By Shannon Eustace
Mention gut health and we all think about our stomachs. But what happens to our digestive tract, and how do the foods we eat affect our gastrointestinal system?
Having a healthy stomach does more for our bodies than you can imagine. It promotes clearer skin, improved sleep, helps maintain weight and protects our immunity, too.
So, how do we ensure our gut stays healthy? A balanced microbiome and varied diet is key.
Our microbiome is found in our stomachs and contains trillions of microorganisms. Victorial Bell DipCNM, a Registered Nutritional Therapist, tells us that our microbiome needs a variety of bacteria to stay balanced and prevent any one bacteria from taking over.
A limited microbiome will cause imbalances in your system. This causes nasty problems to occur, like bloating, arthritis, constipation and even Alzheimer’s.
“The best way to encourage a really varied microbiome, is to have a varied diet” says Victoria. “The things that are going to feed these bacteria best are plant-based foods.”
Luckily, RAISE Snacks are packed with plant-based foods, including a careful selection of nuts and seeds, oats and chicory root fibre.
Let’s look at how these ingredients can contribute to improved health.
1. Oat Flakes
Oats are great, containing both soluble and insoluble fibres. The soluble fibres dissolve into a gel-like substance that lines our GI tract, while the insoluble fibres pass through our stomachs and help bulk up our poo.
Oat fibre aids the healthy probiotic bacteria found in our microbiome, too. It slows down digestion, leaving us feeling fuller for longer. By curbing your appetite, it’s a great way to help control your weight!
Victoria tells us that oats also contain beta-glucans. These help keep our immune system balanced by telling our immune cells what jobs to do in our bodies.
2. Chicory Root Fibre
A natural sweetener, chicory root fibre is composed mainly of inulin. This helps feed the beneficial bacteria in our stomach, leading to improved digestion and increased mineral absorption.
3. Puffed Rice
A great fibre that helps relieve constipation, bloating and smelly gas.
Puffed rice amazingly contains a range of antioxidants that help our immune system to fight harmful microbes, and encourages bone cell growth and regeneration.
Almonds, cashews and pecans are all a rich source of healthy fats which are really important for our brain, nerves and hormonal health.
Healthy fats ensure our bodies absorb different nutrients and fat-soluble Vitamins A, D, E and K.
Almond and pecans are particularly good for helping reduce symptoms of inflammatory illness, and balancing our gut’s pH levels.
Sunflower and pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of fibre and essential B vitamins, which help our bodies to process carbohydrates and protein in our diet.
Victoria explains that nuts and seeds contain phytoestrogens. These help to balance out the amount of estrogen that both women and men make. It’s particularly important for women to have a broad variety of these foods, to help support hormone balance, painful periods and even menopause!
Sunflower seeds contain inulin and have been seen to lower inflammation in the body. Remarkably, pumpkin seeds can lead to reduced effects of Type 2 Diabetes.
It’s undeniable that all these ingredients have a great effect on our gut health, contributing to a balanced microbiome and varied diet.
Victoria Bell leaves us with a final thought. “Plant-based food is going to help your gut health. If you have 6 or so in Raise, you’re well on your way!”