Prebiotics – Eat More!
Prebiotics provide a good food source for certain populations of healthy gut bacteria, such as bifidobacteria, which, in turn, prevent intestinal inflammation. Studies have shown that prebiotics can be particularly beneficial for obese people, as they reduce insulin and cholesterol levels, while lowering the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Prebiotics can be bought as supplements, but they are also contained within foods including asparagus, leeks, bananas, garlic and jerusalem artichoke.
- Fibre & Wholegrains – A diet rich in high-fibre foods such as apples, artichokes, blueberries, chickpeas, lentils, pease and beans can limit the growth of harmful bacteria and stimulate bifidobacteria, lactobacilli and another healthy species called Bacteroidetes.
- Fermented Products – Fermented foods such as kimchi, kefir, kombucha, natural yoghurts and fermented soya bean milk have been shown to promote the abundance of healthy gut bacteria and reduce the levels of enterobacteriaceae, a family of bacteria linked to a number of chronic diseases. Natural yoghurt enriched with bifidobacteria has also been found to alleviate lactose intolerance in children and adults, while yoghurts enhanced with lactobacilli have had some beneficial results in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Avoid flavoured yoghurts, which tend to contain high levels of sugar.
- Polyphenols – Polyphenols are found in foods including almonds, blueberries and broccoli as well as in green tea, cocoa and red wine. The types of polyphenols found in cocoa are linked to changes in the microbiome that reduce inflammation and triglyceride levels.
Avoid Artificial Aweeteners
Commonly found in food as replacements for sugar….Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame has been found to alter gut bacteria in human and animal studies. These changes appear to result in elevated blood sugar levels and increased susceptibility to metabolic disease.