Did you ever say “I have a gut feeling”? There may be more truth to that statement than you know. There has been a lot of research lately regarding the human microbiome, which is referring to the bacteria that live in the human digestive system.
These bacteria have many functions in the body. They influence health by stimulating our immune system, aiding in metabolism of our foods, transmitting messages to our brain, producing vitamins and storing nutrients. It is for all these reasons that our microbiome is considered like our second brain.
Probiotics are commonly recommended for healthy bacteria in the body, but probiotics only work if they are nourished by food called prebiotics. By increasing prebiotics in your diet you can reset the type of bacteria in your body. A diet that is diverse in different types of fiber will ensure bacteria have enough food. The bacteria in the gut need to eat fiber that can stand going through the entire digestive cycle, which are usually the foods we toss away, for example, the tough stalks on vegetables like broccoli, peels of hard vegetables and tough strings in the middle of celery. However, gut bacteria can also eat fermented foods like kimchi and yogurt, as well as some soluble fiber from the onion family.
Our sterile lifestyle also puts us at a disadvantage. In our country we stay away from germs with hand sanitizer, try to avoid dirt and spend less time enjoying the outside environment. This limits our exposure to bacteria.
It is important to balance gut health and to do so our medical community frequently prescribes antibiotics, which wipe out our good bacteria with the bad bacteria.
If you are not feeling well, examine your microbiome; inflammation can be caused by an imbalance in the flora of gut, which can cause many different medical problems. It might be your body’s way of telling you something is wrong.
The best way to keep your gut healthy is to consume a diet consisting of mostly plant-based foods and consuming a variety of unprocessed whole foods. Try to avoid the foods that feed the bad bacteria such as sugar, processed foods and white starchy foods. And next time, pay more attention to your gut feeling.
Recipe for Kimchi-Miso Glazed Salmon
(Provides both prebiotics and probiotics in same meal)
Fillet of salmon (1 1/2-2 lbs.)
Dash of salt
1 tbsp. sesame seeds
2 tsps. fresh ginger
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. maple syrup or honey
Juice of 1 lime
2 tsps. white miso
2 tbsps. finely chopped kimchi
2 tbsp. butter
3 bunches baby bok choy
2 scallions, sliced
1. Sprinkle salmon with salt and place in a Ziploc bag.
2. Combine sesame seeds, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, lime juice, maple syrup and soy sauce.
3. Pour over salmon in the Ziploc bag and leave to marinate at room temperature for ½ hour.
4. Preheat broiler.
5. Boil baby bok choy with dash of salt and pepper to taste.
6. Combine kimchi, miso and butter.
7. Place salmon on a baking sheet covered with parchment.
8. Broil for approximately 10 minutes until salmon is finished.
9. Serve over steamed bok choy and top with sliced scallions. Enjoy!
By Jamie Feit