Spring sees nature transition almost seamlessly from the slow, cold, dark winter months towards the warmer, more vibrant summer months. Things often don’t go quite so smoothly for us, having spent the past few months cooped up indoors, fighting off infections, perhaps partying a little too hard over the festive period and overindulging in stodgier comfort foods - all of which can lead to
a slightly overburdened and sluggish gut. It's the perfect time to give your gut a bit of a service so that by the time summer comes round, you’re full of energy and raring to embrace the sunshine.
As we know, there’s not a body system or function that isn’t impacted by the state of our guts, so it’s super important we take every opportunity to give them the nutrients and conditions they need to function optimally. It’s almost like nature knows that, come spring, we’re feeling a little sluggish as and so provides us with a beautiful array of fibre and prebiotic rich fruit and veggies. This is
why eating seasonally is so important - nature has a funny way of providing us with exactly what we need throughout the year (isn’t that magic).
Here’s my top tips for your gut spring-clean:
Eat lighter and use lighter cooking methods. Think lots of seasonal veg and fruit (in that orderor priority), especially bitter greens top stimulate your gastric juices and boost digestion. Seasonal spring veg such as asparagus, mushrooms, Swiss chard and corn are rich in prebiotics, which stimulate the growth and activity of healthy bacteria in your gut - what did I tell you about nature having your back! The best cooking methods for this time of year are steaming, quick broiling, stir-frying and sautéing, just go steady on the oils - keep them for delicious dressings and always use high quality. Pickles and ferments are always a good idea to give your meals and snacks a hit of probiotic goodness. I especially love the Cultured Collective Fennel, Apple and Dill this time of year, it’s so fresh and goes perfectly with almost every seasonal spring dish.
Establish a routine of eating at regular internals throughout the day and avoid constant snacking. Leave adequate space (ideally 3-4 hours) between meals to give your body a chance to rest, if you’re constantly snacking, your digestive system is constantly working to break food down, which uses a lot of energy that would be better spent elsewhere, for example in detoxification, growth and cell repair. If you’re always hungry, this could be a sign that you’re not eating enough (or not eating enough of the right things), or an underlying imbalance such as blood sugar dysregulation. Work with a practitioner to address any imbalances and ensure you’re getting all you need through food.
Embrace all spring has to offer including but not limited to the list below:
• Asparagus: shredded and added to salads and pasta dishes, lightly steamed or sautéed with garlic, added to omelettes and frittatas
• Artichokes: steamed, boiled or grilled and added to salads and pasta dishes or used as a pizza topping
• Peas: steamed or sautéed and added to pasta and salad dishes or blended into dips with lots of herbs and lemon or lime juice
• Fava beans: cooked and added to salads, blended into dips with beans or feta, or toasted, spiced and sprinkled for a delicious crunchy savoury topping
• Seasonal berries: on their own as a snack, tossed through salads, made into a compote or chia jam to serve with pancakes, overnight oats or yoghurt
• Rhubarb: add to smoothies and seasonal crumbles, use in chia jam or compotes, stew or roast and serve with sweet breakfasts
• Watercress and rocket: add a handful to cooked meals as a side (eat this before the rest of what’s on your plate to promote digestion)
• Cabbage: in sauerkraut and kimchi, or finely sliced in slaw with walnuts, tahini and lemon juice.
• Beetroot: blended with chickpeas to make hummus, boiled or roasted and added to salads or simply enjoyed grated.
Happy gut loving and spring cleaning!
*bear in mind these are generalised tips and may not be appropriate for you - always speak to a nutritionist or qualified health
practitioner if you have any concerns or before making significant changes to your diet.
Hannah is a holistic nutritionist (BSc) with a special interest in brain health, cognitive function and the scope of nutrition in improving mental health and reducing cognitive decline. Follow Hannah on Instagram for delicious recipes and health tips: https://www.instagram.com/kinderkitchen.co/