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Nurture your Gut

February 11, 2019 February 2019 No Comments

The importance of good gut health for optimal physical and mental health is a popular topic right now, and for good reason! With over a trillion bacteria residing in our gut, research is showing us that this beneficial army within our bodies has many important roles – from enhancing our immune function, to assisting with a healthy body weight and metabolism, right through to playing a crucial role in our mood (including depression and anxiety).

Our gut health has changed in recent times, with less diversity in our gut biome than found in previous generations. If we think about our gut biome as a community with different bacteria having different jobs to do, this decreased diversity is like a community with no teachers, nurses, lawyers, farmers or plumbers to do those important roles. The community wouldn’t function at an ideal level, and so too our gut won’t either if some of the beneficial bacteria are missing or in insignificant numbers to do their various jobs.

Researchers are blaming our modern way of living as playing a role in reducing the diversity of our gut biome. Antibiotics, anti-bacterials, too little green time and too much screen time, processed foods, too little fibre, and too much stress are all factors that affect the health and numbers of our gut biome. Addressing these factors can help bring a positive balance to our gut and allow our body to function optimally.

Nutritionally, ensuring that we eat a huge variety of colourful plant foods will help provide the fuel that our bacteria like to consume – this makes them thrive and do their roles well. Prebiotics is the term used to describe the fuel that our gut bacteria like to consume, and includes foods such as leeks, bananas, oats, barley, Jerusalem artichokes and onions.

 Fermented foods (probiotics) such as sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, tempeh, kombucha and kefir can also assist in nurturing our gut, and although once considered the food domain of hippies, are now in mainstream supermarkets and health food shops.

To learn more about gut health and the deliciously easy, yet practical steps you can make to nurture your gut along with a nutrition masterclass in making Kimchi, come along to Tea Health and Wellbeing’s Nurture your Gut workshop presented by Sarah Percy (Registered Dietitian) and Sarah Donaldson (Clinical Psychologist) at the WBS Room in the Greytown Townhall on Wednesday 27th February at 7:30pm. To purchase your ticket ($20) email enquries@tea-retreats.co.nz

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