Our understanding of how the food and drink we consume influences our health has changed radically in the past 5-10 years and is likely to change further!
We are beginning to understand the key role of the trillions of bacteria that live in our gut (the gut microbiome) and the importance of them for our physical and even mental health.
There are more immune reactions going on in our gut every day than in the rest of our bodies over our entire lifetime! The amount of information feels overwhelming – we’ve read a lot of it so hopefully you don’t have to!
Here are our 10 top tips. Remember making changes can be difficult – why not start by trying one or two and see how you feel?
- Eat as wide a variety of foods as you can.
- Avoid processed food as much as possible – these are often made tasty with surprising amounts of sugar and salt and preserved with chemicals that can have harmful effects on the gut.
- Eat more vegetables and fruit – again variety is important – try eating a rainbow of different colours.
- Eat less meat – particularly processed meat (e.g. ham, bacon). Besides the environmental impact, eating meat seems to reduce the diversity of your gut bacteria and is linked to an increased risk of a range of diseases.
- There are no ‘Superfoods’ but certain foods do seem especially good for us – berries, pulses, seeds and especially fermented foods such as Sauerkraut and Kimchi.
- When you eat might be as important as what you eat – try and eat all your food in a narrower window of time during the day.
- Avoid fizzy drinks – even ‘Diet’ ones; these are as closely linked to obesity as non-diet versions – perhaps due to an effect of the chemicals on our gut bugs.
- There is no right or wrong diet – find out what works for you and don’t be afraid to experiment with how you feel for a week or two avoiding certain foods such as dairy or gluten.
- Try and eat together around a table…...the evidence suggests it makes you thinner! You can talk about how much you dislike Sauerkraut?
- Forget thinking about carbohydrates, proteins and fats – you need them all, and don’t get us started about counting calories…..