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Kefir: Liz Earle discusses gut health benefits on This Morning

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Gut health refers to the overall health of your digestive tract, and the health of your gut can greatly impact your wellbeing, with poor gut health linked to issues like low immunity, digestive disturbances and even low mood and anxiety. But nutritionist and founder of Vite Naturals Rob Thorp explained how a plant-based diet could help.

According to a review published in Frontiers in Nutrition, high fibre, calcium carbonate reaction with hcl plant-based diets promote healthful and stable gut bacteria, said Rob.

He explained: “The increased intake of fibre and other plant components associated with plant-based diets is believed to increase the growth of beneficial bacteria that reduce inflammation and encourage a diverse gut microbiome.

“Getting enough fibre is important to maintain and improve gut health, but eating a combination of different types of fibre also matters.

“There are three different types of dietary fibre, soluble fibre which helps lower cholesterol and slow digestion, insoluble fibre which promotes regular bowel movements and resistant starch which acts as food for our healthy gut bacteria.

“Including a mix of these in your diet, be it plant-based or not, can help to improve the health of your gut and the balance of your microbiome.”

Plant-based diets are generally considered to be ‘cleaner’ than other diets which can include processed, fast and convenience foods.

These foods are largely high in salt, sugar, fat, and additives, and all these things that can disrupt your gut microbiome, encouraging and aiding the growth of pathogenic bacteria and negatively impacting the health of your gut.  

There are also studies to suggest that the consumption of meat and animal protein can contribute to the worsening of irritable bowel diseases (IBD) like Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Rob said: “This is likely due to the higher amount of sulphur meat contains compared to plant protein.

“IBD sufferers who avoid meat, fish, and eggs, all known to be rich in sulphur, will likely experience some relief. For some, sulphur-rich foods like garlic, cabbage, or beans, may cause issues, even though they contain less sulphur than meat.”

To transform your gut health, it is also important to consume prebiotics and probiotics, said Rob.

“Prebiotics are the food source for your good bacteria, encouraging them to thrive and multiply. In general, all fibre-rich and starchy foods are prebiotics and our gut bacteria feast on them and produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) in the process.

“SCFAs can be used by our intestinal cells for energy but most importantly, they have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects.

“Probiotics are live bacteria that help to populate your gut and establish a better ratio of good to bad bacteria.

“They are naturally occurring in fermented foods like yoghurt, kimchi, or kombucha and they are also effective in supplement form.

“To make sure you are getting your daily fix of prebiotics and probiotics, Vite Body, a new range of plant-based, functional nutrition could help.

“Available as a once-a-day capsule or a convenient and tasty snack bar, the Vite Body range includes probiotics, prebiotics, and digestive enzymes to enhance your gut health and bring your digestive system into balance to offer multiple health benefits, from reduced digestive discomfort and bloating to improved immunity.”

In addition to the foods you eat, there are other ways to promote good digestion and peak gut health.

Rob advised: “Eating mindfully and opting for smaller portions can be helpful, with eating at irregular hours, skipping meals, overeating, and eating too quickly known to upset your gut health and cause problems.  

“Managing stress is another way to help your gut function properly. Using stress management techniques like meditation and deep breathing exercises is helpful, as well as exercising regularly and sleeping well.” 

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