Infuse Issue 13 May 2021 | Page 19

The power of plants
Two groups of plant compounds are key for gut health and fuelling your microbiome : fibre and polyphenols .
There are many different types of fibre , but in essence they are carbohydrates that our own digestive enzymes can ’ t break down , so they arrive intact to the colon . Some travel all through your gut , playing a role in keeping you regular , others help to moderate blood glucose and cholesterol control , and many are fermented by the gut microbiome .
How do you do that ? Eat a plant-rich , whole food diet , while strictly limiting or avoiding ultra-processed foods ( these are foods made from ingredients that have themselves already been heavily processed , such that the resulting food product is far removed from any original plant or animal food ). Your goal is to eat at least 30 different plant foods a week .
The metabolites produced lower the pH in the colon , helping to prevent the growth of pathogenic bacteria , reduce inflammation both in the gut and the rest of the body , fuel the cells lining the gut keeping them healthy and the gut barrier strong , they modulate the immune system and even act as signalling molecules to the brain and other organs .
Polyphenols are found widely in plant foods and they also promote a healthy , diverse microbiome . Your friendly gut bugs convert these polyphenols into more bioactive compounds with diverse health benefits throughout the body .
© Dietitian Connection 19 Infuse | May 2021