What is a well-balanced diet?

By Dr Harold Gunatillake - Health Writer

You thought that a well-balanced diet was composed of about 40% of carbs, 30% of fats of which 10% saturated fat and the rest proteins. The truth is that we have boarders in our gut needs to be fed, the allies looking after our health, wellbeing and longevity. Including foods that they love form a complete well-balanced diet.

We have over tens of trillions of micro-organisms, including at least 1000 different species of known bacteria with more than 3 million genes (150 times more than human genes)

We call them collectively 'Gut microbiota'
*They help the body to digest certain foods that the stomach and small intestine have not been able to digest- especially fibre
*They help with the production of some vitamins. Some create vitamins such as K, B5, B9 and B12.
Others help improve absorption of magnesium, calcium and iron.
*They help us combat aggressions from other microorganisms-intruders,
*They play an important role in the immune system. They extract energy from food to building the body's immune system, to protecting against infection with harmful, disease-causing bacteria

A healthy and balanced gut microbiota is the key to ensuring proper digestive functioning & good health

A balanced diet helps promote a well-structured microbiota, in which the different species of micto-organisms co-exist in a system of control and balance. A healthy diet is essential for maintaining a balanced and rich population of gut bacteria.

What foods do these gut microbiota love?
*East and South-east Asia - natto (fermented soy), kimchi (fermented cabbage), soy sauce, fermented fish sauce, fermented shrimp paste,
*Central Asia - kumis (fermented mare milk), kefir, and shubat (fermented camel milk);
*Europe - sauerkraut, kefir, crème fraiche, and rakfisk (salted, fermented trout);
*Middle East - fermented pickles, various yogurts, torshi (mixed vegetables);
*Fermented and pickled foods contain lots of probiotics which are beneficial to our digestive and immune systems

Apple Cider Vinegar
Drink a few drops of organic apple cider vinegar in your water daily (Not available in Sri Lanka). The vinegar is made by the fermentation of apple cider where the sugar from apples is broken down by bacteria and airborne yeasts into alcohol which turns into vinegar. Gut microbes loves it.

Palmyra and coconut toddy are sweet when quiet fresh, but bitter when fermentation sets in. Drink a glass daily to make gut microbes happy, and you too.

Kefir is a drink that has become increasingly popular because of its health benefits.

Kimchi is a spicy pickled Korean condiment that is similar to sauerkraut and the gut bugs love them.

Kombucha, commonly drunk in Japan, is another fermented drink loaded with vitamins, minerals, enzymes, probiotics, lactic acid and other properties that make an excellent health elixir-the bugs love.

Cheese, hoppers, pol arrack, red wine and beer, miso soup are other foods the bugs love.

Unsweetened low fat yoghurt is a probiotic and you should eat daily. Yoghurt has important bacilli that are friendly towards the gut bugs.

Include these foods in your diet to make it a well-balanced diet.

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