Tending our gut microbiota in menopause
Last week’s Big Read explored emerging research into the link between reduced gut microbiota diversity and menopause and the herbs and botanicals that may help.
This week, we are digging into prebiotics and the role they can play in nourishing our bodies and minds.
Prebiotics are the food components that feed and nourish the good bacteria in our gut. They are also now known to play a big part in the health-giving properties of an anti-inflammatory diet as they exist, in abundance, in so many of the food groups that feature in that protocol. By incorporating more prebiotics into our diets, we are also able to boost our immune system with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant goodness and increase our fibre intake too (around 90% of us in the UK aren’t eating enough fibre).
Our favourite prebiotic foods.
these humble grains are a powerhouse of goodness (it’s why we include them in MPowder Peri-Boost). Full of dietary fibres that promote healthy gut bacteria, they are also one of the richest plant sources of the Omega 3 fatty acid ALA, which supports heart health, as well as a rich source of plant-based protein.
named ‘food of the gods’ by the Mayans, researchers continue to find new value in the cacao pod. A rich source of minerals including magnesium, cacao also has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. We now also know that, as a rich source of polyphenols, cacao enhances the growth of ‘good’ gut bacteria as well as gut microbiota diversity. You can use cacao in so many ways. I love to make protein balls, using MPowder Meno-Boost and a good scoop of cacao, and then blend with dates, peanuts and nut butter. You can find the full recipe HERE.
oats are rich in beta-glucan, which again helps us produce healthy gut bacteria - but they also help our bodies to balance blood sugar, improve insulin sensitivity and reduce cholesterol which we become more predisposed to during our menopause transition.
Berries, chicory root and cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage also have great prebiotic qualities.
One of the toughest elements of our menopause journeys can be the sense that we suddenly need a new manual for our bodies. But what is exciting about the growing body of research into the potential of plants, wholefoods and smart supplementation, is that it gives us agency. Our biology is brilliant. And the foods we choose have health giving properties that often go beyond one specific benefit; helping us to harness our hormones in ways we’re still discovering.
This, in itself, highlights the importance of keeping a curious mind in midlife - and working out what works for you. Every journey is different. Each of us will have a unique menopause experience. Try new things. Track the impact. But know that, with the right support, this life stage is our stepping up point, not a fading away. Fuel yourself to move forward.
With love, Rebekah & The MPowder Team
Safety note: Nature packs a powerful punch. Before making any changes to your lifestyle, always seek advice from your medical practitioner - and remember supplements and wholefoods can impact absorption of prescription medicines. In addition, please note that a number of foods rich in prebiotics contain FODMAPs. If you have been advised to follow a low-FODMAP diet, or have been diagnosed with IBS, these foods may not be right for you.
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