Nutrition Nugget

Lauren Zimmerman, Registered Dietitian

 
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Step out of routine.

Regarding food choices and meals, it is easy to get into a habit of eating the same foods day after day and essentially living the same way day in and day out. While routine isn’t necessarily a bad thing, incorporating a variety of plant-based foods is beneficial as is making sure our lifestyle is in fact a health promoting one. Plant diversity is one of the strongest determinants for a healthy gut microbiome and it is a healthy gut microbiome that is correlated to numerous health factors such as metabolism, how well we absorb nutrients, the strength of the immune system, our mood and how we feel. Additional factors associated with a healthy microbiome include sleeping well, getting outside in nature, practicing mindfulness, exercise, and incorporating stress-reducing activities.

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So what are some practical tips that can ensure we have a healthy, strong, microbiome?

Here are a few of my suggestions:

  • Include meals comprised of whole food ingredients.

  • Include a variety of whole plant-based foods in every meal, incorporate new plants each week, try new recipes, or use the same recipes, just switch out the starches and vegetables.

  • Get outside - have a picnic, exercise outside, go on a hike, swim in the ocean, garden, and get your hands in the dirt.

  • Incorporate stress-reducing activities such as daily gratitude or journaling.

  • Get to bed early and make sleep a priority.

  • Move regularly, exercise, and enjoy the activity you participate in.

Our food choices have a big impact on our gut health but it isn't the only factor - our mind, body, food choices, and interaction with the environment are all connected and all play a role in our well-being.

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