A Happy Gut is a Healthy Life

July 29, 2017

Keep your gut happy! With the amount of Cancer and disease in the world these days it is not only important, but necessary for survival, that we take care of our health. Everything we put into our body has some effect on our health whether it be a positive effect or a negative one. Over the past 2 decades it has become more apparent that we should be focusing on our gut health.

An unhealthy gut contributes to a number of diseases such as diabetes, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, autism spectrum disorder, depression and chronic fatigue. It can also be the reason behind ‘leaky gut’ syndrome which has been linked to chronic inflammation, a major starting point for many diseases. Our gut is a breading ground for disease so it is important to keep our gut flora nourished and strong so it can protect our gut and fight against these diseases.

A Happy Gut is a Healthy Life

The question is ‘how do we look after our gut then?’ Probiotics! Probiotics are the good bacteria in your digestive system that controls growth of harmful bacteria (like the type that promote disease). They naturally exist in cultured and fermented foods such as yoghurt, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh and kombucha. Probiotics help with uncomfortable symptoms such as bloating and gas. They are also helpful in restoring good bacteria after a course of antibiotics.

It is also important to keep up our intake of prebiotics (not to be confused with probiotics). Prebiotics are what feeds the probiotics in our digestive tract. They are a ‘non living’ ingredient in foods that reach the large intestine unaffected by digestion. They then feed our good bacteria so it can carry on supporting our digestive system.

Top prebiotic foods for gut health

  • Oats
  • Legumes
  • Aspargus
  • Garlic, onions and leeks.

Kitchari Recipe – an Ayurvedic dish for promoting a healthy gut.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup split yellow mung beans
  • ½ cup white basmati rice
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 inch stick of kombu
  • 4 cups homemade vegetable stock (or water)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut cream

Spices

  • 1½ teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1½ teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1½ teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1 tablespoon ginger root, freshly minced
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • Pinch of asafoetida

Vegetables

  • 2 cups of any mixed vegetables (stick to 3 types for easier digestion)

To serve

  • Fresh lime
  • Fresh coriander
  • Coconut yoghurt
  • Sea salt, to taste

Instructions

  • Soak mung beans in filtered water 24 hours earlier.
  • When you’re ready to cook, drain the mung beans and rinse under running water. Place rice in a sieve and rinse till the water runs clear. Peel and cut vegetables into 1 inch pieces.
  • In a heavy bottom pan, heat coconut oil over medium heat. Add cumin, fennel, fenugreek and black mustard seeds and cook for a few minutes to release aromatics, and until the mustard seeds have popped. Add the rest of the spices and stir to combine.
  • Add a cup of vegetable stock, followed by mung beans, kombu, coconut cream, rice and vegetables, then add the rest of the stock (or water).
  • Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce to a low heat. Simmer for about 40 minutes. Check every 10 minutes to ensure rice is not sticking to bottom. Add more water if needed.
  • Serve with fresh coriander chopped and folded through, a drizzle of fresh lime juice, spoon of coconut yoghurt and sea salt to taste.

Remember, a happy gut is a healthy life!

About the Author

Alena Hand

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