Bircher Muesli- Good for the Gut
Bircher muesli started with a Swiss doctor, Maximilian Oskar Bircher-Benner, wanting his patients to eat more raw fruit and vegetables, particularly apples for good health. His style of Bircher muesli was a little different to most we eat now days, it had more grated apple than most varieties have today with a small amount of oats, nuts and seeds. Before each meal he fed his patients at his clinic a small bowl of his Bircher muesli (1).
What is in Bircher muesli?
There are many version of Bircher muesli now days, most of which involve soaking the oats overnight mixed with cream, yoghurt and/or apple juice and grated apple. This recipe uses the same principles, soaking the oats in Rokeby Farms Probiotic Filmjolk so they are tender and delicious to eat.
You can then add what you like, from nuts, seeds, spices such as cinnamon, lemon juice, dried fruit and fresh fruit when ready to eat.
Why eat Bircher muesli for your gut?
Due to the range of ingredients that are minimally processed Bircher muesli has a lot to offer from a nutritional point of view. From protein, carbohydrate, vitamins (2), minerals, dietary fibre and good bacteria.
There are many reason this muesli is good for our gut health. Starting with the probiotic bacteria found in the Rokeby Farms Probiotic Milk. It contains 15 live and active cultures and 50+ billion good bacteria per serve. These strains of bacteria have been show to help maintain healthy gut flora and bowel regularity.
Having a good diversity of gut bacteria research suggests is important for many aspects of our health including heart disease and inflammatory bowel conditions. As well as drinking and eating foods that contain good gut bacteria such as Filmjolk, yoghurt and other fermented foods we can also feed our gut bacteria with prebiotic fibre to encourage a range to thrive.
The dietary fibre from the rolled oats, apples and nuts all the great benefit to our gut. Some this fibre will act as prebiotic fibre to feed our good gut bacteria. (2)
Prebiotic fibre is a type of fibre that must pass through the digestive system undigested and stimulate the growth and/or activity of certain ‘good’ bacteria in the large intestine. The prebiotic fibre is fermented by the gut bacteria (it is a food for them) in the large intestine. This produces gases, called short chain fatty acids that help keep the gut tissue healthy and can pass into the blood stream, traveling around the body resulting in many other health benefits. The prebiotic fibre help stimulate growth of the good gut bacteria. (3)
Prebiotic fibre is found in a range of plant foods, but not all fibre is prebiotic, meaning not all fibre is fermented, some fibres have other health benefits such as bulking stools to keep us regular. In this muesli prebiotic fibre is found in the oats, apple, nuts and seeds along with a range of the other types of fibre to bulk stools and slow the rate of digestion in the small intestine of some nutrients such as sugar into the blood stream, i.e lowering the glycaemic index (how quickly your blood sugar rises). (3)
Remember to leave the skin on the apple. It ensures you are eating the pectin which is 50% of the fibre of the apple and has prebiotic benefits (3, 4). Prebiotics can be more than prebiotic fibre. We are learning with more research (5) that polyphenols which are antioxidant compounds found in many fruits and vegetables can also have prebiotic effects. Many of these compounds pass to the large intestine unabsorbed and are metabolised by the gut bacteria. All of the plant ingredients of the Bircher muesli offer polyphenol benefit for the gut and general health.
Add a range of fresh fruit to your muesli when serving. This will boost he polyphenol intake even further. A handful of rich red strawberries or raspberries would be perfect!
Bircher muesli makes such a great nourishing start to the day, snack during the day or even a pre or post training snack with the carbohydrate and protein to support a workout. Making a big batch means it is ready and waiting for you and the family, kept nicely over a few days in the fridge.
4. Chung WSF, Meijerink M, Zeuner B, et al. Prebiotic potential of pectin and pectic oligosaccharides to promote anti-inflammatory commensal bacteria in the human colon. FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2017;93(11):10.1093/femsec/fix127. doi:10.1093/femsec/fix127 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29029078/