Six New Gut-Friendly Recipes from Dr Joan Ransley for Love Your Gut Week
Understanding your gut can be confusing, particularly when it comes to what to eat and which ingredients can support and improve digestive health.
To help, Love Your Gut Week (18-24 September) has partnered with author and writer Dr Joan Ransley to share six new simple recipes that both you and your gut will love.
Each dish is based on gut-healthy combinations of foods to showcase how easy and delicious it can be to cook to support digestive health. With options ranging from breakfast to dinner, and everything in between – there’s something for every occasion. From a vibrant Breakfast Smoothie Bowl, to tasty Sardines and Cherry Tomatoes on Toast, comforting Smokey Beans, a fresh Pea and Prawn Stir Fry, herby Meatless Meatballs and a zingy Mexican Chicken and Black Bean Chilli, there’s a dish for everyone to enjoy this Love Your Gut Week and beyond.
This smoothie bowl makes a great nutritious breakfast to help kick start the day.
Thanks to the oats, muesli, fruit, nuts and seeds, this dish contains dietary fibre, which helps the passage of food through the gut and feeds healthy bacteria. Government guidelines recommend that adults in the UK should consume 30g of fibre per day, but most only manage about 20g[i].
This recipe also provides plenty of plant points, as well as calcium, protein, vitamins and minerals, and a range of polyphenols – to help support the good bacteria in the gut[ii].
Made mainly from store cupboard ingredients and is ideal for weekday meals or as a snack.
Tinned sardines are a cost-effective way of getting healthy fish oils such as omega-3 into our diet. Omega-3 fatty acids can have a positive effect on the type and abundance of gut microbes and could also play a key role in the gut immune system[iii].
The wholegrain toast provides a source of insoluble fibre, which can help decrease your chance of constipation dietary fibre, which can help decrease your chance of constipation[iv]. Due to the vibrant colours in the tomatoes and watercress, you will also get a wealth of polyphenols, which promotes the health of the gut. Polyphenols can act as antioxidants in the body, to neutralise harmful free radicals that can cause disease. When polyphenols which promotes good health in the gut[v]
Step aside beans on toast, this wholesome and warming smokey beans dish is packed full of different beans and tasty veggies to add depth and texture, helping to keep the gut happy.
The beans are a good source of fibre and a complex carbohydrate, meaning it is digested slowly by the gut. The combination of herbs and spices also increases the diversity of plants in the dish and adds additional micronutrients[vi].
A one pot meal – this is a real crowd pleaser that screams gourmet but is super simple to make. It’s also great for the gut.
The peas and sugar snap peas provide soluble dietary fibre. This means that it is a prebiotic, which acts as food for healthy gut bacteria to feed on. Soluble fibre dissolves in water and can help the passage of food through the gut and soften stools.
It also contains ginger, which has been shown to help relieve gastrointestinal discomforts in clinical studies[vii]. The colourful vegetables also contain polyphenols, which are known to increase the diversity of bacteria in the gut[viii].
Looking to cut down on red meat? These meat-free meatballs are the perfect substitute. Infused with spices and herbs, this dish is packed full of flavour and high in resistant starch and dietary fibre – all of which contribute towards a healthy gut. Resistant starch is important in the diet because it resists digestion, passing directly through the small intestine to the colon. It is then fermented by ‘good bugs’ to butyrate which plays a key role in reducing inflammation, increasing calcium absorption, and maintaining the health of the gut lining. [ix]
Make it a Mexican night without the worry of gut troubles. This recipe contains more than 10 different plant foods and is high in dietary fibre thanks to the black beans.
The dish also contains two types of onions. Onions are a major source of inulin, a naturally occurring prebiotic. Inulin travels through the gut and is fermented by the colon helping healthy gut bacteria to thrive, keeping the immune system functioning efficiently and the cells lining the gut healthy.[x]
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[iii] Yawei Fu, Yadong Wang, Hu Gao, DongHua Li, RuiRui Jiang, Lingrui Ge, Chao Tong, Kang Xu, “Associations among Dietary Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids, the Gut Microbiota, and Intestinal Immunity”, Mediators of Inflammation, vol. 2021, Article ID 8879227, 11 pages, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/8879227
Fu, Yawei et al. “Associations among Dietary Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids, the Gut Microbiota, and Intestinal Immunity.” Mediators of inflammation vol. 2021 8879227. 2 Jan. 2021. https://doi:10.1155/2021/8879227
[iv] Müller-Lissner SA. Effect of wheat bran on weight of stool and gastrointestinal transit time: a meta analysis. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1988;296:615–617
[vii] Nikkhah Bodagh, Mehrnaz et al. “Ginger in gastrointestinal disorders: A systematic review of clinical trials.” Food science & nutrition vol. 7,1 96-108. 5 Nov. 2018, https://doi:10.1002/fsn3.807
[ix] Adriana D.T. Fabbri, Raymond W. Schacht, Guy A. Crosby. Evaluation of resistant starch content of cooked black beans, pinto beans, and chickpeas, NFS Journal,Volume 3. 2016. Pages 8-12. ISSN 2352-3646. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nfs.2016.02.002.
[x] Bridgette Wilson and Kevin Whelan. Prebiotic inulin‐type fructans and galacto‐oligosaccharides: definition, specificity, function, and application in gastrointestinal disorders. Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. First published: 28 February 2017 https://doi.org/10.1111/jgh.13700