At a time when staying healthy is more important than ever, we sat down with Kelsey Moore, registered dietitian from Choices Markets, to chat all things gut health and get her recipe for a plant-based prebiotic-packed dip you can make at home. Plus, we’re giving you a chance to snag a $250 gift card to shop all your favourite healthy foods from Choices—talk about a win-win! —Vita Daily
Hi Kelsey! Why do you think gut health has become such a trending topic over the last few years?
Research in our gut microbiota and how it functions has increased drastically over the number of years. As a society, we are learning more and more about various digestive disorders, mood disorders, probiotics, prebiotics and how they all interrelate and work together. You would be surprised how much gut health impacts how we feel both mentally and physically. This is really becoming all the rage in nutritional health and it’s exciting to see it build momentum as such a hot topic.
Probiotics are everywhere now, can you tell us why they are important?
The word probiotics gets thrown around a lot these days. As a consumer, it’s important to know that not all fermented foods that claim to be probiotics are. Probiotics are microorganisms that have been researched and shown to have a specific health benefit on their host. Whereas, fermented foods are foods that are made with live microorganisms but the final product may or may not contain live microorganisms (i.e. sourdough bread is made with live microorganisms that are destroyed by heat when it’s baked). Even if the final product of a fermented food contains live microbes, these microbes may not have specific health benefits. When probiotics are studied it’s important to know that not only is a highly specific strain studied but also a particular amount as well. Fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut and miso, or high quality probiotic supplements may help to support general gut health or improve unwanted digestive symptoms. However, supplements can also be expensive so please reach out to an expert on probiotics before spending your money on something you may not need!
With prebiotics less commonly discussed, can you tell us what they are and what role they play in our health?
Prebiotics are a particular type of dietary fiber that act as fuel for our gut microbes. While probiotics have their role, prebiotics are often less talked about and are arguably more important as they nourish our existing good bacteria. Good news! Prebiotics are easy to get in our diet from a variety of food sources. Foods high in prebiotics include garlic, onions, bananas, chicory root, oats, flax, and Jerusalem artichokes to name a few.
With digestive disorders on the rise, how do you ensure you are choosing foods that are right for you?
With the internet being a vast source of information these days, it’s easy to be tempted to “self-diagnose” our tummy troubles! When it comes to digestive distress it’s important to seek professional help from a registered dietitian or your primary health care provider to ensure any potentially more serious issues are ruled out first! Overall, nutrition plays a very important role in our overall health and is often overlooked, but that is changing now and it’s beautiful to witness and be a part of.
Plant-Based Spinach & Artichoke Dip
1 ¼ cups raw unsalted cashews
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic
¾ cup chopped yellow onion
½ tsp sea salt and pepper
1 ½ cups soy milk
½ cup vegan cream cheese
6 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 14 oz can artichokes
4 cups chopped baby spinach
1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
Soak cashews in hot water for 1 hour, drain. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Heat a frying pan to low-medium. Once heated add olive oil. Sauté onions and garlic until the onion is translucent. In a blender, puree soaked cashews, half of garlic and onion, soy milk, vegan cream cheese, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper (or more to taste). Combine pureed mixture and all remaining ingredients into a lined casserole dish. Bake for ~10 mins (or until dip is hot and spinach is wilted, do not let the dip dry out!). Top with red pepper flakes (optional) and serve dip with air-fried sliced sweet potatoes or baked whole wheat pita.
Win! A $250 Choices Markets Gift Card!
Congrats Maeve G. of Vancouver, B.C., who will receive a $250 Choices Markets gift card! Choices Markets are located in Vancouver, North Vancouver, Burnaby, Surrey, Kelowna and Abbotsford, B.C. Please note: if you are the winner, you will receive a DM (direct message) in Instagram directly from @vitadaily.ca. Please be wary of fake accounts, which often use similar handles with an extra or missing letter, number or symbol. We will never ask for a payment or for your credit card number, and we will never ask you to click through a link. If you are unsure whether you have been contacted, via Instagram, by us or a fake account, email us before responding.