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When looking at our weekly food consumption, it's clear to see that on average, our diets have become a lot less diverse.

Some blame it on being picky eaters. Others blame it on a lack of time. Whatever the reason may be - this lack of diversity is causing some to experience micronutrient deficiencies.

Often, these deficiencies can be the first steps leading to many diseases so let's talk about what you can do. 

 

Your gut microbiome is the key to your overall health

Having a diverse gut microbiome can have many positive outcomes on the rest of a persons well-being. This is because different gut bacteria enjoy different foods, which when broken down in our guts, provide us with so many health benefits. As the hosts in charge of what nutrients reaches this important category of bacteria. it is our jobs to offer them the fuel that they need.

Microbial diversity refers to the number of different species in our gut microbiome and how evenly they are spread out.

As you can imagine, sticking to the same foods will only feed the same species of gut bacteria (the bacteria who enjoy that food and can utilize it), while your microbial diversity decreases as the other microbes diminish by essentially being starved out. This can lead to autoimmune disorders, chronic fatigue, memory loss, mood swings and many other negative effects in the body.

These species of bacteria have many different roles in our overall health, including digestion, nutrient absorption, immune support, regulating our nervous system and so much more. Therefore, the higher our gut microbial diversity, the more support we will receive in all of these areas.

Diversifying your diet can be hard

Deciding that you want to start adding more diversity to your diet can definitely take some getting used to. This is because the body - especially the gut, gets accustomed to what its feed and actually starts to crave those foods above others. This becomes an issue when someone is trying to ease off a high sugar or processed diet.

Going back to the many species of gut bacteria that we spoke of earlier, some of the "bad" bacteria that live in the gut, thrive off sugar, which we all know consumed in large sums is terrible for your health. However, the overgrowth of this bad bacteria in the gut that has been living and reproducing thanks to its hosts daily intake of sugar, will start to send the brain signals that we interpret as cravings - basically saying give us more fuel even if its not good for you.

Now trying to diversify your diet while also dealing with intense cravings can be tough and may need willpower, but its important to know that as the gut finds its balance and the microbial diversity increases over time - not only will these "bad" cravings diminish, but the healthy, diverse microbiome will start to crave a diverse diet.


What foods should you include in your diet?

When creating a more diverse diet, it doesn't necessarily mean increasing the amount of meals you eat in a day, but more so increasing the variety of ingredients per meal. For example, it's taking the extra steps to make your 3 ingredient smoothie a 5 ingredient smoothie by adding kale and peanut butter for added vitamins and healthy fats. Or adding two sides of vegetables with dinner rather than one. 

Here's a list of foods and macronutrients that we recommend consuming daily to promote a high microbial diversity:

  • Add a variety of fruits and vegetables into your daily meals - aim for at least 5 a day

  • Make sure you're getting enough protein - opt for leaner meats like fish and chicken

  • Incorporate plant-based, high-fibre proteins like chickpeas, lentils and quinoa

  • Add nuts or seeds into your breakfast, snacks or smoothies

  • Try to have a portion of fermented foods like live yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut or kombucha which contain gut-friendly bacteria

 

When it comes to preparing your daily meals, some easy ways to incorporate diversity include:


Breakfast Recipe Tips

  • Smoothies - it is so easy to throw a bunch of fruits, vegetables, plant proteins, powdered greens as well as healthy fats like nut butters

  • Yoghurt- not only are you getting a dose of probiotics but you can also top your yoghurt with fruits, nuts, seeds, etc. creating a very diverse meal

  • Overnight oats - this breakfast is quick, easy and amazing for your gut, oats are high in fibre and you have the freedom to dress them how ever you'd like, similar to the yoghurt bowl you can add fruits, chia seeds, peanut butter, etc.


Lunch Recipe Tips

  • Salads - the king of diversity, they are an easy way to jam pack all the vitamins and nutrients that your body needs in one bowl. You can top your salad with plenty of vegetables, quinoa for fibre, add a source of protein and get a healthy serving of fats with an olive oil dressing. (My personal favourite is Olive Oil, Lemon Juice and Dijon Mustard with salt and pepper. Easy to preface and store for over a week).

  • Burrito bowl - ditch the rice for quinoa and make yourself a bowl of all your favourite burrito toppings and don't forget the guac, avocados are not only a great source of healthy fat but are also amazing for gut health.

  • Hummus dip - do not underestimate how filling and satisfying hummus can be, especially with a variety of veggie sticks and slices of sourdough bread to dip.


Dinner Recipe Tips

  • Veggie/meat skewers - get some skewers and fill them from top to bottom with a diversity of your favourtie vegetables with the option of adding chicken.

  • Zucchini spirals - also known as "zoodles," these are a great way to make a yummy pasta bowl while avoiding the refined wheat from traditional pasta that can damage the good gut bacteria.

  • Home-made soup - a great way to get your veggies in, especially during the cold winter months and if made with bone broth, gives your gut that extra boost of collagen.

 

Having a diverse food intake is beneficial to your microbial diversity which we now know helps to support so many other critical functions in the body. By taking the time to introduce more micronutrients to your diet, you're then promoting the growth and survival of many different species of gut bacteria.

Another great way to speed up this process is by taking a daily probiotic supplement, as you work on diversifying your diet, a probiotic supplement can help to reintroduce good gut bacteria, bringing your gut back to a state of balance in no time. Make sure to check out our products page to learn more about how our probiotics can help you.



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