Watermelon’s and Your Gut Health
Feeling entirely inspired by the huge and wonderfully juicy watermelons currently in abundance in Malta it felt appropriate to share with you the best way to enjoy, understand the nutritional content and the role that this fruit can play in your gut health. I do believe in keeping with Ayuverda nutrition in that we should eat seasonally, as this allows our body to adapt and be present within our environment and as the season changes so our bodies adapt naturally. Watermelons are in season in Malta from May to October so there is plenty of time to receive the benefits from this wonderfully large berry.
Watermelons have a particularly interesting role in our gut health in that their high water content (92%) hydrates your digestive system and completely clear out your digestive tract, Given the heat and that we could do with making sure we are very well hydrated, if we can add in another source of natural hydration this is one! Watermelons have a sugar content of 9g per 150grams, and lets not forget that this is a natural form of fructose. There really is an abundance of health benefits to be obtained from this fruit. As an anti-oxidant they help to rid the body of toxins and promote anti-ageing. I don’t know about you but anything thats naturally going to keep me looking and feeling younger is a winner. They are a excellent source of pre-biotic, feeding the healthy bacteria in your microbiome and they help to reduce inflammation (gas, bloating and cramping). Due to the high water content in watermelons they promote regularity in bowel movements. Needless to say this healthy carbohydrate source have their place within your diet.
Nutritional content & benefits:
I hope that you have felt somewhat inspired to enjoy some watermelon this summer, taking in this juicy opportunity to receive the benefits for your gut and overall health.
Gloriously Good Grounding Potatoes
Potatoes represent the epitome of a grounding vegetable; often purchased in shops with the remainders of the course earthly goodness on their outer skin. Some like then sweet, some like them red and some like them white - what's certain is there a variety for every mood, every occasion and every person. Whats wonderful is that they offer many great benefits for your microbiome!
There is a whole lot more that you can do with a potato beyond it being made into fries and I appreciate it is traditionally thought of as a winter vegetable but there are so many ways to enjoy them in the summer. Baked in tin foil on a barbecue and boiled and tossed into a summer salad and given their nutritional content, it would be crazy to miss out on this healthy carbohydrate source. Don't allow carbohydrate shunning to prevent you from missing out on this wonderful macronutrient - they have their place in your diet for both your gut health and as a source of energy for your brain. Just make sure it is a healthy choices, is a suitable portion size and consumed at the correct time.
Research into potatoes and their impact on gut health
Potatoes are a wholesome and unprocessed carbohydrate source and they have been researched to have a specific impact on your microbiome. They are a resistant starch which means that they cannot be digested by amylase, which is used to break down carbohydrates. Therefore they are not fully broken down in your stomach and small intestine and they pass onto the large intestine where they are able to be fermented.
They are a source of fibre, which is very important for your gut health, feeding the mucus layer in your large intestine, adding hydration to your gut (all fruits and vegetables have different varieties of naturally occurring water) and they help to move food along your gut, aiding peristalsis. Fibre also helps to bulk out your meals, keeping you fuller for longer and they generally add great flavour, a little crunch, some welcomed colour to your plate and variety to your palate.
Resistant starches are a good source of pre-biotic foods, which feed the good bacteria in your gut. They increase the growth of short chain fatty acids, which helps you to feel more satisfied. Remembering that the more good bacteria you have in your gut the more these will flourish, grow and multiply, there is a symbiotic teamwork which occurs between the bacteria in the gut and the more good bacteria you have the better.
For those who eat red meat - resistant starch counterbalances the impact of red meat on your gut health by reducing the pro-mutagenic products caused by red meat fermentation in the bowel.
Some other sources of resistant starches include: green bananas, peas, cooked legumes & cooked and cooled rice and potatoes.
Baxter NT, Schmidt AW, Venkataraman A, et al. Dynamics of human gut microbiota and short-chain fatty acids in response to dietary interventions with three fermentable fibers. mBio. 2019; 10(1):e02566-18. doi: 10.1128/mBio.02566-18.
Green with envy potato salad recipe
Think soft melt in the mouth white potato and crunchy leafy greens with zucchini.
Ingredients: white potato, red onion, zucchini, avocado, pumpkin seeds, lettuce, freshly chopped dill, olive oil and nutritional yeast.