Gut flora expert: are you getting enough nutrients?

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Gut flora expert: are you getting enough nutrients
Gut flora expert Paulien  is sure: most of us do not get enough nutrients. “We eat things that fill, but don’t nourish .” That’s why she has tips full of vegetable power that are good for your intestinal flora – and therefore for you.

Eat 35 types of plant-based foods per week. Then there is a good chance that you are getting enough variety of nutrients.

Prebiotics for your intestinal flora

Due to our western diet, most of us do not get enough nutrients. Too few vitamins, minerals and trace elements. Not the right ratio of fats. Too little prebiotic food – that is the food for your intestinal floramicrobiome ). It probably won’t surprise you to find prebiotics in fruits and vegetables. Your intestinal flora is the foundation of your health. It is therefore quite important to take good care of that flora.

Filling vs. feeding

It’s not that hard to get enough filling. What turns out to be much more difficult: taking in sufficient nutrition . How do we get that done? By eating things that fill us, that fill our stomach. And we call those things ‘food’. Food that contains too few nutrients for your body to function properly, such as sweets, cookies and fast food.

If a child eats too many sweets, he or she no longer likes dinner. And if a child drinks too many juices, he no longer has any appetite. How does that work? Children can still feel good. They are just full because of all that stuffing. So there is no more room for food. And that’s how it works with adults too! Full is full. In the United States, you see obese people who are malnourished. If you understand that too much filling can lead to malnutrition, this phenomenon is not as strange as it may sound at first.

Gut flora expert: are you getting enough nutrients

Too little variety on your plate

In addition to overfilling and underfeeding, there are other causes of malnutrition, also known as malnutrition . You can get deficiencies because you simply do not get enough of a certain substance. Magnesium is a well-known example of this. Due to the one-sided way of agriculture that has been applied in our country for years, shortages are created in the soil. As a result, our crops contain much less of certain minerals such as magnesium.

But the lack of variety in our plant-based diet is also a cause. Take a look at the fruit and vegetables department in an average supermarket. There are always the same products, all year round. Crazy, huh? The supermarket has no seasonal vegetables.

The frozen section is also a good indicator. I recently counted in a large supermarket. There were about forty freezer compartments for all processed food: from pizzas to meals and fried products. One compartment was filled with unprocessed vegetables… A sad situation that will not help you to introduce enough variety in your plant-based diet.

Every week: 35 types of plant-based foods

Fortunately, a few simple guidelines can get you started. A simple guideline is: eat 35 types of plant-based foods per week. Then there is a good chance that you are getting enough variety of nutrients. Simple basic rule, great result.

I like to work with a weekly menu. I make my shopping list based on that. I just count the amount of plant foods on my list. Am I lacking? Then I supplement the menus with fresh herbs and with kernels and seeds. For example, I make the two super simple recipes that are on this.

Nutrient-packed recipes

Fresh herbal oil

  • Ingredients:
    fresh parsley, 1 bunch of
    fresh basil, 1 to 2 hands full of
    fresh chives, 1 big hand full
  • Finely chop the herbs. Mix them with a good pinch of sea salt and black pepper and 1 dl of extra virgin olive oil. Store the herbal oil in a sealable jar in the refrigerator. Eat it with soups, stews and salads as an extra seasoning.

Kernel and seed mix

  • Ingredients:
    sunflower seeds, 2
    handfuls of pumpkin seeds, 1 or 2 handfuls of
    crushed linseed, 2 tablespoons of
    sesame seeds, 3 tablespoons
    of sea salt, a generous pinch
  • Mix the ingredients. Store the mix in a sealable jar in the refrigerator. Use as a garnish over soups, salads, stews, steamed vegetables or fresh fruit salads.

Take care of your immune system

Too few nutrients can also mean too little in volume, in numbers. A short trip to your intestinal flora, which forms the basis of your health. Your gut flora or microbiome is responsible for 70 to 90 percent of your immune system. And a healthy flora makes 90 percent of the serotonin, a happy substance, in your body.

A healthy microbiome is fed by fiber from: fruits and vegetables! There are doctors who advise eating 1 to 2 kilos of vegetables and fruit per day to optimally nourish your intestinal flora. If you eat too much animal protein (meat/fish) and/or too many grains, you will not be able to get close to those 1 to 2 kilos. Especially not if you also get a lot of filling.

Well, 1 to 2 kilos is of course a lot. Here too you can use a simple basic rule: make sure that you have a meal that consists of at least 80 percent fruit and vegetables. How do you do that?

Gut flora expert: are you getting enough nutrients

Tips: this way you eat more vegetables and fruit

  1. Think about what you are going to eat and choose a vegetable as a base. So you don’t eat meatballs with broccoli, but you eat broccoli. And you’re thinking about how you’re going to prepare that broccoli. For example, steamed with a nice spicy garlic oil and fresh herbs.
  2. Think about which vegetables go well with that. For example, choose a tomato salad with broccoli.
  3. Fill soups, casseroles and stews with vegetables as much as possible. For example a stew: 1 celeriac, 3 winter carrots, 4 parsley roots, 3 sweet potatoes, 8 tomatoes, 4 onions, 6 Jerusalem artichokes and 500 grams of beef. A vegetable bomb!
  4. Breakfast is often difficult, because we are used to cereals and cereal products. Try something completely different: for example, make scrambled eggs with fried onion rings and spinach. Or eat a well-filled soup for breakfast.
  5. You can easily prepare a mixed fruit salad the night before. Sprinkle some coarsely chopped nuts or seeds and you have a nice breakfast or lunch (to go) with sufficient variety in plant-based foods.

You can do a lot yourself to make your intestinal flora healthy and in balance. Gut flora expert Paulien Franken regularly gives free webinars on this topic.

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