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Monday, June 5, 2017

Recipes to Promote Gut Health

Gut flora is the name of the millions of bacteria that are housed in the stomach and intestines. These milions of bacteria are composed of thousands of species.  Many aspects of our overall health are influenced by the health of our gut. Of particular importance to athletes are nutrient absorption, weight management and inflammation. Having a stong immune system can keep you from being sick, and help you fight inflammation and recovery better from exercise, injury or illness. Being able to maximize absorption of nutrients from the food we eat ensures we get the vitamins and minerals needed. Our nutrition is one influencer of our gut flora or microbiome. Proper nutrition can have a positive influence and ensure there are numerous species and healthy bacteria in the gut.

Probiotics

Probiotics are “good” bacteria. They help to maintain the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut. Fermented foods such as kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, kombucha, miso and tempeh are rich in probiotics. If you are looking at taking a probiotic, be aware that there are many strains of probiotics, with each influencing a different part of our health.

Prebiotics

Prebiotics are a type of indigestible fibre that acts of food for probiotics and will help to feed the beneficial bacteria already in your gut. Some examples of foods rich in prebiotics include asparagus, onions, mushrooms, garlic and artichoke.

Steps you can take to keep your gut happy and healthy:
  • Limit use of artificial sweeteners
  • Consume fermented foods (see above for examples)
  • Eat a variety of whole foods
  • Limit intake of highly processed foods and comsume a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes as these contain fibre and promote the growth of healthy bacteria


Kefir is fermented milk, containing 1 billion bacterial cultures per 1 cup. With a consistency between milk and yogurt and a slightly sour taste, many enjoy kefir mixed with something else, such as a smoothie. Try this probiotic rich smoothie to help you refuel and support your gut health:

Mango Kefir Smoothie
Ingredients:
1/2 cup frozen mango
½ banana
1 cup plain Kefir (add more for a thinner consistency)
1 big handful of baby spinach
1 scoop of Infinit Raw

Directions:
Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.


Try this refreshing raw asparagus salad as a side dish.

Shaved Asparagus Salad
Ingredients:
12 asparagus spears
¼ cup + 2-3 tbsp of Parmesan cheese
¼ cup olive oil
1.5 tbsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Take 12 asparagus spears and shave them length wise with a vegetable peeler and place in a bowl.
2. Grate 1/4 cup of fresh Parmesan cheese and add to the bowl. Use the vegetable peeler and shave a few pieces of fresh Parmesan onto asparagus.
3. In a separate bowl, make your vinaigrette of 1/4 cup olive oil and 1.5 tbsp of lemon juice. Add to the asparagus and Parmesan and mix. Add salt and pepper to taste.



Andrea Docherty is a Registered Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist in Windsor, Ontario. For more information and recipes, visit her at www.andreadochertyrd.com







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