What happens when hedgerow herbal knowledge meets microbiome science?
I attribute the high levels of diversity in my gut bacterial profile in part to my love of foraging wild foods, which means my diet is very diverse and full of plant-based nutrients that nourish my gut microbiome. Our hedgerows contain some potent microbiome boosters!
At this time of year, the hedgerows are full of blackberries and elderberries – two foods that contain especially high levels of a group of nutrients called polyphenols. Why is this important for your microbiome health? Polyphenols pass through our gut undigested, until they reach the large intestine where they feed certain bacteria, which in turn have a beneficial effect on our health.
Elderberries come top as the richest food source of polyphenols Researchers found elderberries have the highest polyphenol content by serving size in a 2010 study that tested 100 different foods. Blackberries come top tenth in polyphenol content by serve. While cloves and other spices have higher polyphenol content by weight, we eat smaller amounts of them, so serving size is important for assessing polyphenol content of foods in your diet. I made an infosheet for my clients wanting to know which foods are high in polyphenols: Top polyphenol-rich foods, which you can download here.