There are countless reasons to desire a healthy gut. Achieving and maintaining a robust microbiome — the trillions of beneficial bacteria and the useful chemicals they’re producing — in the lower section of our gastrointestinal tracts can aid our bodies with everything from battling pathogens to bettering our mental health.
But how do we do it?
“What I get people to do is, firstly, think about diversifying their plants and trying to get 30 different kinds of plants across the week,” Megan Rossi, a Ph.D. holder and registered dietitian who is known in some circles as the “queen of gut health,” recently told us — Raj Punjabi and Noah Michelson, the co-hosts of EuroJournal’s “Am I Doing It Wrong?” podcast.
Rossi said that those plants should come from what she calls “the super six”: whole grains, nuts and seeds, vegetables, fruits, legumes, and herbs and spices.
“If we want this diverse range of bacteria in our gut, which has shown to have a diverse range of skills and kind of like superpowers, then we need to feed them that diverse range of fertilizers, otherwise they’ll die off — they won’t grow,” she said.
Rossi, the founder of The Gut Health Clinic in London, also gave us a tip for better gut health that’s useful no matter what you’re putting in your mouth: Chew your food more.
“It really just comes down to digestion,” she said. “Not only do we start to physically break down food in our mouths, but we have enzymes in our saliva that start to chemically break it down.”
Research shows that the more masticating we’re doing, the more nutrients we’re coaxing out of our food, which is good for our guts.
“One study looked at almonds, and they compared people who chewed the almonds 10 times versus 40 times,” Rossi told us.