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The Lifebox X Happy Bread Company Gut Health Series…….Part Three
18 May 2016
Welcome to the penultimate part in our Gut Health Series with…..
Throughout May we have been posting a weekly blog from the sensational Karen Collins, founder of the Happy Bread Company, to coincide perfectly with the inclusion of her inspirational HBC Happy Tummy Mix into some of our Lifebox range this month! (Shop for our Everyday Lifebox which focuses on healthy digestion and everyday energy here)
Over the four week series Karen discusses in detail the link between bacteria and its food of choice to enable optimal gut health, featuring how to best use grain, plant-based foods and meat to treat digestive issues and maximise your overall health and wellbeing.
Part One dived straight into how The Happy Bread Company came about and how Karen herself overcame her own personal IBS and digestive issues through self education, trial and error and a moment of magic where the HBC was born! This week’s segment looks at the real nitty gritty of fibre and bacteria and their vital importance in the journey to optimal gut health. The Second instalment focused on the relationship between gut health and bacteria / fibre so we cannot wait to see what KC has in stall for us this week……read on Lifeboxers, read on!
Hello lovely Lifeboxers!
So last week I explained the role of all three types of fibre and how they play an essential part in your gut’s health. This week we’re going to build on that point and finish with best sources.
No one individual has the same populations of gut bacteria. The reality is that some of us do have better performing guts due to our genetic makeup and the unique bacteria species we are made up of. However, we can optimise what we have through the food we eat and avoiding stress and
antibiotics. Personally, through eating a diet high in wholegrain, nuts and seeds and plant based
fibre, as well as fat I have definitely enhanced my gut’s ability to be happy and healthy. Since
readdressing how I consume fibre I have much more control over how my tummy looks and feels
than ever before.
You can do the same by making sure to-
1. Feed your good gut bacteria through consuming prebiotic foods
2. Delivering good bacteria to the bowel through probiotic foods
3. Eating food high in insoluble fibre to help excrete toxins and prevent bloating
4. Eating foods high in soluble fibre to give you sustained sources of energy and keep hunger
away between meals
Once you become familiar with the best sources of the above, it will become super easy to throw
meals together based on what you now know you need.
So let’s jump into the science again!
On a daily basis our gut bacteria likes its diet to be made up of 33% fibre from grain, 33% fibre
from plant based foods with the rest of its energy coming from dietary protein.
As we learnt last week, many of the health benefits ascribed to fibre are a consequence of their
fermentation by the colonic microbiota (gut bacteria) and the metabolites (substances necessary
for metabolism) that are produced.
Carbohydrates from grains and plants are fermented to organic acids that provide energy
for other bacteria, the bowel epithelium (who’s job it is to absorb helpful substances and
provide a barrier against harmful substances) and peripheral tissues (such as the skin and
One of the major end-products of carbohydrate fermentation by the gut bacteria are Short Chain
Fatty Acids (SCFA). These weak acids help lower the pH within the colon thereby inhibiting the
growth and activity of pathogenic bacteria. They also keep inflammation down around the body.
Through the fermentation of carbohydrates our beneficial gut bacteria is able to produce B complex vitamins. The beneficial bacteria live off the carbohydrates consumed by us and can then help us in return by producing valuable vitamins we need to function. So we now understand that one of the functions of carbohydrates is to provide fuel for these beneficial bacteria so that they can symbiotically help us in return. Carbohydrates, such as lactate,
help the body absorb calcium better, which is good for our bones. Another byproduct of carbohydrate fermentation is oxaloacetic acid, which is necessary to
metabolise fats. Without this breakdown product, fats get turned into ketones, which can be toxic to the bodies. So we now have another reason why we need carbohydrates – to allow fats to be
metabolised correctly by the body.
Branched-chain fatty acids result from the fermentation of proteins and branched chain amino
acids. However, in the fermentation of protein these branched-chain fatty acids are accompanied
by potentially toxic metabolites such as amines, phenolic compounds, and volatile sulfur
compounds. For this reason it’s always best to consume protein with carbohydrate present as the
fermentation of carbohydrate keeps the pH of the colon low inhibiting toxic bacteria. I’ve heard
countless stories from customers complaining about sore tummies after consuming too much
protein or protein on its own.
To synopsise these new points…
• Fermentation of fibre and protein by large bowel bacteria results in some of the most abundant
and physiologically important products, namely short chain fatty acids (SCFA) which act as key
sources of energy for colorectal tissues and bacteria, and promote cellular mechanisms that
maintain tissue integrity.
• SCFA can reach the circulation and positively impact immune function and inflammation in
tissues such as the lung.
• However, some protein fermentation products such as ammonia, phenols and hydrogen
sulphide can also be toxic and may play a role in gut diseases such as colon cancer or IBD.
Studies in animal models and in vitro show that these fermentation products play important
roles in the initiation or progression of a leaky gut, inflammation, DNA damage and cancer
progression so it’s important to not solely depend on a protein diet.
• On the contrary, dietary fibre or intake of plant-based foods appears to inhibit this, highlighting the importance of maintaining carbohydrate fermentation by the gut bacteria. Especially whilst protein is present.
The benefits to eating a high fibre diet
1. Through eating enough fibre every day from plants and grain the maintenance of a diverse and
thriving population of beneficial gut bacteria helps to keep harmful bacteria at bay by competing
for nutrients and sites of colonisation.
2. Consumption of dietary fibres reduces the risk of colorectal cancer at least partly as a
consequence of dilution and elimination of toxins through fecal bulk, driven by increases in
fermentative bacteria and the presence of water-holding fibres (soluble fibre).
So, what to eat for a happy tummy?
Along with plant based fibre, grain based fibre and some dietary protein we also need fat. Fat is a very powerful GI tract stimulant. It’s also needed for our hormones. Add more fat in the form of good olive oil, a whole avocado each day, organic salted butter (grass-fed). Animal fat from for example good bacon is good too but just remember that animal protein also produces ammonia
which can sometimes cause pain in the abdomen. Consume your animal fats with carbs.
When you ingest fat some of it immediately passes through to the colon increasing the speed of
bowel evacuation. The rest enables the release of bile acids essential for a healthy digestive
system. Below are ways to get more fibre into you! We’re meant to eat fibre in the ratio of 3:1. 3 being insoluble fibre, 1 being soluble fibre. The foods listed below are based on that model.
Fruits in descending order of fibre
Try mixing these through a probiotic yoghurt to make your meal extra gut healthy!
Dried fruits in descending order of fibre
I generally use these foods if I get constipated when travelling or am craving something sweet.
• Dried peach
Legumes in descending order of fibre (all boiled)
The beans below are a great source of soluble fibre useful for people suffering with diarrhoea IBS.
• Lentils (really high in insoluble fibre and therefore great for constipation sufferers)
• Split peas
• Pinto beans
• Black beans
• Baked beans
Vegetables in descending order of fibre (boiled)
• Green peas – serve mashed through hummus for an extra fibre kick
• Sweet Potato
• Parsnips – serve mashed with skin on
• Turnips – serve mashed with cream cheese
• Brussel sprouts
Grains in descending order of fibre
Wholegrains are crucial for a healthy gut! The insoluble fibre which we all need is in the bran of the grain and the outside of all fruits and veggies. Soluble is normally the flesh part of anything.
• Teff – Happy Bread
• Sorghum – a great wheat substitute in gluten-free baking
• Amaranth – cook into a risotto, soak first if able
• Wheat – consume as a wholegrain sourdough
• Buckwheat groats – toast in a pan and serve through salads or anything really
• Millet – use to cook into a risotto instead of using rice
• Quinoa – great when you’re avoiding meat protein
• Bran (Oat Bran or Wheat Bran but wheat bran has a much higher fibre content)
Nuts & Seeds in descending order of fibre
• Chia – we use in Happy Bread & HappyTummy Mix. Use through yoghurt.
• Flax – we use in Happy Bread & HappyTummy Mix. Use through yoghurt.
• Almonds – we use in Happy Bread
• Poppy seeds – scatter on everything!
• Pine nuts – scatter on pasta dishes or mix through hummus/egg mayo mix
• Macadamia nuts
• Brazil nuts
Obviously there are hundreds of ingredients outside of these lists high in fibre. The
quickest way to recognise what’s high in insoluble fibre and what’s not is to look at the size
of the bran or the skin. The larger the skin/bran to flesh ratio, the higher the food will be in
Raspberries have a higher insoluble fibre content than blueberries because raspberries have lots
more skin. As a fruit, the raspberry is essentially loads of tiny balls packed together and therefore less flesh.
Prebiotics (fermentable foods)
– foods which encourage bowel health. Start eating more of these foods on a weekly basis.
• Brussel sprouts
The vegetables can be flung into pasta sauces, stir-fries or curries to make them delicious! Or even blitzed up and mixed through hummus.
Combining grains, nuts, veggies, fruits, fats and meat protein or easily digested protein like eggs if meat is a problem for you is the best and most fun way to ensure your gut bacteria is being sufficiently nourished.
Over the next week, I hope the above lists will inspire some lovely additions to your meals
throughout the day!
Happy tummy day you!
Until next week,
Big bread love!
To find out more about Karen and The Happy Bread Company or to place an order for her fine fine happy bread then just click the logo below:
15p from each box is donated to Trekstock!
There are more than 100,000 young adults living with cancer in the UK today. They lack support because little is known about the challenges they face and few services are dedicated to them.
Trekstock is committed to understanding and supporting their needs, so that no young adult has to face cancer alone.