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Going with your Gut for Gut Health Month
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In the quest for well-being, we often overlook our gut. The gut is the collective name for the stomach, small intestine, large intestine and is home to trillions of bacteria, collectively known as the gut microbiota. Sounds super sciency, we know, but hang in there; this microscopic ecosystem plays a pivotal role in our overall health, and by incorporating plant-based foods, or "plant points," into our diet can promote a flourishing gut microbiota. Basically, the microbiota are the Whoville to our Grinch.
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What even is Gut Health?

The gut microbiota is a complex community of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microorganisms that call our digestive system home. While some bacteria are harmful, the majority of them are pretty great and help maintain our health. A balanced and diverse gut microbiota is crucial for many reasons:

Enhanced Digestion: The gut microbiota breaks down complex carbohydrates, fiber, and other indigestible substances, making them easier for our bodies to absorb.
Supersystem: A healthy gut microbiota supports our immune system by fighting off diseases and promoting the production of immune cells.
Happy Gut, Happy You: The gut-brain axis, a communication network between the gut and the brain, highlights the connection between gut health and mental health. A flourishing gut microbiota is believed to positively impact mood, cognition, and emotional well-being.
Balance is Key: An imbalanced gut microbiota can lead to chronic inflammation, increasing the risk of various diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular conditions.
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What are Plant Points?

Turns out 'Eat your veggies' was great advice all along, a diet rich in plant-based foods has the best variety of nutrients and dietary fibres that nourish and support a thriving gut microbiota. Each type of bacteria (known as a strain) performs a different job, and each strain likes a different kind of plant food. 30 is the magic number when it comes to plant points, but if that sounds overwhelming, heres some plant point accelerators to ease your way into it:

Fiber-Rich Foods: Fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains contain prebiotic fibres that act as fuel for gut bacteria, promoting their growth and diversity.
The 4 Ks : Introduce fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, and kefir to your meals. These are rich in live bacteria called probiotics that improve digestion and strengthen the immune system.
Eat the Rainbow: The vibrant colours in fruits and vegetables are a sign of the presence of antioxidants, which protect our cells from damage caused by harmful molecules known as free radicals.
Healthy Fats: This is your sign to stop feeling that twinge of guilt when you eat good fats. Avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil are all healthy. These fats support the integrity of the gut lining, helping to prevent inflammation and maintain a healthy gut barrier.
Slow it down: Practising mindful eating, such as chewing food thoroughly and eating slowly, allows for better digestion and nutrient absorption. It also helps to establish a positive relationship with food, reducing stress and promoting a healthy gut environment.
Nurturing your gut health is essential for overall well-being. A healthy gut microbiota plays a vital role in digestion, immune function, mental health, and reducing inflammation. By incorporating plant points into your diet, such as fibre-rich foods, fermented foods, colourful antioxidants, and healthy fats, you can support the growth and diversity of your gut microbiota. This Gut Health Month is all about giving it your all, embarking on a journey towards a healthier and happier gut. Remember, your gut deserves the best!

Rack up the plant points with our top tier recipes.

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