Every Meal Should Have These Three Things, According To A Nutritionist

Professor Tim Spector recommends these for fighting allergies, infections, cancer, and ageing and reducing inflammation.

Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London and co-founder of the health app ZOE, has spoken on his Instagram this week about the three principles he keeps in mind when making a meal to ensure that he’s looking after his gut.

Spector is a huge advocate for gut health. Back in 2022, he spoke to The Guardian about why he’s on a mission to inform people about nutrition, he said: “Once people start seeing that there is this link between the food we eat, our microbes and our immune systems, I think that changes the way we think about food. It’s not just fuel. It really is changing the way our body works.”

Now, in the recent video, he highlights the things that he keeps in mind and what you should, too, when preparing a meal.

What you should eat to protect your gut health

Add plenty of polyphenols

Prof Spector says that these are: “a type of defence chemical in plants which gives them their bright colour and bitter taste”. As well as protecting plants, polyphenols feed your ‘good gut’ bacteria and limit the growth of bad bacteria.

According to ZOE, foods containing this include:

  • Berries
  • Cocoa powder
  • Spices
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Olives and olive oil
  • Beans
  • Vegetables, particularly globe artichokes. red onion, green chicory and spinach
  • Soy products such as soy flour, soy yoghurt, tofu, and soy milk

Make sure you are getting plenty of fibre

According to Prof Spector, over 90% of adults in the UK aren’t getting enough fibre. He recommends consuming nuts, seeds, whole grains, pulses, beans, fruits and vegetables to up your fibre.

Add fermented foods to your diet

The professor says that the trick with fermented foods is to have them little and often. For him, this means mixing kefir into salad dressings, adding sauerkraut and kimchi to sandwiches, salads, and on the sides of soups and stews. He added that research has found that including fermented foods can increase your gut microbiome diversity.

By following these principles, you’ll be incorporating lots of different plants into your diet and improving your gut health.