The human microbiome consists of many different microorganisms that live inside our gut and on our bodies and with whom we have developed mutually beneficial cooperation. Although scientists agree that the original human microbiome develops within the first 1,000 days of life, it can be altered during one’s life. One of the main ways to do this is through food, and fiber plays a major role.
Why is microbiome health important?
A varied and healthy diet fuels our body cells and also supports our microbiome, the richness and the total number of microorganisms. Microorganisms are most abundant in our gut. The better and viable the intestinal microbiome, the thicker the protective layer of microbes is on our intestinal wall. The latter helps reduce inflammatory processes throughout the body, helps digest food and keeps our immunity strong.
Over the last decade, research has also found more and more links between our microbiome and our emotions. Anger, stress, anxiety, sadness, joy, contentment – all of these feelings, and many others, often affect our stomach health. Stomach health problems can also affect our mental well-being. So what we eat and the health of our microbiome is also expressed in our emotional health.
How to keep your microbiome healthy?
The most effective way to take care of yourself and your microbiome is to consume natural and wholesome food. A special favorite of our microbiome is the different types of fiber found in food, which are found in abundance in vegetables and fruits, whole grains (whole grain rice, buckwheat, barley), bran, beans, lentils, peas, nuts and seeds. Vegetables also contain valuable fiber: onions, garlic and leeks.
The easiest way to take care of your microbiome on a daily basis is to eat healthy and wholesome food that contains these food groups. Sour vegetables and fermented dairy products are also a very good choice. At the same time, it has been established that the natural environment and domestic animals also have a positive effect on our microbiome and contribute to its species richness.
One should be careful with sugar intake. Excess sugar in our body reduces the protective layer formed by microorganisms in our intestines and increases the risk of inflammation in the body. Excess sugar also tends to shift the balance of the microbiome in favor of yeasts, which can lead to unpleasant fungal diseases. It is also a good idea to avoid taking antibiotics when ill to help preserve the health of the microbiome.
What is inulin and what is a prebiotic?
Inulin is a soluble fiber that is also a prebiotic. A prebiotic is a fiber that promotes the activity of beneficial bacteria in our gut. In its natural form, inulin is found in artichokes, asparagus, chicory and dandelion, garlic, leeks and onions. In recent years, inulin has been increasingly added to food products, where it gives the product a sweet taste and a silky texture. Today, inulin is mainly found in cereals and dairy products, as well as in beverages. Inulin added to foods is mainly obtained from chicory root.
Consumption of prebiotic inulin promotes the life of “good” intestinal bacteria and thus the normal functioning of the protective layer of intestinal wall microbes. In addition, research links inulin to a number of other positive health effects. For example, inulin also helps relieve constipation, regulate blood sugar and appetite, and promote the absorption of calcium in our gut. If a person has not previously consumed foods fortified with inulin, it is wise to start with smaller amounts so that the body and intestines can get used to the upped amount of fiber.
A new product line that supports the health of the microbiome
In addition to other products containing inulin, there is a new product range arriving into the Estonian market – super cookies from the domestic manufacturer Metsaoru. These cookies are made from the best organic ingredients, are gluten-free, sugar-reduced and enriched with prebiotic fiber. “The super cookie product range is aimed at health-conscious consumers who are looking for ways to make more informed choices, but do not want to compromise on taste,” commented Metsaoru CEO Jaanika Kuklase-Paling on the new products.
The fresh product line includes three products: almond cookies with raw chocolate, sesame cookies and vegan almond biscotti. Melt-in-your-mouth almond biscuits with raw chocolate have a 50% sugar content from a regular biscuit and are enriched with prebiotic fiber inulin. The sesame cookies have a nice crunchy texture, a high fiber content and are sugar free. Inulin and the natural sweetener Erythritol make the sesame cookies taste sweet. Delicious almond biscotti made from plant ingredients contain ground flax seeds, which are rich in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.
“Metsaoru’s new supercookie series offers a pleasant and uncompromising alternative for those who want a sweet from time to time, but keep an eye on their sugar consumption. The inulin added to the cookies is great here, giving the cookies both a sweet taste and increasing their fiber content. In addition, the cookies taste great! ”