Eating healthy and nutritious meals is one of the most important tools, alongside a regular exercise regime, to help you maintain a strong and lean physique. This has been a priority for me since my days training as a professional ballerina, without good nutrition I would underperform in the studio, and so my journey commenced in the kitchen exploring delicious ways to fuel my fitness, and look after my body.
Striking the balance between good food and working out is beneficial not only for your body but also your mind. Eating well can impact how well you sleep, your energy levels and even your mood, while exercise makes you physically stronger, and reduces the risk of serious health problems. Eating well also promotes good gut health, important for all the reasons I will go on to explain below. So many of my recipes are good for your gut, and easy to make too. I’ve chosen my favourite three gut friendly recipes, to share with you today.
Why is gut health important?
A healthy gut can benefit your whole body, including the heart, the kidneys and even your brain. Increasing the amount of friendly bacteria in your gut enhances your immune system, helps to prevent obesity, and improves symptoms of depression. It also helps your body to break down and absorb the nutrients in your food.
What is good to eat for gut health?
The best food for gut health is also the easiest to digest. This means getting plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, and high-fibre ingredients such as legumes, beans and oats. Ginger, garlic and onion often feature in gut-friendly recipes too, as do fermented products like miso, yoghurt, tempeh and sauerkraut. As someone with a passion for nutrition, I’d always recommend cooking your own delicious healthy meals, and choosing recipes with gut-friendly ingredients.
Sassy’s top gut health recipes
Ginger, lemon, and turmeric dahl
Dahl is the perfect dish to accompany a curry night, or even some of your favourite summer salads. Think of this as a supergroup of gut health ingredients. Ginger helps your food pass through your intestines more easily, preventing bloating and stomach pain, while turmeric has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, making it a great spice for banishing indigestion.
Cooks in: 50 minutes
- 2 cups split red lentils
- 4 cups water
- 1 tablespoon bouillon powder or vegetable stock
- 2 sweet potatoes
- 2 red peppers
- 1 red onion
- 3 large handfuls of spinach
- 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbsp of coriander seeds
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 thumbnail-sized cube of ginger, grated
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Preheat your oven to 180°C (160°C for fan ovens).
- Peel and chop the sweet potato into small cubes, then chop the red onion, and slice the red pepper into chunks. Place everything in a roasting tray, and drizzle with oil and a pinch of salt.
- Put the roasting tray in the oven for 35 minutes, tossing the vegetables every 10 minutes or so to ensure they cook evenly and don’t burn.
- Meanwhile, drizzle some olive oil into a large pot, add the coriander seeds, and cook for a few minutes.
- When the coriander seeds start to toast, pour 2 cups of lentils, 4 cups of boiling water and a tin of chopped tomatoes into the pot.
- Add 1 tablespoon of bouillon powder to the mixture, and stir until it dissolves. Bring the pan to the boil, then let it simmer on a low heat for 30 minutes.
- Once the lentils have cooked, add the spinach, turmeric, cumin, grated ginger, and lemon juice, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Continue to stir for 5 minutes, add the sweet potato, red pepper and onion, and serve!
While green juices don’t always look appealing, they do in fact, taste incredible. The natural, easy-to-digest fruits and vegetables in this quick-to-make recipe contain plenty of fibre, helping to boost your gut health.
Prepared in: 2 minutes
- 2 apples
- 1 cucumber
- 2 handfuls of broccoli florets
- 4 stalks of celery
- 2 handfuls of spinach
- 2 handfuls of kale
- Juice of ½ lemon
- A knob of ginger
- Simply place all of the ingredients in a juicer and blend thoroughly.
Pear, vanilla and ginger protein porridge
This porridge recipe will warm you up on the chillier mornings, while adding the right amount of sweetness to your day. Oats contain a prebiotic fibre that has the ability to alter the bacteria within your digestive system, these are good sources of bacteria helping to boost your gut health.
Cooks in: 15 minutes
- 1½ cups porridge oats
- 2 cups oat milk
- 1 cup water
- 2 pears
- 1 thumbnail-sized piece of ginger
- ½ cup blueberries
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
- Begin by chopping the pears into small cubes, then add to a pan with the ginger and water. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes, or until the pear is softened. Remove the ginger, and add the milk and oats.
- Stir the porridge occasionally, and once it’s nice and crea+, mix in the blueberries and protein powder, then serve!
How else can I restore gut health?
The gut is known as the second brain, as it impacts many different areas of the body, and a healthy, balanced diet isn’t the only thing that promotes good gut health. You should also make sure you’re getting enough sleep, which helps to keep your digestive system in good condition. Lack of sleep decreases the levels of leptin, which tells our brains how full we are, and increases our bodies’ levels of ghrelin, the hormone which is in charge of hunger. This will encourage you to give in to food cravings and eat more, which in turn will likely lead to weight gain. Exercising regularly helps too, and by following Sassy’s workout program, you can improve posture, balance, flexibility and strength, while helping you to maintain good gut health.