What Are the Benefits to a Healthy Gut?
Since your gut is an integral part of your overall health, it’s essential to keep it in good shape! Your food is broken down in your gut, making it possible to filter through the bloodstream and provide nutrients to your body.
Studies show that maintaining your gut health allows your nervous system to operate better. A healthy gut is beneficial to your overall health since it produces the bacteria and immune cells that ward off infectious agents like bacteria, viruses and fungi. The best way to maintain your gut is to eat various foods, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes.
What Foods Should I Eat to Improve My Gut Health?
In order to increase your gut health, you want to eat foods rich in fiber and bifidobacteria, which are bacteria that prevent harmful bacterial growth in your gut. Below is a list of foods you should eat to keep your gut healthy!
Vegetables like leafy greens, spinach and kale are fibrous and full of vitamin K and folate. Studies show that leafy greens even contain sugar that fuels healthy bacterial growth. So the more fiber you eat, the stronger your gut microbiome is.
Yogurt & Other Probiotics
Probiotics produce healthy bacteria in your gut and decrease the number of unhealthy bacteria produced. Some probiotics to eat include Kimchi (fermented vegetables), Kombucha (a fermented tea drink), and Sauerkraut (fermented cabbage).
Studies show that yogurt consumption can improve intestinal bacteria and decrease symptoms of lactose intolerance. People who consume yogurt have fewer Enterobacteriaceae, a type of bacteria associated with inflammation and several chronic conditions. As a side note, try to purchase probiotics that indicate active cultures. These probiotics have living bacteria that can be added to the community of living microbes already in your gut.
The consumption of grains such as whole wheat, barley and rye provides various benefits, in the shape of fiber, good bacteria and inflammation reduction.
Whole grains contain carbs like beta-glucan that are not absorbed in the small intestine and instead promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut.
The good bacteria being produced include Bifidobacteria, lactobacilli, and Bacteroidetes in humans, which aid in digestion and overall health. Studies show that whole grains also increase feelings of fullness and reduce inflammation and certain risk factors for heart disease.
However, whole grains can be harmful to some people due to the gluten found in these products. Make sure to consult your doctor if you feel negative impacts from whole grains.
Low-fructose fruits like citrus fruits and berries reduce gas and bloating. Bananas are another low-fructose fruit that is fiber-rich and contains inulin, a starchy substance that stimulates the growth of good bacteria in the gut.
The lower the fructose, the better!
Impacts of an Unhealthy Gut
There are many noticeable symptoms of an unhealthy gut, including digestive problems such as abdominal pain, bloating, loose stools, constipation, heartburn, nausea or vomiting. These often uncomfortable and worrisome issues warrant further investigation. Talk to your doctor if you notice these symptoms increasing.
Additionally, if you notice continual weight loss without a good reason, blood in the stool, black stool (a sign of bleeding in the gut), severe vomiting, fever, severe stomach aches, trouble swallowing food, pain in the throat or chest when food is swallowed or jaundice, let your doctor know! This could be a severe gastrointestinal issue caused by an unhealthy gut.
A Parting Reminder
If you’re uncertain about what to eat, trust your gut. Remember to eat probiotics, anti-inflammatory and fibrous foods. An integral part of your various anatomical systems, your gut needs to be maintained. So if you want to prevent gastrointestinal issues, eat the right foods! Happy eating!