The Big MACs

gut health nutrition Aug 04, 2023

Well, this article probably won’t be about what you may be thinking…we are talking gut health!

As you are probably aware, our gut has trillions of beneficial bacteria collectively known as the gut microbiota. These play a crucial role in our overall health and well-being, influencing digestion, immune function and even mental health. To keep our gut microbes happy and thriving, it's essential to provide them with the right nourishment on a daily basis. Enter Microbiota Accessible Carbohydrates (MACs).

MACs are a specific group of carbohydrates that the gut microbiota can easily digest and ferment. These carbohydrates are often referred to as prebiotics because they serve as a source of food for beneficial gut bacteria. When gut microbes ferment MACs, they produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), such as butyrate, acetate, and propionate. SCFAs provide numerous health benefits, including reducing inflammation, supporting the gut lining and promoting a balanced immune response.

MACs are pretty easy to find. Various plant-based foods are rich sources of MACs including:

  • Fiber-rich fruits and vegetables such as bananas, onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus and Jerusalem artichokes are excellent sources of inulin and fructooligosaccharides (FOS), which are prebiotic fibers.

  • Whole grains such as oats, barley and wheat contain resistant starch, another type of prebiotic that supports gut health.

  • Legumes such as lentils, chickpeas and beans contain soluble fibers that act as prebiotics and benefit the gut microbiota.

Feeding our gut microbiota with MACs is essential for maintaining a diverse and balanced gut ecosystem. A healthy and diverse gut microbiota has been linked to numerous health benefits, including improved digestion, enhanced immune function and a reduced risk of chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Got your attention yet? As you can see, MACs are extremely important for many different reasons and here are a few tips to help you increase your daily MACs intake:

  • Eat the color of the rainbow - consume a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables to provide your gut microbes with diverse prebiotics.

  • Choose whole grains - opt for whole grains over refined grains to increase your intake of resistant starch.

  • Embrace legumes - include legumes in your meals, such as adding chickpeas to salads or lentils to soups.

  • Fermented foods - yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi also support gut health by providing live probiotic bacteria.

MACs are essential for nourishing our gut microbiota and promoting better health, thereby leading to better athletic performance. By incorporating a variety of prebiotic-rich foods into your daily, metabolically efficient eating plan, you can better support your gut microbes, improve digestion and foster overall well-being.

Now, if you are an athlete who stays away from these wonderful foods because you experience GI distress before, during, or after training or competition, then you MUST watch my free masterclass, “GI Distress and Endurance Athletes”. You will learn a ton about how to combat GI distress.

Happy training!


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