Summer is cause for celebration. It’s a time for road trips, festivals, barbecues, outdoor games and other activities such as beach trips and hikes.
However, summer is also a time, when we can, with good summer eating, improve the diversity of our gut microbes (bacteria). Researchers have found that the greater the variety of plants in your diet, (fruit and vegetables), the greater the variety of good bacteria in your gut.
The beauty of summer is that the variety of fresh foods available is not only much greater but also more affordable. If you think about the fact that our gut has hundreds of different bacteria which all play a role in keeping us healthy then we need to ensure we eat a wide variety of foods that will support these different bacteria.
Fruit and vegetables are high in fibre which can only be digested by certain bacteria in your gut which in turn enables their growth. Yogurt is another food which is good for your gut. However, make sure you steer clear of the ones with a lot of sugar. Yogurt dressings taste great, (recipe below) and they are also loaded with health benefits such as good protein content for sustaining energy levels, probiotics to keep your digestive system in check, and loads of calcium to strengthen your bones.
Accessibility is the key to healthy eating. So, stock your fridge with an abundance of fruit and vegetables. Talk to your kids about eating tomatoes as a snack or strips of red pepper or carrot with hummus as a dip. Cucumber sticks are great with a yogurt dip. If you are a fan of Indian Lime pickle try having it on a wholemeal cracker with hummus, a delicious snack from Oman.
Plan meals that are easy to make and fresh on warm summer days. A fresh tomato with a dash of olive oil or balsamic vinegar makes a wonderful snack. Nutritious summer eating is about overall health, so remember we are likely to need to drink more water to keep hydrated.
Yogurt dressing recipe:
• 1 cup Greek Yogurt.
• 2 cloves of minced garlic.
• 4 tablespoons lemon juice freshly squeezed.
• 2 tablespoons olive oil.
• ¼ teaspoon salt.
• ¼ teaspoon black pepper.
• ¼ cup chopped fresh dill or mint.
Whisk together yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl, add fresh herbs and drizzle onto your favourite salads