Justine Friedman from the Belong Diet, Nutrition & Cancer group shares some ideas for gut friendly foods that will boost mood and help you to feel more positive. (These will also decrease inflammation in the body which lowers levels of pain that so many people live with daily)
- Include 3-5 servings of both fruits and vegetables a day (try and include a variety of colors of vegetables to get a maximum intake of nutrients)
- Include 6-8 glasses of water a day (preferably not sparkling/ soda)
- Keep caffeinated beverages to a maximum of 3 cups a day and reduce or remove added sugars from them. Use lower fat milk if adding.
- Include complex carbohydrates in the form of oats, quinoa, sweet potato, regular potato, high fiber grains, legumes, rye (including sourdough) or seeded breads (low GI options if available). If you have a gluten sensitivity (celiac disease or autoimmune condition that is better on low gluten then choose gluten free options), whole-wheat pastas, wild and brown rice.
- Choose healthy fats in moderation e.g., olive oil, olives, walnuts, almonds, chia seeds, flaxseeds, avocado, unsweetened nut butters (other nuts and seeds may be included and ensure that they are raw or dry roasted)
- Eat less saturated fats like butter, fat on meat, skin on the chicken, cream, full fat dairy products. Choose to grill and bake foods over frying (unless using an air fryer).
- Eat fish 3x /week, Chicken and turkey (preferably the white part) 3-4x/week and red meat 2 x /week. When choosing red meat aim for the leanest cuts and remove all visible fat before cooking. Lamb is a higher fat choice as are ribs.
- Eggs are a good source of omega 3 fatty acids but are also high in cholesterol. Follow the guidance for your specific needs based on either 4-8 eggs a week.
- When choosing dairy products aim for a low-fat percentage on milk, choose plain yoghurt options to reduce the added sugar that comes with sweetened and fruity options. Hard cheeses have on average 33% fat so prefer lower fat mozzarella options and cottage cheese.
- Keep alcohol intake to 3-4 units a week and prefer spirits or wine. Mixers, ales, and beer are higher in sugars and will affect gut health.
- Natural foods that have probiotics in them are yoghurt, kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut and miso.
These recommendations are very general and should not be applied if you have specific dietary requirements or conditions that require a different approach. For this you should seek the assistance of a registered dietician nutritionist.