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How to have a Gut-Loving Christmas

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Two top tips for ensuring your gut microbes don’t miss out on the festive fun this Christmas season:

  • Make your plates as colourful as you can, getting plenty of plant-based diversity – aim for 30 different types a week.
  • Sneak in extra plant goodness wherever you can, for example switching out half of your mincemeat for lentils in your Bolognese, adding nuts and seeds into your breakfast bowl or topping your pizza with some extra veggie goodness.

 

Walnuts & Gut Health: What’s the link?

When was the last time you ate walnuts? If it was more than a week ago, it’s worth reading on! Walnuts are the only tree nut to contain a significant amount of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA, 2.7g per 30g serve) – that’s the type of omega-3 essential fatty acid found in plants. This makes walnuts one of the best plant-based sources of omega-3, which is one of the key nutrients to consider if you’re going purely plant-based, for your gut and overall health.

 

And it gets better, eating walnuts may also positively affect your gut microbes. In fact, a recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition showed that those who ate up to 42g of walnuts a day for three weeks had an increase in beneficial gut bacteria while having a decrease in secondary bile acids (thought to contribute to colon cancer) and reduced LDL cholesterol levels (the type of cholesterol you don’t want much of as it’s linked to increasing your risk of heart disease). You can read a little more about the science at www.californiawalnuts.co.uk/gut-health.

 

Health benefits aside, walnuts are super versatile and their moreish taste and texture makes them perfect for adding to dishes for an extra nutritional punch. This Christmas, I’m teaming up with California Walnuts* to spread the gut-love and share a deliciously festive recipe that not only tastes great, but your gut microbes will enjoy too.

For me, Christmas dinner is all about the sides. That’s where the magic happens…