The foods we eat are also consumed by the trillions of microbes living in our gut. For them to thrive, we need to give them the right nutrients. We can keep a check on our mental health, blood sugar, digestion and immunity with certain ingredients. A gut-friendly meal plan includes high fiber foods, fermented foods, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. All these can make our gut smile and when our gut is happy, the rest of our system can be too!
Here are some simple recipes to improve gut health:
1. Superfood Smoothie
This smoothie has ingredients like spinach and cherries, which have anti-inflammatory properties. The avocado, nut butter and chia seeds also provide healthy fats and antioxidants. Kefir is a superb probiotic drink that naturally boosts gut health. The best part is that it takes only five minutes to make!
- 1 cup cherries
- ½ cup spinach
- ½ cup avocado, mashed
- 1 cup kefir, low fat
- 1 tbsp almond butter
- 1 ½ inch ginger, cut
- 1 tsp chia seeds
- Add all the ingredients to a blender.
- Blend together till smooth.
- Garnish with mint, ice and additional chia seeds.
Wasn't that easy? Your smoothie can be taken with you throughout your day, for a quick boost of energy!
2. Miso Soup
Miso is also known as soybean paste and it is full of probiotics. This soup is great for digestion as it has plenty of healthy vegetables that provide all the nutrients your microflora love! It is a great vegan option too.
- 2 tbsp miso
- 2 tbsp white rice
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- 340 g extra-firm silken tofu, cubed
- 2 scallions, sliced
- 2 cups mixed vegetables
- 1 tsp sugar (as you prefer)
- 2 cups + 3 tbsp water
- Boil the rice in 2 cups of water in a pot. Once it comes to a boil, turn down the flame to simmer. Cook for 12-15 min.
- Add the vegetables to the pot and turn up the heat to high flame. Stir the pot and allow it to cook for about 3 min. Mix in the tofu and let it cook for 2 min. Turn off the flame.
- In a separate bowl, combine the miso with 3 tbsp water till it dissolves. Add this and the remaining ingredients to the pot and thoroughly mix them.
Your comforting soup is ready to go! You can even share this with a friend as it serves.
3. Broccoli And Blue Cheese Salad
Blue cheese may not be your thing but in combination with the other components in this dish, it can be divine! It also has great anti-inflammatory properties.
- For the salad:
- 400 g broccoli
- 100 g almonds (boiled, peeled and sliced)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Half a lemon
For the dressing:
- 1 clove garlic, sliced
- 100g blue cheese, crumbled
- 30 g yoghurt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Half a lemon (juice and zest required)
- Handful of chives
- In a large pot, boil the broccoli in water with a pinch of salt and allow it to cook for 2 min. Take off the heat and place it into a bowl with olive oil and lemon juice. Let this cool.
- For the dressing, pan-fry the garlic in olive oil for a couple of mins. Add this and the other elements of the dressing into a blender. Season it well and blend till even.
- Plate the broccoli with a generous drizzle of the dressing. Garnish with chopped almonds and serve.
Your nutritious salad is ready!
4. Whole Wheat Pasta
This pasta contains garlic which is a prebiotic food that supports digestion and feeds good bacteria. It also has great anti-fungal properties that keep the gut in tip-top shape.
- 1 cup whole wheat penne pasta
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup basil, chopped
- 1 cup mini mozzarella balls
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 tbsp virgin olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 medium squash, cut into ¼ inch
- ¾ tsp salt
- Boil the pasta in a pot of water until cooked. Strain it but keep ¼ cup of the pasta water.
- In a non-stick pan, heat the oil on medium flame and cook the garlic till golden brown. To this, put in the tomatoes and squash. Season with salt and stir for 5 mins until the tomatoes burst and the squash gets tender. Mash the garlic and switch off the heat.
- To the cooked mixture, mix in the pasta with the water, mozzarella and basil. Sprinkle the parmesan on top and serve!
This is the perfect meal for a group of four so call your loved ones over for a special treat.
5. Oatmeal Cups
Oats, banana and nuts – it's a classic combo, isn't it? And it's the one your gut will love. They are packed with fiber and antioxidants for smooth digestion and immunity.
- ¾ cup banana, ripe
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 2 large eggs, whisked
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- 1 ½ cup milk, low-fat
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp pecans, toasted and chopped
- ½ tsp salt
- Preheat the oven to 375 ◦F and coat the tin with oil or butter paper.
- Take a large bowl and combine all the components except the pecans. Fold them in at the end.
- Divide this mixture into equal-sized muffin cups. Bake for about 25 min. Allow it to cool for 10 min when it is done and serve warm or with ice cream.
This is a filling snack to satisfy your sweet tooth and your gut too!
A wide range of chronic ailments can be avoided if we take care of our diets and include the foods that promote gut health. In this way, inflammation can be drastically reduced and we can heal our entire body.