November 2

Cravings and Gut health

Did you know that the health of your gut can affect your food cravings?

Our large intestines does far more than just push waste matter along it is actually a neuron-rich area that feeds back information to our brain via the enteric nervous system, and some of this information comes via the gut bacteria.

There are two types of bacteria
 friendly and unfriendly. It is the friendly variety that plays a vital role 
in keeping our body healthy and these are mainly made up of Lactobacilli and Bifidobacterium. The proliferation of the different bacteria in the gut is linked to the food we eat and we can either we feeding the good bacteria or the bad bacteria.

When we change how we are eating, particularly to nourish the good bacteria then the bad bacteria start to complain, sending signals to the brain that sugar is 'needed' for example.

So how can we support our body, brain and large intestine to push through the craving phase?

- Include more prebiotic foods which will bolster the growth of friendly bacteria. These include asparagus, bananas, berries, broccoli, chia seeds, chicory root, dandelion leaves, flax seeds, garlic, Jerusalem artichoke, kale, leeks, legumes, oats, wholegrains

- Include some cultured foods such as:

  • Plain unflavoured yogurt, this is the most readily available cultured food but generally it has limited strains of probiotics in it.
  • Kefir, this can be milk or water based and once you get your ‘grains’ multiplying you can carry on fermenting forever. The milk version is like yogurt plus plus plus! You can buy starter grains online or in whole food shops.
  • Sauerkraut, this is probably the cheapest and easiest of cultured foods to make and the hands-on part is very satisfying. You can use the same method with grated root vegetables and mix in with the shredded cabbage.
  • Miso, this is fermented soya bean paste that can be added to food to give flavor, personally I love the sweet white miso, it is mild and rich at the same time.
  • Tempeh, this is a femented soya bean ‘cake’ made from the whole bean and using a natural fermentation method, this can be cut into chunks, a bit like tofu, and added to stir-frys
  • Kimchi, this is fermented vegetables Korean style, ingredients vary depending on the region and season, generally very spicy!
  • Kombucha, this is a fermented tea.

Finally always make nutrients rather than calories your focus as these foods will nourish the good bacteria.

Happy gut nourishing!


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