Probiotics and Gut Health

What is gut health?

Gut health seems to be the buzz word at the moment but what exactly is it?

And, anyone that claims to be an expert on gut health…… they’re NOT! We are only at the tip of the iceberg in relation to learning about the gut and its microbiota and what makes a healthy microbiome.

What we do know is that the gut itself has a barrier that is effective at keeping the contents of the gut such as its microbiota, undigested food particles and toxins from escaping into the bloodstream.

We also know that a healthy gut can be effective in digestion, to fight off infection and assist in keep your body at its optimal potential.  

SOME  factors that can disrupt the microbiome include:

  • Disruptions and changes in the acid/alkaline balance of the bowels
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Advil, Inbuprofen and others) are destructive to intestinal flora.
  • Virtually all meat, chicken, and dairy that you eat (other than organic) is loaded with antibiotics, which destroy all of the beneficial bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract.
  • A diet high in meats and fats, because they take so long to break down in the human body, promotes the growth of the harmful, putrefying bacteria.
  • Constipation, of course, allows harmful bacteria to hang around longer, which allows them to proliferate.
  • Cigarettes, alcohol, and stress
  • Medicinal antibiotics. The problem is that antibiotics indiscriminately destroy both bad and good bacteria.

So, should you be supplementing with pro-biotics?

The million dollar question!

Research suggests that probiotics may be of use to people with specific health concerns.

Well, probiotics may be of use to people with specific health concerns or to people interested in dietary modifications to help them stay healthy.

Health effects are strain specific. There is no one blanket approach to probiotics treatment.

Not all products on the market are backed by research.

Increasing the level of live cultures from foods may be of benefit to boost the immune system. Dietary sources include fermented dairy products, kombucha and fermented vegetables.

If you are buying a probiotic supplement be aware that probiotics are sensitive to environmental exposure such as heat, moisture, oxygen and acid.

Are you eating enough prebiotic foods to feed the existing bacteria in your gut or support your supplementation? Prebiotics are found naturally in a lot of foods. Apples, berries, citrus fruits, sweet potato, green-ish bananas, onions, raw garlic, oats, flaxseed, legumes.

Bottom line. If you’re wanting to supplement your diet with probiotics a healthy diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes will help you get the maximum benefit.

Chocolate Chia Pudding

Another Chia Pudding? Funny that because about 5 years ago many of us would not have even heard of Chia. And yet, everywhere we look there it is. In breads, cereals even ready to buy as a pudding on the supermarket shelves.

There is a reason why Holistic Nutritionists recommend this super seed to be incorporated into our diet.

  • Chia is an excellent source of fibre, protein and anti-oxidants.
  • It is the Richest plant source of Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Low in kilojoules
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • help to increase serotonin levels in the brain (thats the feel good hormone!)
  • can assist in weightloss

My favourite way to use Chia is in a pudding. You can adjust the flavour combinations to suit your needs. So, if i’m making it for dessert it’s usually a little sweeter and topped with fruit. If im making it for dessert it may be a little sweeter. For afternoon tea? I might add nuts as a topping. See how versatile it is?

This is the simplest recipe using 5 versatile ingredients…. Anyone could make it!

And, it’s naturally sweetened, vegan and gluten free.

It is so healthy that it’s a perfectly acceptable breakfast.

Make this the night before for a decadent breakfast or mid-day snack. Or prep it a couple of hours before the kids get home for a super healthy afternoon tea!

It lasts a couple of days in the fridge.

Ingredients

1/4 cup cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder 3 Tbsp maple syrup

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups unsweetend almond milk or coconut milk  (coconut milk gives it a creamier texture!)

1/2 cup white chia seeds

Method

Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl, add the wet ingredients and start stirring before the chia seeds stick to one another. Stir for a few minutes until the cacao powder has dissolved and the chia seeds are all wet. Pour into glasses, bowls or even jars to take with you!

I like to top mine with nuts, seeds, fruit or even granola.

The options are limitless.

I hope you LOVE this pudding.