One of the trending topics in terms of health and wellness at the moment is “Gut Health” but what exactly does this mean. Well basically it’s the balance of good and bad bacteria living in the digestive tract.
To find this achievable state you need to feed your good bacteria and starve the less desirable bacteria. In other words you would need to swap processed foods, breads and pastas for more plants, fruit, seeds and nuts. You would also have to add fermented foods like yoghurt, kombucha, kimchi and kefir to your diet. These items naturally contain probiotics and/or healthy bacteria.
There are 100 trillion bacteria in your body, and most of them are in your intestines. What you eat determines what kind of bacteria enters your gut, this is why its crucial to realize that what you put in there has long-term effects. According to Nava, a Health and Vitality Center, the stomach is like a second brain which can affect your mood, energy levels, libido, creative output and etc. – The Huffington Post
Possible Signs of an Unhealthy Gut
- Auto-immune disease
- Digestive issues like bloating, diarrhoea & gas
- Food allergies or sensitivities
- Frequent Infections
- Mood swings, irritability
- Poor memory and concentration, ADD or ADHD
- Skin problems like eczema
What to Eat to Improve Your Gut Health
- Apple Cider Vinegar – helps your body create hydrochloric acid, which is a beneficial belly acid that helps digest fats, carbohydrates, and protein.
- Kombucha – the most natural way to get a buzz, it’s probiotic-packed meaning it’s good for your gut.
- Dairy or Lactose-free yoghurts – made from almond, soy, or rice milk are much easier for people to digest than their dairy counterparts.
- Fermented Coffee – Drinking coffee can improve athletic performance, particularly for endurance sports so you should drink it before your workouts for energy.
- Sauerkraut – is a naturally fermented food that has micro-organisms which crowds out bad bacteria in the gut and allows the beneficial gut flora to flourish.
Mangos – have been shown to help keep the good bacteria in your gut alive.Kefir – is great for your gut as it usually contains at least 10 live and active strains of bacteria, compared to most yoghurts which usually have three.
- Sprouted Grains – The process involved in making sprouted grain bread products makes it easier for some people to digest rather than other traditional wheat products, which in turn makes it easier for nutrients to be absorbed into the body
- Coconut oil is a medium chain fatty acid that is an antiviral, antimicrobial, antibacterial and anti-fungal.
- Wild Salmon – has an abundant source of omega-3 fatty acids, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory and is critical for healing an inflamed gut and preventing future episodes.
- Garlic – is a wonderful prebiotic and even better when eaten raw.
Miso – aside from being a good source of protein and fibre, it’s rich in probiotics meaning it can help treat intestinal disorders.
- Chocolate -raw and certified organic, prebiotic and probiotic enhanced chocolate bars the most delicious way to get your prebiotic and probiotic fix.
- Collagen – is one of the largest proteins in our bodies—in fact, it’s what basically keeps our body together.
- Bone broth – is a stock made from the bones and marrow of a chicken or cow and it’s slow cooked for 24-72 hours.
- Onions – as well as Jerusalem artichokes and chicory are high in prebiotics, which will help promote the growth of good bacteria. To make the most of these nutrient-rich foods you’ll want to avoid as many refined foods (think white flour and white sugar-based anything), which feed the bacteria in our gut that we don’t want.
- Kvass – beverage commonly made from rye bread, meaning it’s filled with digestive health benefits.
- High Fibre Foods – like artichokes, green peas, lentils, black and lima beans, almonds raspberries, and apples are a great addition to your diet.
- Kimchi – is rich in probiotics and excellent at keeping things moving in your digestive tract.
- Yoghurt – Grass-fed, full-fat and plain (no sugar added) yoghurt has a very high amount of beneficial probiotics.
Improved Gut Health Can Aid:
- Brain function
- Immune function (80% of our immune system is located in the gut!)
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Symptoms of anger, sadness and depression
- Toxin levels in the body
- Weight loss
In the past I never gave my gut a second thought, but with time and research I’ve come to learn otherwise. It is important for us to acknowledge and understand the effects of gut health on our bodies both mentally and physically, in doing so we will need to optimise our gut health in more innovative ways.