Smoothie for Supporting Gut Health and Immunity
Mar. 17. 2020
McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN
Dietitian, Founder and CEO
No matter what the season or our unique phase of health, it’s key to nourish our digestive system.
Nourishing and supporting our gut health is key to regulating blood sugars, supporting our immune function, and the absorption and utilization of the nutrients we consume through our diet.
This smoothie contains all whole food ingredients that support your digestive health! From kefir which is a fermented probiotic beverage, yogurt, ground flax seeds which are rich in fiber, beans which are a great source of soluble fiber, and berries which are loaded with antioxidants to reduce inflammation .
Happy Healthy Gut
It’s no secret that what we eat has a significant impact on our health and it’s been shown that gut health can influence other areas of our health, like our immune systems. The gut microbiome “trains” our immune systems by communicating with our cells about how to respond to infection so having a healthy gut is imperative to overall immune system health.
Our bodies contain around 3-5 pounds of bacteria in our digestive system and the bacteria cells in our body even outnumber human cells 10 to 1. Our digestive systems are also home to yeast and it is important to maintain a good balance between the bacteria and the yeast present for our digestive systems to function at their normal level.
So how do you support your body for better gut health? First, check with your dietitian or doctor so they can get you on a nutrition and lifestyle plan that will support your unique needs. Nutrition Stripped offers wellness coaching for those who need support.
Otherwise, try incorporating more fermented foods into your diet like kimchi, kefir, and kombucha that may promote a healthy gut environment. If you’re eating the Standard American Diet, it’s likely you’re not getting enough probiotic-rich food to support a healthy gut. In addition, be sure to manage stress, move your body, and check-in with your unique hunger and fullness levels as we teach in The Method.
Kefir is a type of fermented milk drink that has been linked to a long list of benefits. This cultured dairy product is made by combining kefir grains with milk to produce a creamy, flavorful beverage that’s packed with probiotics.
Kefir is a great source of several important nutrients, including protein, phosphorus, calcium, and vitamin B12, all of which play a central role in overall health ( 1 ). Additionally, kefir is low in lactose, which means that consuming a kefir drink is likely to be more well-tolerated than regular milk for those with lactose intolerance ( 2 ). In animal studies, kefir has also been shown to reduce inflammation and possess anti-allergic properties, indicating that it could be useful in the treatment of conditions like asthma ( 3 ).
Aside from kefir milk, there are plenty of other options for enjoying this delicious, gut-friendly drink. Goat milk kefir, kefir cheese, and kefir yogurt, for example, are widely available as an alternative to traditional dairy products. Meanwhile, coconut milk kefir or water kefir are two popular alternatives for those following a dairy-free or plant-based diet .
Good news for yogurt lovers: you can easily boost your intake of probiotics by simply switching up your shopping list. Next time you’re at the grocery store, look for a brand of yogurt that has been cultured with probiotics. This type of yogurt is produced using fermented milk and typically contains lactic acid bacteria to ramp up the concentration of probiotics.
If you have high blood pressure, probiotic yogurt may be especially beneficial. According to one review in The British Journal of Nutrition, consuming fermented milk in foods like probiotic yogurt may be effective at reducing both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, especially in those with high blood pressure already ( 4 ).
Beans are a rich source of fiber, especially soluble fiber. In addition to providing digestion health benefits, eating enough fiber is good for your entire body! We know the majority of our immune system lies within our gut so it’s so important we take care of our gut health with eating enough probiotic-rich foods or prebiotic foods that promote healthy bacteria, regular bowel movements, regulate blood sugars, and better nutrient absorption.
Written By: McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN Dietitian, Founder and CEO
McKel is a leading voice in nutrition and mindful health, awarded "Top 20 Role Models" named by Arianna Huffington. As a Dietitian, Coach, and Author her mission is to make it simple to apply the science of nutrition and practice the art of healthy living to achieve your best health. In her work, she guides people to design a way of eating and living that’s unique to their body and lifestyle to make sustainable change out of small daily practices.
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1 scoop vanilla plant-based protein powder
Smoothie bowl toppings, optional: Simple Seed Mix , fresh fruit, ground flaxseed
Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until thick and creamy. If you’re making a smoothie to drink with a straw, then add the water, otherwise omit the water for a smoothie bowl to make it thicker.
When freezing beans, thoroughly rinse a can of organic beans (or you can use dry and cooked) and pat dry, then lay them flat on a cookie sheet to freeze them so they don’t clump. Then place in a freezer-safe reusable bag for later.
Can’t wait to see you try it!
Did you know that you can submit your own photo of whatever recipe you make from NS? Scroll down to the bottom right and you’ll see a section for you to show off your creations from home! Can’t wait to see how you make these and share your meal with me! Tag us on Instagram @nutritionstripped #nutritionstripped