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Every highly aware person has known it for a long time: we are what we eat.
Every time we design our meals we programme our mood and health. After all, the intestine is our second brain and its population —called microbiota— has a very strong influence on many processes associated with our health and emotional disposition.
A healthy metabolism, the maximum absorption of nutrients, vitamins and microelements together with the effective elimination of waste, building immunity and protection from inflammatory processes... Everything is controlled by microbiota, a large and friendly family of microorganisms that live in our intestines. How can we make sure that the state of our microbiota is normal? I suggest starting by getting acquainted with its main assistants, pro and prebiotics. Probiotics are useful bacteria that work hard to benefit of your body, while prebiotics (indigestible fibers) simply serve as food for probiotics.
In this post I will talk about ten foods that nourish microbiota and neutralize the negative effects of stress in our modern lifestyles and the unhealthy environment in large cities. Your brain, skin, and other organs will thank you if you include in your menu the following simple foods:
Sauerkraut provides the body with a large number of useful bacteria. The high fibre content in cabbage reduces bloating and enables the digestive system to work faultlessly. Look for fresh sauerkraut, not canned.
Asparagus works as a prebiotic. It contains a high amount of inulin, an indigestible fibre which nourishes healthy bifidobacteria and lactobacilli (components of our microbiota). Asparagus is rich in B vitamins and antioxidants that actively fight inflammation. Eat it raw or slightly stewed to maintain most of its benefits. Enjoy its taste and make your microflora happy.
Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain, which acts as a digestive aid. It helps to break down protein from large food molecules into smaller peptides. Studies have shown that bromelain can conquer inflammation and relieve pain. Add pineapple to your salads and smoothies. Serve it as a dessert. Enjoy this delicious fruit and remember that pineapple will always work for the benefit of your digestion.
Raw onions are an excellent source of prebiotics and contain quercetin, a strong antioxidant. Quercetin fights harmful free radicals in our cells. Onions also contain chromium, which increases the production of insulin and vitamin C necessary for the immune system. Add onions to salads, dressings and sauces, or slice them up and put them in your favorite snacks.
Raw garlic is another great prebiotic with a high level of inulin, which nourishes the good bacteria in the intestine. Garlic is incredibly rich in nutrients. This spice will provide you with manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, selenium, allicin and many other active substances. Allicin, for example, is a powerful aid in fighting diseases. It is activated when a garlic clove is being chopped. Do not forget to add raw garlic to guacamole, hummus, sauces, and dressings.
6. Bone broth
Rich beef bone broth helps to heal the intestinal mucosa, which in turn supports the immune system and fights inflammation. Bone broth contains many minerals and healing compounds, such as gelatin, collagen and amino acids, proline, glutamine and arginine.
7. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar helps to break down and digest food by increasing the production of stomach acid. It also has antiviral and antimicrobial properties. In addition, it fights unwanted microflora in the intestines and helps the body to get rid of excess yeast. These important qualities are a great support for a healthy microbiome and immune system. Try adding apple cider vinegar to salad dressings or vegetables before stewing.
The fermentation process used for Korean kimchi not only enhances the flavour of cabbage, but it also produces live and active probiotic cultures that strengthen intestinal walls. These salads and side dishes contain large amounts of fibre and serve as powerful antioxidants. They eliminate toxins from the body naturally. Rice, vegetables and kimchi are a great healthy and hearty lunch.
Ginger helps to calm and relax the stomach, relieve nausea and fight intestinal diseases. It provides a natural source of vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, copper and manganese. Ginger prevents and eliminates bloating. Add shredded ginger to tea and smoothies to give them an extra exotic flavour.
10. Dandelion greens
Dandelion greens are pure detox! They are rich in nutrients, fibre, antioxidants and prebiotics that help us to stay strong and healthy. The calcium, iron and vitamins A and K in the leaves have anti-inflammatory and cleansing properties.
Start incorporating some of these foods into your daily diet, and remember: a healthy body and a sharp mind start with a strong intestine!
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