It’s a new year and it’s time for New Year Resolutions! Before you plan on the new fad diet that’s doing the rounds with your friends and family to shed those holiday kilos, making a commitment to the gut rather than the belly is what today’s nutria-sciences are asking people to follow.
How is the ‘gut’ different from the ‘belly’ you ask? Gut health is defined by the number of beneficial bacteria or microflora which you can harbour in your gut (which extends from your stomach to large intestine), so gut health is the strength of the inner lining of your Gut!
One of the most important factor which determines this is the ‘Quality of Food’ which we eat. A recent researched published data indicates that a diet high in fat and low in fibre can change your gut flora in 24 hours!
What this means for the food you consume is that an overemphasis on animal proteins, high fat cuts, refined carbohydrates like maida and maida-based products and poor-quality fat like saturated fats and trans fats can tilt the balance to harmful microflora in a very short time.
What does this harmful microflora do? It creates an inflammatory environment in the body. In other words, it weakens immunity, favours abnormal hormonal changes pushing us to prediabetes, favours formation of bad cholesterol and clot forming substances, thereby increasing risk of heart disease.
So, that’s your new year’s resolution should be to protect and build our Gut Microbial Flora.
Here are some simple steps you can follow:
- Be wise when you fill your plate – Half of your plate should be veggies (lightly cooked or raw or steamed)
- Get a lot of plant proteins in your daily diet – Pulses, dals, peas, beans, nuts, and oilseeds
- Get good quality fat – High Omega 3 and MUFA (monounsaturated fat). Select from black chana, chawli or lobia, urad dal, rajma, soyabean, walnuts, almonds, tilseeds, melon seeds, chia seeds, methi seeds, green leafy vegetables, bajra flour — all these foods give you good quality fats.
- Use limited quantity of Omega 3 and MUFA rich oil (3 teaspoon per person per day). Choose from rice bran, olive, soyabean or use a blended oil.
- Say NO to refined flour and saturated fats, trans fats – Foods like khari, ghutli, pav, rumali roti, doughnuts, pastries, cakes, biscuits are all based on refined flour and saturated fats. Instead use whole grains-based products with good quality fats.
- Use prebiotic foods like raw banana, whole chana, bajra flour, which are rich in resistant starch which is a prebiotic (specialized plant fibre that beneficially nourishes the good bacteria already in the large bowel or colon). Enhance the prebiotic effect by steaming and cooling or roasting with fat.
- Get a Probiotic source – beneficial live microorganism of specific species (Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli) in your daily diet.
- Avoid indiscriminate use of antibiotics and self-medication!
- Get exercise of a minimum of half an hour to one hour every day and count your steps – with a minimum of 10,000 steps per day.
Here’s wishing all of you a happy and healthy 2018!
Picture: Josee Holland