One of the best methods to improve your general health and wellbeing, is to get out into the garden and grow plants that maintain a healthy gut flora. A wide variety of vegetables can be cultivated to have advantageous impact on gut health. In this article, I will be exploring some of the best pro and pre biotic promoting plants to grow on your veg patch.
The difference between prebiotics & probiotics ?
Before we begin, perhaps now is the time to explain the differences between prebiotics and probiotics. Prebiotics and probiotics are both beneficial for gut health, but they work in different ways.
Prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates that act as food for the good bacteria in the gut. They are found in certain types of plants and fibers, such as Jerusalem artichokes, chicory, and flaxseeds. When consumed, prebiotics pass through the stomach and small intestine undigested, and reach the colon where they are fermented by the gut bacteria. This fermentation process promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria, such as bifidobacteria and lactobacilli, and helps to balance the gut microbiome.
Probiotics, on the other hand, are live microorganisms, such as bacteria and yeast, that are similar to the beneficial microorganisms found in the human gut. They can be found in fermented foods like kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi, or in supplement form. When consumed, probiotics colonize the gut and help to balance the gut microbiome by outcompeting harmful bacteria. Probiotics can help to improve digestion, boost the immune system and reduce inflammation.
In summary, prebiotics and probiotics both play an important role in maintaining a healthy gut, but they work in different ways. Prebiotics provide food for the good bacteria in the gut, while probiotics introduce beneficial bacteria into the gut. Both are important for maintaining a healthy gut microbiome, and consuming a diet that includes both prebiotics and probiotics can be beneficial for overall gut health.
Common vegetables to promote a healthy gut
By growing these plants in your garden, you can easily incorporate them into your diet and support the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut.
Jerusalem artichokes are one of the best veg plants to grow for digestive health. These North American natural plants are renowned for their capacity to encourage the development of advantageous bacteria in the gut. Prebiotics, which are non-digestible carbohydrates that feed the beneficial bacteria in your stomach, are also abundant in them. Jerusalem artichokes are hardy enough to survive in most UK gardens and may be grown in a variety of soils and climates
Kiwi fruit is another superb plant for maintaining gut health. The fruits are high in fibre, which is crucial for preserving a healthy digestive system. Additionally, they contain a lot of antioxidants and other healthy substances that can aid in fostering the development of intestinal flora. Kiwi fruit can be grown in the UK, making it a fantastic for gardeners who want to take advantage of the health advantages of this fruit. There are a number of hardy Kiwi which can be grown outdoors in the UK. To ripen outdoors, kiwi fruits require a very warm, prolonged summer and autumn.
Dandelion is another well-favoured plant for digestive health. Dandelion leaves are known to improve intestinal health and are a rich source of vitamins and minerals. They can be cooked and added to soups and stews, or they can be eaten raw in salads. Roasted dandelion roots can also be used in place of coffee. In UK gardens, dandelions are a very common weed.
Chicory is a perennial herb that is known to be a good prebiotic, promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. The roots of the plant can be roasted and ground to make a coffee substitute, while the leaves can be eaten raw or cooked in salads.
Garlic contains compounds called allicin that are known to have a positive effect on gut health. It is also a prebiotic, promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. Garlic can be planted in the garden and harvested when the bulbs are mature. I like to grow mine in tubs.
Flaxseeds are a rich source of fiber, particularly lignans which promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. They can be added to smoothies, baked goods, and yogurts. Flax is also rich in Omega-3. They can be grown in the UK from the beginning of April, and the seeds can be harvested when the plant is mature.
Burdock is a root vegetable that has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to promote a healthy gut. It is a prebiotic, promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. Burdock root can be eaten cooked or raw and the leaves can be consumed as a vegetable.
Fennel is an herb that has a aniseed or licorice-like taste and is known to be a prebiotic, promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. The bulb and seeds of the plant can be eaten raw or cooked, and the leaves can be used as an herb.
Growing plants that promote a healthy gut flora is an easy and effective way to support your overall health and well-being. From Jerusalem artichokes, kiwi fruits, dandelion, and fennel are all great options for UK gardeners looking to improve their gut health. With a little bit of effort and care, you can easily grow these plants in your own garden and enjoy the many benefits they have to offer. I would also like to add, that we should all enjoy a good mix of vegetables, beans, seeds and other, colourful greens on dinner plate, to boost our gut-flora. Keep it varied. Keep away from processed foods. Try and grow it is you are able.
If there are any other plants that are good for maintaining a healthy gut flora, please do mention them in the comment section below. I would love to hear from you.