One of the best things you can do for your gut health is to incorporate more vegetables into your diet. Not only are they packed with essential vitamins and minerals, but they also contain fiber that the microbiome needs to keep your digestive system running smoothly. And what better way to ensure that you're eating the freshest, most nutrient-dense vegetables than by growing them yourself in your home garden?
In this article, we'll take a look at some of the best vegetables for your gut health that are easy to grow in your home garden and then chart the ideal conditions, time to plant, and when to harvest. Whether you have a small balcony or a sprawling backyard, you can grow these vegetables with little effort and enjoy their many health benefits.
Broccoli is a nutritional powerhouse loaded with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It's also a great source of sulforaphane, a compound that has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. Broccoli is easy to grow and can be planted in the early spring or fall. Just make sure to give it plenty of sun and water, and you'll have a bountiful harvest in no time.
Kale is another nutrient-dense vegetable that's great for gut health. It's packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and also contains antioxidants that help protect your body against damage from free radicals. Kale is a hardy plant that can withstand cold temperatures, making it a great option for fall and winter gardens. It's also easy to grow from seed, so you can start your own kale plants indoors and transplant them to your garden when they're ready.
Spinach is a leafy green that's, again, high in fiber, the fuel for powering healthy microbes in the gut. It is also high in iron and vitamins A, C, and K. Additionally, leafy greens like spinach contain sulfoquinovose, which is a specific type of sugar that has been found to benefit gut bacteria. This sugar helps maintain a healthy gut microbiota in different ways than fiber can, so leafy greens should be considered essential to a healthy gut diet. (Funny how grandma always turns out to be right in the end, “Eat your greens, sonny!”)
Spinach prefers cooler temperatures, so it's a great option for spring and fall gardens. Plant spinach seeds directly in the ground or in containers, and make sure to keep the soil moist for the best results.
Beets are a root vegetable that's high in fiber, potassium, and folate. They're also a good source of betaine, a compound that helps reduce inflammation and improve digestion. Beets are easy to grow and can be planted in the early spring or late summer. They prefer cooler temperatures and moist soil, so make sure to water them regularly.
Carrots are a crunchy, low-calorie vegetable that's packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They're also a good source of antioxidants that help protect your body against cellular damage. Carrots are easy to grow and can be planted in the early spring or late summer. They prefer cooler temperatures and well-draining soil, so make sure to water them regularly and provide plenty of sun.
Here’s a handy chart you can use to select which vegetables you’d like to grow, based on sun exposure and your soil conditions.
|Spinach||Full sun or partial shade||Moist but well-drained||6.5 to 8||Regular watering||Regular fertilizing||One month after planting|
|Beet||Full sun||Rich and well-drained||6 to 7.5||Regular thinning and watering||Regular fertilizing||One to three months after planting|
|Broccoli||Full sun||Fertile with good drainage||6 to 7||Regular watering||Regular fertilizing||Two to three months after planting.|
|Carrots||Full sun||Loose and sandy||5.5 to 7||Regular thinning and watering||None required||Two to four months after planting|
For more information on preparing your garden, including how to prepare your soil and the best natural ways to nurture your crops, see our post on Probiotic Gardening.
Think of your home garden as your own prebiotic factory! By growing these vegetables in your home garden, you can ensure that you're getting the freshest, most nutrient-dense produce, and combining that with your BiotiQuest probiotic regime is the ultimate for your gut health.
|Ken Kubota is a guest blogger and is a remarkable digital health product leader, who brings both passion and expertise to his work. He began his career as an engineer. From there, he went on to work directly with the legendary Andy Grove, the CEO of Intel, as the managing director of his Parkinson’s disease philanthropy for over a decade. During this time, Ken led teams of scientists in developing groundbreaking new technologies and treatments for Parkinson’s disease, including the first digital motor test battery and a cutting-edge wearable sensor system. Ken is also a recipient of the prestigious BioIT award, and the founder of the innovative digital health company, RosettaMD. His passion for health and wellness comes from his own experiences as a child struggling with asthma, which he overcame through competitive swimming. Today, he loves nothing more than helping others achieve their own personal peaks, and finding new and innovative hacks to help them along the way. At his core, Ken believes that we’re all underdogs in one way or another, but that’s what makes us strong. He loves placing bets on the underdogs because they remind us that “where there is a will, there is a way!” So if you’re ready to take your health and wellness to the next level, Ken is the perfect partner to help you get there.|
Martha Carlin, is a “Citizen Scientist”, systems thinker, wife of Parkinson’s warrior, John Carlin, and founder of The BioCollective , a microbiome company expanding the reach of science and BiotiQuest, the first of it’s kind probiotic line. Since John’s diagnosis in 2002, Martha began learning the science of agriculture, nutrition, environment, infectious disease, Parkinson’s pathology and much more. In 2014, when the first research was published showing a connection between the gut bacteria and the two phenotypes of Parkinson’s, Martha quit her former career as a business turnaround expert and founded The BioCollective to accelerate the discovery of the impact of gut health on all human disease. Martha was a speaker at the White House 2016 Microbiome Initiative launch, challenging the scientific community to “think in a broader context”. Her systems thinking background and experience has led to collaborations across the scientific spectrum from neuroscience to engineering to infectious disease. She is a respected out of the box problem solver in the microbiome field and brings a unique perspective to helping others understand the connections from the soil to the food to our guts and our brains.
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