What we eat affects our weight and energy levels throughout the day. Improving the relationship we have with food can be liberating and fun. Not only that, but it can also open a whole new world of health and wellness benefits.
Did you know that 70% of our immune cells are found in our gut? 
You may be unaware of the impact of your diet on your immune system and how important it actually is to look after your digestive system.
Gut Health Through Fiber
The microbiome (the diverse array of bacteria and fungi that live in the gastrointestinal tract) is directly influenced by diet and lifestyle, which in turn influences immune cells.
The greater the number of microbes in your intestines, the thicker the mucus wall and the better the barrier between your body and your busy bacteria population. While the mucus barrier reduces inflammation throughout your body, bacteria aid in digestion, creating a win-win situation. [1, 2]
Fiber is a nutrient linked to fending off diseases, reducing the risk of a range of conditions, including type 2 diabetes, food allergies, and even arthritis. [3, 4, 5]
A high-fiber diet feeds and promotes the growth of healthy bacteria, which grow in number and variety as a result.
Foods high in fiber include:
- Legumes – Beans including pinto, navy, and black; split peas, lentils, chickpeas
- High-fiber vegetables – Artichokes, parsnips, potatoes, broccoli, pumpkin
- High-fiber fruits – Avocado, pear, raspberry, orange, banana, guava
- Whole grains
- Nuts and seeds
You can also get the fiber you need from Fiber Complete, which not only helps with regular bowel movements but also regulates blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Gut Health Through Fermented Foods
Fermented foods can offer many benefits to humans, such as improved digestibility, enhanced glucose tolerance, inhibition of pathogenic bacteria growth and bacterial toxin formation, and reduced risk of various illnesses and diseases. 
Fermented foods enhance the nutrient content of food, making it more bioavailable and digestible. Simultaneously, fermented foods can help regulate hunger hormones, in turn controlling weight. They can actually reduce sugar and carbohydrate cravings!
They boost the number of beneficial bacteria in your gut, some of which convert to hormones. Serotonin (the happy hormone) is one of these hormones, which determines whether you’re having a good mood today.
The microorganisms used in the production of fermented foods and beverages include:
- Bacteria such as lactic acid bacteria (Lactobacillus, Streptococcus, etc.)
- Molds such as Penicillium Chrysogenum
- Yeasts like Candida Humilis 
In today’s global food markets, there are more than 3,500 fermented food products and by-products available. [6, 7]
- Soy sauce
- Apple cider vinegar
- Amazake (Japanese rice beverage)
- Nate-sushi (Japanese fermented sushi)
- Pozol (Mexican fermented maize dough)
- Probiotic yogurt 
Your gut health can change seasonally, weekly, or even by the meal, so why not take more control of your gut health and weight by getting a copy of Dr. Nandi’s Superfood Cookbook. It gives you access to over 50 different recipes utilizing superfoods!
Healthy Probiotic-Rich Recipes for Your Gut Health
These meals are nutritionist-approved, which means that you can trust the science behind choosing the best ingredients for a probiotic-rich diet. You don’t have to spend time and effort trying to figure out which ingredients to include in your diet to support gut health!
- Roasted Veggie & Hummus Pita Pockets
- 1 6.5-inch whole-wheat pita bread
- 4 tablespoons hummus
- Half cup mixed greens
- Half cup roasted root vegetables, chopped
- 1 tablespoon crumbled feta cheese
- Cut pita bread in half and spread 2 tablespoons of hummus inside each half.
- Fill the pita pockets with a combination of greens, roasted vegetables, and feta cheese. 
Optional: serve with a side of yogurt for an additional serving of fermented food.
- Orange Kiwi Sorbet
- 4 medium oranges, sliced horizontally
- 2 very ripe kiwis, skin on and washed well
- 1.5 tablespoons locally sourced raw honey
- 1 tablespoon orange zest (optional)
- Juice the oranges and set aside approximately 1 cup of juice. Reserve the rind for later.
- In a high-powered blender, combine the orange juice, kiwis with the skin on, and honey. Blend until smooth.
- Pour the mixture into a container with a lid and freeze for 24 hours.
- When ready to serve, remove the sorbet from the freezer and scoop out desired portions. Optionally, top with orange zest before serving. 
- Shiitake Mushroom Bowls With Creamy Miso Sauce
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- Half cup sliced red onion
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms
- 6 cups kale or other greens, chopped
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas
- 3 cups oat milk
- Half teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 2 tablespoons miso paste
- Optional for serving: cooked farro, fresh basil, sesame seeds
- In a large skillet, heat up some grapeseed oil over medium-high heat.
- Add sliced onion to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes. Then, toss in garlic, shiitake mushrooms, and kale and continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms are browned and the kale is wilted.
- Stir in chickpeas, oat milk, and crushed red pepper. Lower the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.
- In a small bowl, whisk together ¼ cup of the sauce and miso paste. Pour the mixture back into the skillet and stir to combine.
- Serve the farro topped with the Chickpea and Mushroom sauce, fresh basil, and sesame seeds (optional). 
Your Lifestyle Choices Dictate Your Gut Health
When your immune system is supported, your gut microbiome can do its work properly––which includes further supporting your immune system.
Your lifestyle plays a huge role in your gut health, and psychological stress can have a detrimental impact on your gut. It’s important to learn tools and techniques designed to help unclutter your mind, decrease anxiety, and boost both your mental and physical health. Yoga, meditation, and journaling are beneficial healing modalities for stress.
Good sleep is equally important. Research shows that prebiotics, which are nutrients that support healthy intestinal microbiota and help improve sleep quality in humans. Also, supplementation with prebiotics has been shown to reduce stress-related sleep disturbances.
Lastly, your surroundings; spending time in nature exposes you to a range of bacteria, which leads to a richer and more diverse microbiome. Being around plants means that you get exposed to phytoncides — chemicals that plants use to protect themselves from certain types of bacteria and fungi. When these chemicals enter your body, your immune system responds by increasing the number of specific types of white blood cells called natural killer cells.
Feeling inspired? Why not join an ever-growing global community on a journey to healing their gut health and honoring their relationship with their bodies?
You can start by grabbing your FREE copy of Dr. Nandi’s Superfood Cookbook where you will find help for your dietary needs and a new appreciation for superfoods and healthy eating.
- If you want to boost immunity, look to the gut | UCLA Health Connect
- Fiber-Mediated Nourishment of Gut Microbiota Protects against Diet-Induced Obesity by Restoring IL-22-Mediated Colonic Health: Cell Host & Microbe
- Higher intake of fruits, vegetables or their fiber reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes: A meta‐analysis – Wang – 2016
- Dietary Fiber and Bacterial SCFA Enhance Oral Tolerance and Protect against Food Allergy through Diverse Cellular Pathways: Cell Reports
- Dietary intake of fibre and risk of knee osteoarthritis in two US prospective cohorts | Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases
- Fermentation-enabled wellness foods: A fresh perspective – ScienceDirect
- Fermented Foods, Health and the Gut Microbiome – PMC
- Fermentation-enabled wellness foods: A fresh perspective – ScienceDirect
- Roasted Veggie & Hummus Pita Pockets Recipe | EatingWell
- Zero Waste Orange Kiwi Sorbet | Lauren Manaker
- Shiitake Mushroom Bowls with Creamy Miso Sauce – Grateful Grazer