Good Food for Good Friday!
As we approach the end of Lent, having hopefully given ourselves a period of rest from the over-indulgence that can sometimes be seen as the norm, I wonder what foods we could consider getting our fill of this Easter, instead of too much chocolate??
Phrases such as gut-wrenching, showing guts and having butterflies in the stomach, may all be every day statements used to describe our emotions. The reality, however, is not just a string of linguistic expressions that have inexplicably evolved over time, but a scientific proven fact that our brains and our guts really are connected!
The study of the microbiome (the collective name for the trillions of microbes that live in our gut) has made huge advances in the past decade. We’re finding that these microbes are not just vital to our digestive system, but that they affect all aspects of our physiology from brain function to the stress response.
Conditions ranging from Parkinson’s disease to autism, multiple sclerosis to obesity, have all been shown to have links to changes in microbiome levels. Our gut is an excellent gauge or barometer to everything else that is going on in the body. Certainly, the vagus nerve, which sends signals from all our organs to the brain, plays a huge part here.
It has also been shown that aerobic exercise has a positive effect on the gut microbe levels, while stress and sleep disturbance have a negative effect. Having a pet increases microbial diversity, believe it or not, so animal lovers, well done!
So, avoid/limit processed food, emulsifiers, the sugars & sweeteners and take more of the following:
Prebiotics – foods high in soluble fibre, such as leeks, onions, garlic, asparagus and bananas.
Omega-3 – essential fatty acids found in nuts, seeds and their oils, and blue-green algae.
Polyphenols – contained in olive oil, berries, nuts, seeds, coffee, dark chocolate and red wine.
Fermented food – such as pickles, natural yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi and kefir (fermented tea).
Remember, everything in moderation and here’s to a very Happy Easter!!