Digestive Health has come to the forefront of health in recent years with the food industry expanding to keep up with the current trends of overall wellness. I also know from having a mom who survived colon cancer at a young age how important a healthy gut really is.
Since there is a proven connection between a healthy gut and a healthy brain, there has been shift towards foods that promote good gut bacteria to ensure optimal health.
It’s also important for you to understand exactly what your gut is. Most people just thin it’s the stomach. The gut is actually the “gastrointestinal tract” , “GI” or “GIT”. The GIT is actually comprised, in part, of the mouth, esophagus, stomach and intestines. So, now when you hear about gut health you’ll know that it may include all or some of the parts of the entire GIT and not just the stomach.
Here’s a list of some foods that help promote a healthy gut.
Only 3% of Americans get the recommended 40 grams of fiber a day. Fiber is vital to gut health. The two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble, feed the good bacteria but serve different purposes. Soluble fiber - found in oatmeal, beans, and certain fruits and veggies – lowers blood glucose levels and the bad cholesterol, LDL. Insoluble fiber – found in whole grains, kidney beans, and certain fruits and veggies – cleanses the gut environment and reduces the risk of diverticulitis or the inflammation of the intestine by 40%.
Fermented foods are created when bacteria or yeast is added to certain foods to feed off the natural sugars and preserve the food by creating lactic acid or alcohol. The microbes force out the unhealthy bacteria and add additional nutrients to the food. They also create probiotics, the “good gut bugs” which improve gut health and immunity. The best fermented foods for gut health include sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, miso, kefir and pickled vegetables.
Eating your greens, as a general rule, is a good idea for your overall health, but these particular greens are especially good for gut health.
First, dandelion greens and asparagus are abundant with inulin, a prebiotic fiber, that promotes the good for you bacteria. These greens keep you regular and reduce bloating.
Second, broccoli and most cruciferous vegetables, are packed with soluble fiber, the fiber that reduces your bad cholesterol levels and lowers glucose.
Finally, seaweed increases good gut bacteria and is full of nutrients and fiber. Alginate, a substance found in brown seaweed, slows digestion and builds gut mucus. If you needed an excuse to eat sushi, nori is the dried seaweed used to wrap many of the rolls. You could also enjoy a seaweed salad or add edible kelp to a pot of beans to reduce gas.
ROUGHAGE (Insoluble Fiber)
Sunchokes and jicama are two root vegetables considered roughage full of insoluble fiber and excellent for gut health. Sunchokes are high in inulin and increase the good gut bacteria. Jicama is a fiber powerhouse. One cup of jicama is 15% of your recommended fiber intake. They’re good for blood sugar and weight loss and high in vitamin C.
Flax seeds may be tiny, but they are mighty for gut health. The seed generates the highest amount of antioxidants with anticancer properties than all other food. They supply good gut flora and contain soluble fiber to help improve regularity. Flaxseeds are best ground because whole seeds will pass through without being digested. Add them to your favorite smoothies or salad to reap the benefits.
An apple and banana a day can keep the doctor away. Apples are full of fiber and promote good gut bacteria. Bananas are rich in potassium and magnesium which fight inflammation and reduce bloating.
GARLIC & GUM ARABIC
Research has found our favorite flavor addition can actually prevent some gastrointestinal diseases. Garlic promotes the good gut bacteria and raw garlic has the majority of the prebiotic benefits.
Gum Arabic, or acacia fiber, is a fiber rich prebiotic that increases the good gut microbes. It’s found as a powder form used as a supplement.
IN THE END…
Gut health has been linked to mood, mental health, diseases, and obesity to name a few. Take care of it by eliminating processed foods and turning to a diet that promotes good gut health, like the list above. A happy gut equals a happy mind and body.
Proper nutrition is imperative for a healthy gut. Knowing the right foods for your personal needs will ensure that you’re providing your body with the nutrients it needs. At Tafiq’s Physiques our nutrition and wellness consulting programs are design to be flexible enough to accommodate anyones health and fitness needs. For a nutrition and wellness assessment schedule a FREE consultation by applying HERE.
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To your health!