Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups | Serves: 8
- 1 tablespoon oil (canola or vegetable)
- 4 cups vegetables (like onions, carrots, and zucchini) (chopped or sliced)
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes with green chilies
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning or dried basil
- 2 cups small whole wheat pasta (shell or macaroni)
- 6 cups fresh spinach leaves* (about 1/2 pound)
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until hot. Add onions and carrots. Cook until the vegetables are softened. Stir often. This should take about 3 minutes.
- Stir in zucchini and canned tomatoes. Cook 3-4 minutes.
- Stir in the broth, water, salt, and Italian seasoning or dried basil. Bring to a boil.
- Stir in the pasta and spinach. Return to a boil.
- Cook until the pasta is tender using the time on the package for a guide.
Nutrient information per serving:
130 calories, 2.5g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans-fat, 20mg cholesterol, 370mg sodium, 23g total carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 5g sugar, 4g protein
This recipe is courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website. Visit the website for more information, recipes, and videos.
One of the biggest buzzwords in current media refers to the smallest subject: the human gut microbiome. This microbiome is a collection of microorganisms living in the human intestinal tract; aka the “good gut bugs.” These good gut bugs help our gut produce compounds needed for digestion and absorption of other nutrients. They also provide protection against harmful “bugs” and support our immune system. These good gut bugs have also been shown to promote brain health.
There is communication between the human microbiome and the brain, called the gut-brain axis. This means the health of your gut microbiome may impact the health of your brain—a healthy gut leads to a healthy brain.
The best way to take care of your gut microbiome is to focus on your overall eating pattern.
- Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Choose fiber-rich foods because increasing fiber can promote abundance of gut bugs.
- Try fermented foods and foods with pre- and probiotics to improve the variety of your good gut bugs.
- Prebiotics are plant fibers that promote the growth of healthy bacteria. They are found in many fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, including apples, asparagus, bananas, barley, flaxseed, garlic, jicama, leeks, oats, and onion.
- Probiotics contain specific strains of healthy bacteria. The most common probiotic food is yogurt; other sources include bacteria-fermented foods, including sauerkraut, kombucha, and kimchi.
- Shreiner AB, Kao JY, Young VB. The gut microbiome in health and in disease. Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2015;31(1):69–75. doi:10.1097/MOG.0000000000000139.
- Foster JA, Lyte M, Meyer E, Cryan JF. Gut microbiota and brain function: An evolving field in neuroscience. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2016;19(5):1–7. doi:10.1093/ijnp/pyv114.
- Jandhyala S, Talukdar R, Subramanyam C, Vuyyuru H, Sasikala M, Reddy D. Role of the normal gut microbiota. World J Gastroenterol. 2015;21(29):8787–8803.