Saying goodbye to summer is hard but the prospect of frosty walks, crisp leaves crunching underfoot, cosy firesides, a glass of your favourite tipple and that contented feeling after a warming, satisfying meal make it easier. Autumn certainly has its benefits, but it’s also the advent of coughs and colds season.
Keeping our guts healthy is one way to help ward off the winter bugs. The Watercress Company has developed some mouth-watering autumnal dishes which are packed full of ingredients to help boost gut health – not least watercress itself.
For our trillions of gut bacteria, it’s the high content of polyphenol antioxidants (called flavonoids) in watercress which is of key interest as these are an important energy source for our microbiota. However, research has also shown a link between polyphenols and Vitamin C with corresponding antioxidant activity. Watercress contains exceptional levels of Vitamin C (gram for gram it contains more than an orange) and since flavonoids are also known to inhibit pathogenic bacteria that can cause disease, the potential in watercress as an excellent food to optimise our microbiome is clear.
Watercress is also a good source of fibre. A diet rich in fibre and polyphenols not only promotes our gut bacteria, but also ensures we benefit from the roles of vital metabolites (the main fuel for a large number of cells in the body), in optimising our health and metabolism.
So, as watercress has very high levels of flavonoids along with Vitamin C, and fibre it’s a remarkable leafy green to include in optimising our gut microbiome and therefore our long-term health and performance. What’s more, watercress has the potential to play a key role as part of a recovery diet after illness, and antibiotic treatment, all of which are known to reduce our microbiome.
With the science lesson over, let’s get onto the food! Enjoy these delicious dishes for the taste but relax in the knowledge that you’re prepping your body for the harder months to come and feeding it some really good, gut warming stuff!