2 things to add to your diet right now
My goal with the functional nutrition coaching is always to make sure that my client find and follow the most suitable and optimal for them way of eating. And there are a couple of things that often get forgotten on this journey.
1. Fermented foods - our bodies are just hosts for single cell organisms (human cells are outnumbered 10 to 1!) to live on and in our bodies - skin, gi track, mouth etc. Let's focus on our gut bacteria since is responsible for so many functions in the body: regulating immune system, making our brain actually work, weight control, mood regulation etc. - needless to day they are crucial for our overall health.
We have good and bad guys living in us and we definitely want to support the beneficial bacteria through food so that the bad guys don't overpopulate and cause issues like dysbiosis, SIBO etc. The good guys love plant based, diverse, wholesome, nutrient dense things like fermented foods that are preserved using an age-old process. These foods enhance the diversity of gut microbes and decreases molecular signs of inflammation.
Try these fermented foods:
Naturally fermented sauerkraut
Pickled vegetables (including organic pickles in salt not vinegar)
Kimchi (the Korean version of fermented vegetables or fruit)
Kefir (fermented milk—unsweetened only)
Unpasteurized apple cider vinegar
Coconut yogurt (unsweetened)
Tempeh (fermented tofu cake, chose gluten free)
Plain Yogurt (no sugar)
Dry Curd Cottage Cheese or Farmer’s Cheese, or fermented cottage cheese
Certain aged cheeses (check label for live and active cultures)
Pickles (in salt, not vinegar)
Kombucha (no sugar), other probiotic drinks (no sugar), like beet Kvass - my fav!
* If you suspect candida or yeast overgrowth, first test (i can help you with that 😉) and back off the fermented foods while healing.
*When cooking with fermented foods, add them as a topping or mix them in at the end to avoid killing the beneficial probiotics with high heat.
2. Fiber rich foods - Dietary fiber or roughage is the portion of plant-derived food that cannot be completely broken down by human digestive enzymes. Instead it is acted upon by gut microbes, and metabolites like short-chain fatty acids are produced. Some studies have shown improved insulin sensitivity, weight regulation, and reduced inflammation with increases in gut-derived short-chain fatty acids, all of which may reduce the risk of developing metabolic diseases.
American adults are only eating an average of 15 grams of fiber on any given day, despite the daily recommendations from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics being:
25 grams for women, or 21 grams if over 50 years old
38 grams for men, or 30 grams if over 50
* Typical hunter-gatherers probably consumed 130 to 150 grams of fiber a day - and while for a modern person it might be too much of a good thing, use the numbers above as a starting point.
Fiber is commonly classified as soluble, which dissolves in water, or insoluble, which doesn't dissolve.
Soluble fiber. This type of fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like material. It can help lower blood cholesterol and slows down the digestion which can help prevent big surges of glucose from entering the bloodstream at once and the resulting blood sugar spikes. Soluble fiber is found in oats, figs, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley and psyllium.
Insoluble fiber. This type of fiber promotes the movement of material through your digestive system and increases stool bulk, so it can be of benefit to those who struggle with constipation or irregular stools. Wheat bran, nuts, beans and vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, green beans and sweet potatoes, brown rice, chia seeds are good sources of insoluble fiber.
The amount of soluble and insoluble fiber varies in different plant foods and even season - that's why is smart to eat a wide variety and seasonal high-fiber foods.
Fiber rich foods feed our gut bacteria, making them increase in number and diversity which in turn lower the inflammation, contribute to colon, immune and metabolic health and aid in digestion - a win-win situation!
Fiber rich foods:
Legumes (beans, chickpeas, lentils, soybeans)
Nuts such as cashews and pistachios
Onions, leeks, shallots, scallions
*For both fermented and fiber rich foods start and go slow building up over a period of time, letting your body and bugs to adjust.