Included in this research was a teenage empowerment event day at The Farm School, Harpenden, attended by HRH the Countess of Wessex. Crucially, the views of our next generation on the future of farming, sustainability and our environment were aired and valued.
We now know from rapidly growing research in this area that these trillions of bacteria residing in our large intestine have a vital role in the development of our immune system and are protective against disease from allergy to some cancers and mental health. They may even explain why some of us are more prone to weight gain than others and undoubtedly have a role in the prevention of Obesity and Diabetes.
Known as our Microbiome, these gut bacteria possess 300 x our own 20,000 genes. The good news is we can all enhance these crucial microbes just by altering our food choices. Prof Spector went to extreme lengths to demonstrate this by living with an African tribe recently for 4 days. Living extremely close to their land, their food and lifestyle practices nurture their microbiome; Prof Spector’s had improved in its diversity by 40% after the experience! This of course is the extreme, but less obsession with hygiene and an increase in sustainable farming practices promoting soil health are steps in the right direction towards better gut health.
Most importantly, I’m a Nutritionist after all, eating as wide a range of seasonal vegetables and therefore fibre, as possible is the best thing you can do straight away to nurture these vital health promoters! They gain their energy from fermenting the fibre in our food which we are otherwise unable to digest. The products released from this fermentation, so-called metabolites are the key to their beneficial effects on our health. You can read more about tending your gut bacteria here
Tucking into our freshly caught trout and watercress with my family that evening, I for one, felt very connected with our land, as did our two teens!
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Dr Lucy Williamson Msc
I am a Registered Nutritionist working to inform and inspire better health for all. Previously a Vet and with a family of my own, I understand the need for practical, evidence-based Nutrition advice within busy lives. My focus is on achieving healthier, happier lives through sustainable, good food choices and giving clarity amid confusing ‘healthy eating’ messages. Sharing Nutrition knowledge is my passion and, I believe, beneficial to everyone!