Are you struggling with weight loss? Do you feel like you are eating the right foods, but the weight isn’t coming off? It could be because of your gut health.
Your gut microbiota is the complex community of microorganisms that live in your digestive tract and affect the gut environment. Creating and building a healthy microbiota is of utmost importance to optimal health and you should take it very seriously. Like a job. Because let me just tell you, gut health is where it’s at.
It makes sense that having a healthy gut is key to avoiding or improving conditions like irritable bowel syndrome and colon cancer, but research has shown that having a healthy gut can literally affect your ENTIRE body. Good gut bacteria can help you have a healthy heart, decrease overall inflammation in your body, improve the functioning of your immune system and it may be the key to helping you lose weight. So it is very important to take care of your tummy daily.
One way to do this is to add probiotic and prebiotic foods to your diet.
Probiotics, as you’ve most likely heard of unless you live in a cave, are the good bacteria or live cultures that live in your stomach. These helpful bacteria change and repopulate intestinal gut flora. Examples of probiotic foods are fermented foods like yogurt, soy sauce, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, kimchi, apple cider vinegar, and aged cheese like parmesan.
Prebiotics are natural, non-digestible food components or fibers that promote the growth of helpful bacteria in your stomach. Think of them like food for the probiotics.
Examples of prebiotics are garlic, leeks, asparagus, artichoke, bananas, onion, cabbage, beans, legumes and bran. These are also important components of a healthy gut.
Besides eating probiotic and prebiotic foods, there are ways to enhance your gut microbiota and ways to harm it.
If you want to really screw up your gut bacteria and your health, eat crappy food with lots of preservatives, sugar and artificial sweeteners, take lots of meds, eat animal meat pumped up with antibiotics and get really stressed out.
If you want to develop a healthy gut, eat less sugar and lots of plant-based foods and greens, eat probiotic and prebiotic foods, take less medications, manage your stress and exercise.
Let me help you get started improving your gut flora by giving you two fantastic recipes to incorporate into your weekly meals; one contains a probiotic and one contains a prebiotic.
- Marvelous Miso Vinaigrette: Miso is made from fermented soybeans (probiotic). I keep miso in my refrigerator for the rare times I may need it to make an Asian marinade. But after attending a symposium on the importance of gut health and hearing them suggest using miso as a seasoning for vegetables, I decided to create a miso salad dressing that I could use on our nightly salads. It was really good! I highly suggest you give it a try!
Marvelous Miso Vinaigrette
This salad dressing tastes great and contains miso which will improve your gut health!
- 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon organic white miso
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Whisk all ingredients together to create a delicious salad dressing that will work on any type of salad!
Makes enough dressing for 1 large salad.
2. Roasted Cabbage: How do you feel about cabbage (prebiotic)? I’m sure you have eaten it raw in a coleslaw of some kind, but have you ever tried Roasted Cabbage? You will be pleasantly surprised at its delicious, caramel-y flavor! Simple to make and very inexpensive. Try it as a side dish tonight and the next night and the next night and the next night…..
Healthy, inexpensive, simple and fantastic! What could be better?
- 1 head red or white cabbage
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Wash cabbage. Cut into large chunks and discard core.
Slice chunks into large slices.
Place on rimmed cookie sheet. Toss with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Roast in oven for about 30-45 minutes, stirring often, until cabbage is browned and soft.