Gut Health + Blueberry & Coconut Gut-Loving Gummies
“All disease begins in the gut” - Hippocrates
Our understanding of our gut health and its affect on health and disease is ever-changing as scientists begin to discover and unravel more about this fascinating part of our body. Our gut microbiome (or gut microflora) is the bacterial composition in our gastrointestinal (GI) tract. It makes up about 2kg in weight, tens of trillions of microorganisms, at least 1000 species of bacteria, and over 3 million DNA genes (we have more bacterial DNA in our gut than our own DNA). Two-thirds of our microbiome is unique to each and every individual and is responsible for affecting our entire body and health in various ways. Technically we are more bacterial than we are human. Are you squirming yet??
Our diet plays a key role in the relationship between us and our microbiome. Gut microbes use the nutrients from the food we eat for fundamental biological processes, as well as produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that become available to the gut microbiota. Furthermore, our microbiome aids digestion, regulates metabolism, produces neurotransmitters and vitamins, and plays a major role in immune function (about 70% of our immune system is in our gut). Our microbiome impacts human metabolism as well as health and disease, and more research shows the connection between our gut health and body composition, allergies, mental health, reproductive health, chronic disease, autoimmunity, cancer risk, and inflammation.
Healthy gut bacteria is crucial to maintaining healthy weight and metabolism, strong immune system, preventing diseases and generally makes us feel healthy, energetic and happy.
Several factors of everyday living negatively effects the health of our gut including:
Processed foods, genetically modified foods (GMO), preservatives, additives, hormones, pesticides and herbicides from foods.
Refined sugar and carbohydrates.
Hydrogenated fats and industrial seed oils (margarine, fried foods, vegetable seed oils such as canola, sunflower, rice bran, soybean, vegetable oil etc.)
Low fibre – consider your fibre intake particularly on a low carb diet
Oral contraceptive pill
Antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications and other prescription drugs
Ways we can restore, improve and maintain a healthy gut:
Focus our diet on whole foods and plant-based foods (vegetables, fruit, legumes, hormone-free animal products, nuts, seeds, virgin oils (avocado, extra virgin olive oil etc.), whole grains)
Eliminate processed foods, refined sugar and carbohydrates (think most foods in packets)
Manage stress (exercise, meditation, yoga, read a book, seek professional help)
Eat a variety of fibre rich foods everyday (legumes, whole grains, vegetables, fruit)
Add in probiotic foods – fermented foods, kimchi, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, miso, natural yogurts
Consume prebiotic foods (they feed your good bacteria to help them thrive and crowd out bad bacteria) – whole grains, artichoke, underripe bananas, cooked and cooled potatoes, bone broth, gelatin).
Health benefits of Gelatin
Which brings me to the super nutritious and delicious Gelatin. I love this stuff! You can use it to make Panna Cotta, gummies, puddings or add it into smoothies.
Gelatin is collagen from bones, hide and connective tissues from animals, made up by 18 amino acids. Its great for improving gut health as well as supporting digestion, leaky-gut, adrenals, metabolism, liver detox pathways, skin, hair and nail growth, skin tone/tightness, anti-ageing, cellulite, wound repair, allergies, lowering inflammation and muscle growth. Just be aware of the brand you buy and ensure it is 100% natural from pasture-raised beef (highly important).
Blueberry Coconut Gut-Loving Gummies
This recipe for gut-healing gummies is quick and easy to make with no cooking skills required! Perfect for sweet cravings whilst healing and nourishing the gut.
Makes: 30 mini squares
- 3 + ½ tbls gelatin
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1 tbls stevia
- 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
- 200mL coconut milk (tinned)
- You need to “bloom” the gelatin first. Place cold water in a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over the top of the water, then mix it in. Set aside for 5 minutes. The gelatin will absorb the water and end up like an applesauce consistency.
- In a blender or food processor, blitz the gelatin, coconut milk, blueberries, lemon juice and stevia until liquified.
- Pour into a silicone mould or lined baking tin and refrigerate until set (approx. 2-3 hours).
- Once set, cut into squares. Keep refrigerated until ready to eat.