CAT | Digestive Health
Many studies point to the health benefits of probiotics, the “friendly” bacteria in the gut that promote a balanced digestive environment and in turn support healthy digestion, regularity and immune function. To find them in our daily diets, we often look to fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir and kombucha, but a new study shows the same beneficial microbes can be found in your wine glass.
Researchers from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in Spain recently looked at nearly a dozen strains of bacteria commonly found in wine, including some strains of Lactobacillus (found in yogurt). They discovered that not only could those strains survive exposure to gastric juices and enzymes in our saliva—which can damage bacterial cell walls—but that they did it even better than many commonly used strains.
In addition, the strains of bacteria isolated from wine were shown to be especially good at sticking to the intestinal walls, which means they could help harmful bacteria from entering the gut and potentially damaging our health. One strain in particular (P. pentosaceus CIAL-86) was even able to help protect against harmful E. coli bacteria, the study showed.
However, before you decide that a glass or two of your favorite vintage is all you need to support a healthy, balanced gut, keep in mind that it may not be enough. Much of the good bacteria used in the wine-making process are eliminated during another process called sulfating—during which sulfites are added to help preserve the wine and prevent oxidation. Still, says study author study author Dolores González de Llano, probiotics “could be isolated from wine in order to be commercialized as probiotics, or added to functional foods.”
Fall means football season, and football season means… food! Because we know game day is one of the toughest times to find healthy eating options, we’re serving up three delicious and good-for-you recipes from Brenda Watson’s new book, The Skinny Gut Diet. Whether you’re tailgating on the road or spending the weekend at home with your favorite football fans, these party-worthy recipes guaranteed to score big and help you stick to your health and weight loss goals.
Savory Egg Salad
4 hard-boiled eggs
1 tsp. prepared mustard
1 tbsp. mayonnaise
1 tbsp. pickle relish
4 tbsp. chopped celery
2 tsp. celery seeds
Freshly ground black pepper
Directions: Place eggs in small bowl; mash with fork. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Chill 20 minutes and enjoy. Note: This recipe makes two servings. Be sure to double or triple for large groups. And for a fun party idea, add lettuce and make lettuce leaf wraps!
Homemade Salsa in an Avocado Boat
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 serrano chili or jalapeño pepper, chopped
1/3 cup scallions, chopped
2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
¼ tsp. salt
1 avocado, halved, seed removed and partially hollowed out
Directions: Place all ingredients except avocado in a large bowl; mix well. Chill 20 minutes. Serve salsa atop avocado halves. Note: Serves two; adjust recipe as necessary.
Simple Beef Bruschetta
3 tsp. coconut oil
½ cup halved artichoke hearts (packed in water)
¼ red onion, minced
1 ripe tomato, diced
3 fresh basil leaves, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
8 oz. lean boneless beef, such as top round or sirloin, cut into ½-inch slices
¼ tsp. cracked black peppercorns
¼ tsp. dried Italian seasoning
Directions: Coat grill pan or cast-iron skillet with 2 tsp. coconut oil and heat over medium-high heat. Lightly brown artichokes on each side, 2–3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool; cut into smaller pieces. In a small bowl, combine artichoke hearts, onion, tomato, remaining 1 tsp. coconut oil, basil, garlic and vinegar. Season beef with peppercorns and Italian seasoning. In the same skillet, sear beef over medium-high heat about 2 minutes per side, until nicely browned. Transfer to plate; top with artichoke bruschetta mixture and serve. Note: Serves two; adjust recipe as necessary.
See Chapter 13 in The Skinny Gut Diet for more healthful and delicious recipes and meal ideas!