How your Little Garden veggies can protect your gut health
With New World Little Garden seedlings on offer, it seems a great time for Stephanie, one of the Gut Foundation's dietician, to talk about vegetables and herbs and what fantastic nutrients they offer and how good they are for our gut. They are SO IMPORTANT for health. We want to aim for 3+ serves a day – more is better!
Contain antioxidants to boost your immune system
Low in kilojoules – help keep you full without promoting weight gain
Contain fibre, vitamins and minerals to help you stay well
So, when you plant those little veggies, here is some chatter to share with the kids. What they do for your insides and your poo when you eat them. We have divided these up into insoluble and soluble fibres. Research shows that dietary fibre creates a healthy and diverse environment for your gut bugs and can helps prevent many common diseases.
1. Insoluble fibres
Insoluble fibres are important to moving your poo along through your bowel. Indigestible fibre reaches the colon where it is broken down by our gut bacteria, producing short chain fatty acids (SCFA) as by-products. We look at two of these fibres:
a. Cellulose: think Colleen Cauliflower, Brad Broccoli, Spencer Spinach and Colin Cabbage. Cellulose is an important binding agent for your gut passing through the digestive tract intact, and binding to other food you have eaten to help move things along. Cellulose also helps the good bacteria (bugs) in your gut grow preventing bad bugs from taking over.
b. Lignin: think Tamaiti and Tommy Tomato, (in seeds) Brad and Colin, Carla Carrot, and Korey Kale. Lignin is also an insoluble fibre which does a similar job to cellulose. It’s also found in, peas, beans and zucchini Avocados, unripe bananas, wheat and corn bran are also good sources of lignin but you probably won’t be growing those in your garden.
2. Soluble fibres
Soluble fibres forms a handy gel in the gut soaking up water and making your poo soft to prevent constipation:
a. Inulin: think Lettie Leek, Orla Onion and Cas Capsicum. Inulin is a great soluble fibre as it keeps you feeling fuller for longer as it slows down digestion. What’s great about inulin is, it takes your body longer to absorb sugars from the foods you eat and helps prevent sugar cravings. Inulin isn’t absorbed or digested by your gut; rather it camps out in your gut promoting the growth of good gut bacteria. Inulin can also be found in bananas and asparagus (and off the shelf, almonds and chicory).
b. Pectin: think Betty Beet and Carla Carrot. Pectin helps prevent blood sugar spikes by stalling sugar absorption. Pectins are also found in foods like apples citrus fruits, and potatoes.
Now for those herbs these can be a great help in adding lots of flavour to foods. Lenny and Leroy Lettuce will really perk up with the addition of Baron von Basil, Max Mint, Wiremu Watercress and Bobby Borage, and you will add a whole lot of nutrients that would otherwise not be there.