Good gut health depends on a diet rich in fibre and a diverse microbiome. To create diversity in your microbiome it is important to eat a wide variety of vegetables and fruits low in fructose. In my opinion one of the fruits to include in your diet should be cooked apples, and below I will explain why. I am also happy to share a delicious gut happy breakfast recipe packed with fibre (prebiotics), probiotics, omega 3, as well as good sources of plant protein.
Incorporating cooked apples into your diet can help promote gut health by increasing your fibre and pectin intake (read more below on why pectin is a power player in your gut), reduce inflammation, and improve nutrient absorption
Cooked apples can improve gut health in several ways:
Increased Fibre: Apples are a great source of dietary fiber, which is essential for maintaining a healthy gut. Cooking apples can make the fibre more easily digestible and can also increase the overall amount of the fibre in the fruit.
Increased Pectin: Pectin is a type of soluble fiber found in apples that can help promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. Cooking apples increases the amount of pectin in the apples, making it even more beneficial for your gut health.
Reduced Inflammation: Cooking apples can also help reduce inflammation in the gut. This is because heat breaks down the cell walls of the fruit, releasing anti-inflammatory compounds that can help soothe the digestive system.
Improved Nutrient Absorption: Cooking apples can also make certain nutrients more easily absorbed by the body. For example, cooking apples can increase the bioavailability of antioxidants like quercetin, which can help protect the gut from damage. Side note here on quercetin
Quercetin is a flavonoid, a type of plant pigment that is found in many fruits, vegetables, and grains. It is a natural antioxidant that has been shown to have numerous health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and antihistamine effects.
Quercetin is found in a variety of foods, including apples, onions, berries, grapes, broccoli, kale, and tea, among others. It is believed to help protect the body against damage from free radicals. In addition to its antioxidant properties, quercetin has been studied for its potential to help reduce inflammation, improve cardiovascular health, and boost the immune system.
Happy gut breakfast bowl:
1/4 cup of whole rolled oats (great source of fibre for your gut)
1//4 cup of chia seeds (source of protein and high in omega 3)
3/4 cup of unsweetened almond or soy milk (source of protein)
1/2 teaspoon of sea or pink salt
1/2 cup of live full fat plain/ greek yoghurt (source of protein)
1 apple, peeled, cored and sliced (a pectin & quercetin powerhouse)
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence (sweetens the deal)
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon (helps prevent a blood sugar spike)
Combine the oats, chia seeds, salt and vanilla essence and milk in a jar, give it a good thorough stir, place the lid on it and transfer to the fridge overnight.
The next morning, simply cook the apples (it only takes 10-15 minutes on medium heat) in a little bit of butter (or coconut oil) and cinnamon, and serve the overnight oats+chia mixture with yoghurt, cooked apples and a sprinkling of cinnamon to make it more blood sugar balancing.
You could triple up this recipe and store it in the fridge to save time in the mornings – it will last well for at least 4 days.
I hope this article & recipe is useful to you.
In dedication to your radiant health,
PS; below some additional information about what good gut health means:
Good gut health refers to the proper functioning of the gastrointestinal tract and the presence of a diverse and balanced gut microbiome. Here are some bullet points defining good gut health with APA references:
Regular bowel movements: A healthy gut typically has regular bowel movements, which help to eliminate waste and toxins from the body. (Mueller et al., 2020)
Absence of gastrointestinal symptoms: Good gut health also means the absence of common gastrointestinal symptoms such as bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. (Ghoshal et al., 2017)
Balanced gut microbiome: A healthy gut is characterized by a diverse and balanced gut microbiome, with a wide range of beneficial bacteria that play a crucial role in maintaining gut health. (Suez et al., 2015)
Adequate digestive function: A healthy gut has adequate digestive function, which helps to break down food and absorb nutrients efficiently. (Mitsuoka, 2014)
Strong gut barrier function: A healthy gut has a strong gut barrier function, which prevents harmful substances from entering the bloodstream and causing inflammation. (Bischoff et al., 2014)
Immune system support: Good gut health also supports the immune system, which plays a critical role in defending the body against pathogens and infections. (Hill et al., 2019)
Bischoff, S. C., Barbara, G., Buurman, W., Ockhuizen, T., Schulzke, J. D., Serino, M., ... & Wells, J. M. (2014). Intestinal permeability--a new target for disease prevention and therapy. BMC gastroenterology, 14(1), 1-25.
Ghoshal, U. C., Shukla, R., & Ghoshal, U. (2017). Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and irritable bowel syndrome: A bridge between functional organic dichotomy. Gut and liver, 11(2), 196-208.
Hill, C., Guarner, F., Reid, G., Gibson, G. R., Merenstein, D. J., Pot, B., ... & Salminen, S. (2019). Expert consensus document. The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics consensus statement on the scope and appropriate use of the term probiotic. Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology, 16(8), 1-18.
Mitsuoka, T. (2014). Intestinal flora and aging. Nutrition Reviews, 53(9), 123-128.
Mueller, N. T., Bakacs, E., & Combellick, J. (2020). The infant microbiome development: Mom matters. Trends in molecular medicine, 26(12), 1102-1104.
Suez, J., Korem, T., Zeevi, D., Zilberman-Schapira, G., Thaiss, C. A., Maza, O., ... & Segal, E. (2015). Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota. Nature, 514(7521), 181-186.