It is important to remember that there is no ‘one size fits all’ – it’s important to find out what works for you, so trying a mixture of the foods suggested above or trialing one at a time is the best way to work out if that particular food agrees with you and measure what your body responds to the best.
As for the indicators of gut health, look out for more content on the blog soon where we’ll look into indicators of an unhealthy gut and how to boost your mood with food. You can also browse our feed your core range, designed to boost gut health and support your overall wellbeing, in any of our farmshops or online.