Who wants to talk bacteria and gut health? Now, don’t raise your hands all at once!
It’s not the most exciting topic, I know, but bear with me.
For sure, what we digest nourishes the body and can literally make or break our morning constitutional (that’s poop if you’re not familiar with the euphemism), but scientists are recently finding out that what goes in the gut, or stomach, may be more important than we realize. A healthy gut may aid in the fight against chronic disease, cancer, obesity and even depression.
There are over 5000 bacteria that live in the gut, some good, some not so much. A diet rich in probiotic foods, like yogurt, sauerkraut and sour pickles, can greatly affect our immune system. The more of the good guys you consume, the more balanced the microbiome (that’s the fancy name for all of those lovely bacteria swimming around in your stomach) and the healthier you will be.
To help the good guys grow, you need to add prebiotics to your diet. Think of these as fertilizer for the probiotics. Non-digestible carbohydrates, like asparagus, dandelion greens and garlic nourish the probiotics already in your intestines.
Now here’s the kicker; things like stress, the environment and exposure to antibiotics can throw off the delicate balance in your gut so it’s a good idea to consume a combination of both prebiotic and probiotic foods on a regular basis.
Unfortunately, no single food contains both pre- and probiotics, but no worries, we’ve got you covered. If you are looking to supercharge your gut health through diet, we’ve got a tasty breakfast cookie recipe, courtesy of The Complete Prebiotic and Probiotic Health Guide, that contains both!
- 1⁄2 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 1 1⁄4 cups quinoa flour
- 3⁄4 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1⁄2 cup liquid honey, pure maple syrup or brown rice syrup
- 1⁄3 cup plain yogurt
- 1⁄4 cup virgin coconut oil, warmed, or vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2⁄3 cup dried cherries, cranberries or blueberries
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C)
- Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a pot of boiling salted water, cook quinoa for 9 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water until cool (quinoa will still be slightly chewy).
- In a large bowl, whisk together quinoa flour, oats, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Stir in egg, honey, yogurt, oil and vanilla until just blended. Gently fold in quinoa and cherries.
- Drop batter by tablespoon onto prepared baking sheet, spacing cookies 2 inches apart.
- Bake in preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until just set in the center.
- Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then transfer to the rack to cool.
Courtesy of The Complete Prebiotic & Probiotic Health Guide by Dr Maitreyi Raman, Angela Sirounis & Jennifer Shrubsole © 2015 www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with permission. Available where books are sold.
How fast can one change the body’s microbiome? Fast! The gut adapts to a change in diet within 24 hours, so eat up! —Karen