Last time we chatted we introduced the topic of your second brain - the bacteria in your stomach that have many health promoting functions (when in good shape). Below are the top 6 recommendations for keeping your stomach happy! 1. Ditch the Anti-bacterial Soap These soaps have been proven to be no more effective than normal soap and water for washing hands and carry the risk of killing off your gut bacteria if food is eaten afterwards and residue remains. 2. Eat a Diverse Range of Foods A diverse internal gut flora is considered to be a healthy one (greater number of health benefits contributed). Eating a diverse diet rich in whole foods can lead to diverse gut flora, which is beneficial for your health. 3. Eat Fermented Foods and Drinks These foods have friendly bacteria in them that may survive and reach your stomach in tact. Thes foods include sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, live yoghurt, un-pasteurised cheese/butter, kombucha and tempeh. I love the taste of these foods especially kimchi and kombucha! 4. Eat lots of Veggies, Legumes, Beans and Fruit + Resistant Starch Vegetables, legumes, beans and fruit feed your good bacteria and also impart vitamins and minerals. Foods that top the list (in terms of promoting a healthy gut) are - raspberries, artichokes, green peas, broccoli, chickpeas, lentils, and Beans (kidney, pinto and white). Resistant starch in cold pre-cooked potatoes, green bananas and legumes such as lentils and beans have prebiotics that feed your good gut bacteria. 5. Avoid Artificial Sweeteners Aspartame tends to promote bad bacteria and some studies have also shown they negatively affect blood sugar levels. Natural sugar alternative such as Stevia and Erythritol seem safer based on research. Stevia promotes good bacteria and Eryhtritol has no affect at all. 6. Eat Foods Rich in Polyphenols Polyphenols are plant compounds. Most make their way easily to the colon, where they can be digested by our gut bacteria. Therefore they are a good food source for our healthy gut bacteria. Good sources of polyphenols include - Cocoa and dark chocolate, Red wine, Grape skins, Green tea, Almonds , Onions, Blueberries, and Broccoli.