As summer is in full swing, it’s important to understand that summer is a great time to try all the seasonal foods that are in full bloom. Lately I’ve seen Roselle Hibiscus plants at the Grocery Stores which remind me the days of living in Taiwan. The Taiwanese boil Hibiscus leaves and then strain the water when the tea is cool. They then add in honey and drink that to boost immunity as Hibiscus leaves are abundant in Vitamin C. I also remember going into a farmer’s market there in May and asking for garlic and the farmer informing me that they wouldn’t have garlic in season for the next 4 months. Needless to say, my jaw just dropped! I couldn’t imagine my life without garlic. Eating seasonally is such a great way of feeding your gut microbiome but in the Western world, we tend to eat the same things year round and avoid the flourishing of gut bugs that come with trying new foods!


We celebrated World Microbiome Day this past week and the theme of this year, is feeding your microbiome. I think post COVID, it’s only fair that all the bugs that we lost with our hand sanitizers and overly clean environments, should now be replenished through food. This year we will be talking more and more about feeding your gut microbiome through various different foods, prebiotics (my favourite) and probiotics. For those who are new, the gut microbiome are the trillions of bacteria that reside in our gut and on us. We have a microbiome that lives on our skin, in our mucosal membranes of the sinus, respiratory tract, gut, all the way down to our reproductive organs. We live symbiotically with these complex microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microbes. These microscopic inhabitants out number our human cells by about 10 to 1 and have a significant influence on many bodily functions. Most of our bacteria live in our longest part of our digestive system which is our colon and are responsible for the absorption of nutrients, minerals and influencing our immune system in a positive manner. The colon is an ideal location for the gut microbiome due the longer transit time, and a favourable pH level. These bugs survive the hydrochloric acid of the upper gastrointestinal tract and reach the colon, where they are then fermented by our gut bugs to produce all kinds of acids and by-products which speak to our immune system. Think of your gut microbiome as an Amazon rain forest and not a garden of weeds. When this ecosystem flourishes, you flourish in every aspect of HEALTH!


What are Prebiotics?

Prebiotics are non-digestible food components that selectively stimulate the growth and activity of beneficial bacteria in the gut. They essentially serve as food for probiotics and other good bacteria. Both soluble and Insoluble prebiotics can improve digestive health by regulating bowel movements and preventing constipation. Prebiotics are known to boost levels of Bifidobacteria which is a microbe that we lose as we get older. Inulin, found in green bananas, onions, leeks, and garlic are an important prebiotic fibre which is important in modulation of this gut ecosystem. Prebiotics also feed lactobacillus which is an important anti-inflammatory gut microbe and probably the most well studied in aspects of gut disorders. Various different types of fibres are prebiotics for our gut microbiome and yes, even potatoes and rice if consumed cold.



Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when consumed in adequate amounts, confer health benefits to the host. These beneficial bacteria can colonize the gut and help maintain the balance of the microbiome. Your fermented foods such as kefir’s, kombucha’s, sauerkraut, kimchi’s are best known as probiotics. The lactic acid produced by these fermented foods are important to suppress pathogen growth and have a lot of anti-inflammatory effects as well as gut lining re-building effects. They are transient through the gut and confer beneficial effects while they there. I personally feel that we should all be consuming some form of probiotics every day, and if it’s home-made, it’ll be better for your gut microbiome. As a Nutritionist, my advice that if it’s a new food that you have not tried before, start off with 1 teaspoon and move on from there.


One of the other microbiomes which is getting a lot of attention is Akkermansia. This has become quite well known in stimulating GLP-1, which is a peptide secreted by our guts in response to food. Akkermansia muciniphila is a beneficial bacterium found in the gut that plays a crucial role in maintaining gut health and overall metabolic health. This bacterium is known for its ability to degrade mucin, a component of the gut lining, which in turn supports gut barrier function and modulates the immune system. Increasing the abundance of Akkermansia can be beneficial for conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and inflammation. Foods that stimulate Akkermansia growth are berries, green tea, pomegranate, grapes, walnuts and Omega-3 Fatty acids.


I hope I have given you enough to make a good plate of a prebiotic, probiotic and Akkermansia boosting meal! Happy Sunday everyone.