Gut health seems to be the talk of the town for foodies, especially when it comes to health bloggers, chefs and researchers within clinical nutrition. Terms such as gut flora, healthy bacteria and anti-inflammatory food are becoming part of the mainstream vocabulary. But what is this trend all about, really?

A new understanding 
The trend stems from a growing interest among consumers in how food impacts both our minds and our bodies. There has also been a growing body of research within this field that has emerged in the last few years. The gut flora is a very complex system containing billions of bacteria. Scientists are working hard to gain a better understanding of gut flora through, for example, frequent testing of faeces and research to find out if some diseases originate in the colon. 

The second brain 
Scientists have also started to better understand how gut health affects our mood, psychological wellbeing and stress levels. The gut-brain connection is an area of research that is growing fastResearch has shown that the gut and the brain communicate with each other: an unhappy gut sends signals to the brain. Similarly, an anxious brain can send a signal to the intestines. In other words, your diet can affect your brain and cognition. This coincides with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) 2017 declaration that depression is the next biggest disability globally, with more than 230 million people affected worldwide.  
So, can food be our medicine? Well, we’re a bit far away from that, but some foods might be extra good for your stomach.  

Two gut-friendly foods 

Fermented foods 

During the fermentation process, starches and sugars in food, such as some vegetables, favour the growth of beneficial bacteria. Fermented cabbage like sauerkraut or kimchi, cultivated yogurt drinks like kefir, fermented soy products such as miso or tempeh, or fermented oat “gurts” like Yosa are good choices. And tasty too! 

Fibre 

Fibre is important for our body since it feeds the good bacteria and helps them to flourish. Recommended foods include beans, a wide variety of vegetables, wholegrain bread, oat products and mushrooms. 
Are you interested in food trends and learning more about what’s cooking in the world of food?  Don’t miss out on our Food Trend Report, released at the beginning of September. In the report you can learn more about the Fazer Brainhow programme and gut health in an interview with Robert Brummer, professor of gastroenterology and clinical nutrition, at Örebro University. 

 

Source: Fazer’s Trend Report 2019 ”Future Food” 
To download the full report, click here