Any starch that escapes the normal small bowel digestive processes is called ‘resistant starch’. Recent research on the gut microbiome shows that resistant starch stays around in the large bowel for longer and is fermented by the bacteria that live there. This process helps to maintain a healthy gut microbiome which I talk about in the brand new ‘Restore your Grateful Gut’ module, which is an optional, bonus learning module in the MyMT™ programmes.
When women come into the programmes, I encourage them to make my Organic Brown Rice salad. Not only is brown rice rich in insoluble fibre, which increases feacal bulk and keeps our gastro-intestinal tract healthy as we age, but for busy, active women, brown rice gives us the energy we need as well.
The best thing about cooked and cooled brown rice however, is that it helps to keep our gut micorbiome healthy. With a powerful connection between the gut and our mental health, for women transitioning menopause experiencing depression or who are already on Anti-depressants, then adding this Organic Brown Rice Salad to your day is a winner.
Wendy’s Favourite MyMT™ Brown Rice Salad:
- Cooked Organic Brown Rice (I generally make 2 cups worth)
- 2 stalks chopped spring onions
- 2 stalks chopped celery
- 1 chopped apple (with skin on)
- 1 chopped red pepper
- 1/4 cup of lightly steamed leek
- andful of baby spinach leaves
- 1/2 cup of raisins (preferably organic)
- 1/2 cup of walnuts
- 1/4 cup of chopped dates
- 1/4 cup of olives (optional)
- 1/2 can of drained chickpeas (optional, but great for additional protein)
2 tablespoons of olive oil / 1 freshly squeezed lemon
Rinse and boil the rice and allow to cool in the pot. When cold, place the amount you need into a salad bowl and add all the other ingredients. Mix through with the dressing.
When my own gut health changed as I was transitioning through menopause, I went to a conference in Australia about the Gut Microbiome. I learnt there that our microbiome has changed so much over the past few decades as it has been subjected to the modern western diet. Then with the changes to our digestive system that arrive in menopause as we lose oestrogen (I talk about these in the brand new GUT MODULE), this means that many of us experience changes in our digestive system that confuse us.
From bloating, to Irritable Bowel Syndrome, to constipation, diarrhoea, dysbiosis (a dysfunction to our gut bacteria) and gluten intolerance, it all becomes a confusing and frustrating time for many.
But the good news is that our gut just needs the right foods and it will continue to do a great job of looking after us! For example, in our gut we carry a unique population of bacteria – called our ‘microbiome’. This microbiome is made up of some very impressive numbers:
• we carry around 2kg of bacteria;
• that 2kg is made up of trillions of bacteria;
• they outnumber the cells in our bodies by about 10 to 1;
• more than 1000 different species have been identified.
Our microbiome carries out some important functions in our body. From ensuring proper digestion and helping with the production of some vitamins; through to playing an important role in our immune system, protecting us from ‘bad’ bacteria.
If, for some reason, our microbiome has been compromised – such as a tummy bug, antibiotics, chemotherapy, or born that way – you can help boost the population of ‘good’ bacteria in the gut by taking probiotics. There’s mounting evidence that probiotics improve resistance to disease and infection by enhancing immune response in the intestine. So it makes sense to increase the amount of probiotics we consume. Probiotics are live bacteria in yogurt, other dairy products, and there are relevant supplements as well. They are usually recommended after antibiotics. However, we also need to know about the role of PRE-BIOTICS and this is where my Brown Rice Salad comes in.
To me, prebiotics are more important at first, than probiotics. This is because prebiotics is a specialized plant fibre that beneficially nourishes the good bacteria already in the LARGE bowel or colon. While probiotics introduce good bacteria into the gut, prebiotics act as a fertilizer for the good bacteria that’s already there. They help your good bacteria grow, improving the good-to-bad bacteria ratio. This ratio has been shown to have a direct correlation to your health and overall wellbeing, from your stomach to your brain. For women going through menopause, this is important – the number of women who are prescribed anti-depressants at this time of their lives has never been higher. I wonder how many of you understand that as part of your depression management, your gut health and how you are exercising matters too.
But back to my rice salad. Part of the issue is that our ageing gut does not digest plant fibres well. Many are also not broken down by heat and cooking. But plant fibres help to promote the growth of many of the good bacteria in the gut and to help alleviate constipation. This is because they contain amylose. They are therefore called RESISTANT STARCHES.
Starch is ‘resistant’ when they don’t get digested in the stomach and small intestine. Hence, they travel further down your gut into your large bowel. Resistant Starches are critical to your on-going health as you age, which is why I am so passionate about knowing the role of resistant starch as a pre-biotic during menopause and post-menopause. These years are the ‘biological gateway’ to our ageing. In fact, consuming prebiotics on a daily basis decreases anxiety, depression, stress and enhances lower levels of cortisol.
As a summary, the best plant fibres for prebiotic health are:
– skin of apples
– onions and garlic
– jerusalem artichoke
– cooked and cooled kumara
– cooked and cooled brown rice
– cabbage (cooked slightly for better digestion)
That’s why making my Organic Brown Rice Salad is your starting point to better health as you age.
I’m Dr Wendy Sweet (PhD), a healthy ageing researcher from New Zealand and Founder of My Menopause Transformation, which are 12 week online programmes I’ve developed from my research, that step women through how to turn around symptoms and/or weight in mid-life.
I can’t wait for you to join me on my lockdown special, which is ending soon. Please use the promo code ATHOME20 on any Buy Now button in the programme which best suits you.