A large percentage of the bacteria found in our bodies are present in our intestines. Collectively these bacteria found in the intestines are known as gut microbiota and play a very important role in your health. However, there are other bacteria that are found in the intestines that can cause many diseases. Unsurprisingly, what you eat greatly determines the bacteria that will thrive in your gut. This means that the type of food you eat will determine your gut health. Having an unhealthy gut will have an impact on your general health.
Before we get into ways that can help improve your gut health, it is important to point out indicators of a healthy and an unhealthy gut. You know you have a good gut health when you are not getting bloating, diarrhea, gas and constipation. On the other hand, poor gut health leads to loose stool and in extreme cases can cause constipation. Additionally, your stool will also have a foul smell and you will generally be in a bad mood. Below are five reliable ways to naturally improve your gut health.
Add probiotics to your life (eat fermented foods)
Probiotics are strains of live bacteria present in fermented foods, supplements that when consumed reside in your gut and helps improve health. There are ongoing studies concerning the benefits of probiotics. Probiotics reside in the intestine and help produce vitamins and fatty acids which feed and ensure the growth of other beneficial bacteria. It is important to note that probiotics cant cause any disease(are non-pathogenic) and therefore directly contribute to the growth of other beneficial bacteria around the gut
Different probiotics work for different people and therefore you should see your healthcare provider so that they can determine which one fits you. But in general, adding a small amount of fermented food in your diet will surely help in the growth of good and healthy bacteria. Although probiotics don’t have a huge effect on the gut health of healthy people, their strongest effect has been found in restoring the required microbiota back to health after it has affected by bad gut bacteria. Besides supplements, you can get probiotics by incorporating raw fermented foods in your diet like yogurt, kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut, and kefir.
Eat lots of vegetables fruits legumes and beans
Fruits and vegetables make for great sources of nutrients for the growth of microbiota. Beans, fruits, legumes, and vegetables are rich in indigestible fiber which since can’t be digested in the body is digested in the gut by certain bacteria hence ensuring their growth. Similar to fruits and vegetables beans and legumes are also rich in fiber. Some of the rich fiber foods that you can incorporate in your diet to improve your gut health include broccoli, green peas, chickpeas, lentils, beans, whole grains, artichokes, and raspberries.
A study found that having a diet that’s high in vegetables and fruits hindered the growth of harmful bacteria. On the other hand, you can enhance the growth of bifidobacteria(beneficial bacteria) by eating apples, blueberries, and almond. These beneficial bacteria will help hinder intestinal inflammation and generally improve your gut health.
Eat prebiotics foods
Prebiotics are fibers found in diets that enhance the growth of beneficial and healthy bacteria. To maintain a healthy gut life try consuming at least 5-8 grams of plant-based prebiotics daily. A half a cup of beans or two cups of leafy greens should be able to get you this amount.You can get this probiotic by consuming such foods as Chicory root, oats bananas whole wheat, beans, soybeans, onions garlic, asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes and raw dandelion greens.
Eat foods rich in polyphenols
Polyphenols are compounds found in plant foods that have many health benefits among others reductions in inflammation, low blood pressure, low cholesterol levels and reduction in oxidative stress. These compounds normally can’t be digested by human cells and therefore make their way into the colon where they are digested by gut bacteria. Polyphenols can, therefore, be said to enhance the growth of gut bacteria. Polyphenols are present in red wine, grape skins, cocoa and dark chocolate, green tea, almonds, onions, blueberries, broccoli.
Eat a wide range of foods
There are hundreds of different species of bacteria in your intestine. Each species requires specific nutrients for its growth. Each species also plays a very different role. Therefore, it is healthy to have a diverse range of microbiota. The more diverse the species you have in your gut, the greater the number of health benefits derived from them. If you incorporate different types of foods into your diet you will achieve diversity in your gut microbiota. Unfortunately, most diets are not diverse, in fact, about three-quarters of the food in the world is produced from a paltry 12 plant and 5 species of animal. Try as much as you can to incorporate a diversity of foods in your diet in order to enjoy a diversity in the number of good bacteria working on your gut health.
To ensure there is diversity in your diet simply have a meal plan that can guide you and also help you avoid focusing on specific foods. This is particularly important if you are trying to lose weight or have Diabetes. When you are already dealing with other issues, the last thing you need to derail your progress is compromising your progress because of what you eat.
Apart from the obvious discomfort associated with an unhealthy gut life, a disruption in microbiota can lead to other several chronic diseases. Maintain a healthy microbiota by simply eating a wide range of plant-based whole foods like veggies, whole grains, legumes, beans and lots of fruits.
Here are 6 foods that will help to supercharge your gut bacteria
Did you know that we are actually only 10% human? According to reliable research, a human being is made up of 90% microbial and non-human cells. What you eat every day will directly influence the microbes that you are made up of. It is absolutely true that we are indeed what we eat. The good news is that even if you have unhealthy microbiota, by simply changing what you eat you can cultivate healthy and new microbiota (gut flora) in just a day (24 hours). The good bacteria that live in our intestinal tracts will flourish when you consume more colorful that are plant-based foods.
These are rich in an insoluble fiber known as inulin. Once it finds its way to the colon, it is fermented into healthy microflora. There are other great sources of inulin such as bananas, leeks, onions, and asparagus. Based on experience, it is best to slowly introduce yourself to Jerusalem Artichokes because they are known to depress people especially those with the extremely sensitive digestive tract.
The benefits of bananas cannot be disputed because they come in handy in restoring the health of gut bacteria and also significantly reduce inflammation. I call the banana peacemaker because it consists of elements that help to maintain harmony and health among the microbes of the bacterial community. This is why for most doctors, banana is the standard prescription for anyone with an upset stomach. Bananas are able to reduce inflammation because they contain high levels of both Magnesium and Potassium.
Broccoli and Cruciferous Vegetables
These are vegetables containing metabolites that are packed with cancer known as Glucosinolates. When these metabolites are broken down by the microbes they release substances that effectively release potent substances that help in reducing the risk of inflammation and stomach, colon, bladder, lung and liver cancer.
Come in handy in helping enhance the microbiota so that immune function is enhanced. The human eye is naturally drawn to anthocyanins which are the pigment that gives the blueberry its rich and attractive color. More studies continue to prove that blueberries have a plethora of benefits including enhancing how the immune system functions, strengthening memory and also helping to diversify gut bacteria which is great for gut health. In addition with blue berries also include strawberries and any other berries with a rich and attractive colors.
Any kind of legume will help to release a short-chain of fatty acids (SCFA) which not only strengthen the intestine cells but also help to boost absorption of micronutrients into the bloodstream. A Toronto research published by the Journal of Obesity showed that beans help in weight loss by enhancing satiety. This makes it easy to control the portion you consume per meal.
Keeping your gut healthy will significantly improve the quality of life and make it easy for you to maintain a normal and healthy body weight. Another great way to ensure your gut is healthy is to do a detox once in a while (at least once weekly). It does not have to be complicated, it can be as simple as just choosing a day out of the weak to drink lemon water throughout the day without food to help clean your system. Are you having too much gas? Perhaps there is something wrong with your gut health!