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How you cook and prepare the food you eat can have a strong impact on your digestion. Animal proteins can be hard to digest, so meat is best cooked slowly in soups and stews. An excess of raw vegetables can weaken digestion, so vegetables are best steamed or sautéed. Spices such as garlic, ginger, cumin, cayenne and black pepper can also be added to dishes to aid digestion.
Eating natural whole foods encourages the growth of good bacteria. Organic foods that have low human intervention are far richer in nutrients and free from the nasty chemicals that compromise gut health.
The lacto-fermentation process creates a broad range of beneficial bacteria, which is different to other fermentation processes like alcohol fermentation. Good bacteria lactobacilli can be found in lacto-fermented vegetables like sauerkraut. These bacteria predigest vegetables making digestion easier and nutrients more available for the body to utilise.
Proven strains of good bacteria like lactobacillus and bifidobacterium are found in yoghurts and probiotic-rich drinks like kefir. When consuming probiotics, avoid probiotic sources that are full of sugar as these can proliferate bad bacteria and hinder the digestion of essential nutrients.
The combination of prebiotics and probiotics help to promote a healthy gut more than either consumed alone. Prebiotics help to boost the growth of friendly bacteria and can be found in foods like asparagus, bananas, chicory, garlic, and jerusalem artichokes. Also, foods rich in soluble fibre like whole grains, nuts and seeds contain dense quantities of prebiotics.
The gut is an essential part of the nervous system and stress has an immediate impact on its function. Mindfulness-inspired exercises like yoga, meditation and journaling all help to calm the mind and encourage better gut health.
The Beauty Chef’s founder Carla Oates learned first hand that beauty begins in the belly when she was a teenager with troubled skin. Carla began lacto-fermenting foods in her Bondi kitchen and this eventually led to the creation of GLOW™, The Beauty Chef’s first inner beauty product which contains 24 bio-fermented, skin-loving superfoods. This visionary recognition of the link between a balanced microbiome (good gut health) and beautiful skin led to Carla being named a Skincare Innovator by Net-a-Porter’s The Edit magazine. Carla is also the editor of the Wellbeing Beauty Book, the natural beauty columnist for Wellbeing Magazine, a Goodwill Ambassador for Australian Organic and in 2017, won the beauty category at the Instyle & Audi Women of Style Awards in Australia.