I’ve just read Dr Mosley’s The Clever Guts Diet. It’s a great read, and I recommend it to anyone interested in their ‘biome’ as an accessible starting point. And if you have no idea what a biome is… then you should.
I’m constantly amazed by our bodies; they are a truly miraculous piece of machinery with complexities our finest minds are still getting to the bottom of. Although the gut is not the most glam of our organs, it is certainly having its day in the spotlight.
In his introduction, Dr Mosely says:
“As well as extracting energy from our food, the gut accounts for most of our immune system and produces more than two dozen hormones that influence everything from our appetite to our mood.”
This means that what happens in the gut can have an effect on things like our weight, our energy levels, anxiety levels and mood, as well as our immunity.
If we want to change our microbiome for the better, we can do so fairly easily with diet.
Your gut is home to over 50 trillion microbes (microorganisms/bacterias), the specific combination of which each of us has, is referred to as our ‘microbiome’. Dr Mosley’s book is an ode to the microbiome, and he tells us that the diversity and health of our microbiome influences our overall health dramatically. Also, that if we want to change our microbiome for the better, we can do so fairly easily with diet.
It’s a fine balance, and when a couple of nasty biome start to dominate, then, the evidence he presents says, that causes all sorts of problems for your health. So a good way to improve the chances of achieving that balance is to introduce a wider range of bacterias into your gut.
Most of us have a relatively narrow spectrum of microbes in our guts, and Dr Mosley encourages us to try to broaden it via broadening our diet. It is a question of fine tuning, but starting by trying to widen the range of healthy foods we eat is a good way to boost diversity.
Even if we are pretty good at eating our fruit and veggies, we often stick to the same ones – especially for the kids. Try to introduce a new veggie every now and then as something fun to try. You never know, you might find a new favourite! I find a little butter and a tiny sprinkle of salt on new veggies improves my chances of success.
The process of including your kids on a mini food adventure is also a great way to get them involved in their own healthy eating journey – especially if you can find a little story to go along with your cameo veg. For example, we bought some fresh broad beans and planted one of the beans which we watched grow. The excitement around the podding and the planting far outweighed any misgivings about a new vegetable variety.
Another way to add some diversity to your repertoire is to look at your fruit and vegetables with a fresh eye. Here are some things to try at home:
- Eat the stalk as well as the crown of your mushrooms, broccoli and cauliflower
- Don’t peel your potatoes, sweet potatoes, or other root veg. Especially if you are roasting… the crunchy skin is the best bit!
- Golden kiwi fruits have slightly less furry skin than the normal kiwi fruit, and my kids are happy to eat it
- Incorporate the leafy carrot tops into salads, pestos and throw into your stock for extra flavour
- Eating certain fruits, such as bananas and strawberries, when less than ripe can also deliver different microbes to your gut than when they are fully ripe
There are lots of ways to improve your gut health – and broadening your range of food types is one of those ways. Pick up a copy of the book for recipes and lots of facts and information. I hope you enjoy your journey to loving your gut!