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Want a Healthy Gut? Here are 8 Foods That Can Help

Our ‘gut’ refers to organs, glands, and intestines that play a significant role in the digestive process. It is important to maintain a healthy gut as it reduces the risks of heart disease, obesity, and other digestive issues.

Aarushi Chadha
To maintain a healthy gut, it is important to maintain the balance of bacteria in our gut

Organs, glands, and intestines such as the stomach, rectum, small intestine, colon, anal canal, oesophagus, and mouth make up the gut. Each of these organs, glands, and intestines plays an important role in breaking down food, absorbing essential nutrients, and expelling the parts that we do not need anymore.

Our gut is host to several bacteria, including Bacteroides, Bifidobacterium, and Lactobacillus which help in the digestive process. To maintain a healthy gut, it is important to maintain the balance of bacteria in our gut. Our gut is very sensitive to change and even travelling can affect the balance of our gut. An unhealthy gut will lead to bloating, loose stools, excessive flatulence, and nausea.

There are certain foods that ensure the balance of bacteria in our gut. These are-

Probiotics- The beneficial bacteria in our gut can be boosted by consuming probiotics such as yogurt or taking probiotic supplements. Probiotics not only support a healthy gut microbiome but also prevent gut inflammation.

Fermented food- There is a link between a healthy gut and fermented food as well. This is because fermented food itself is host to several good bacteria that can improve our belly and help convert sugar into healthy acids and alcohol. Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, kombucha, and tempeh are great for maintaining gut health.

High fibre diet- Fibre is a plant compound that leaves our stomach undigested and becomes food for the good bacteria present in our gut. The dietary fibre present in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains stimulates the growth and diversity of good bacteria in the gut. It reduces the frequency of constipation and other gastrointestinal diseases.

Eat nuts and seeds- Incorporate a variety of nuts and seeds into your daily diet as they contain many healthy acids and are an excellent source of fibre and polyphenols. The healthy fats present in nuts and seeds are not only beneficial for our gut health but they also help improve our cardiovascular health whilst simultaneously reducing the risk of blood sugar spiking.

Avoid processed food- Processed foods are usually not a great source of nutrients. They also contain fast-digesting sugars that don’t feed the microbes present in our gut properly. By avoiding processed food and replacing them with foods that contain complex sugars, you can ensure a happy and healthy microbiome.

Prebiotic food- Prebiotics refer to the nondigestible carbohydrates on which probiotics feed. Eating prebiotics encourages the multiplication of bacteria in our gut. Prebiotic-rich foods include- bananas, garlic, onions, whole grains, chicory, and asparagus.

Consume dark chocolate or other polyphenol-rich foods- Polyphenol is a plant-based compound that travels to our gut and acts as food for the bacteria in our gut. Dark chocolate, red grapes, almonds, broccoli, blueberries, green tea, and onions are foods that are rich in polyphenols. They are also rich in fibre and exhibit anti-inflammatory properties.

Eat legumes- Not only do most legumes contain high levels of dietary fibre but they also contain galactooligosaccharide, a prebiotic fibre that feeds the good bacteria in our gut and supports the growth of Bifidobacteria, a common type of bacteria.

While these are some examples of foods that can promote a healthy gut, did you know that stress and other mental illnesses also contribute to our gut health? It is true! Our gut health is directly connected to our mental health. According to several studies conducted, anxiety, depression, and general mood disorders can increase the risk of IBS.

Finding a way to manage your health can reduce uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms. You must also reduce or completely stop drinking alcohol as alcohol irritates the gut and leads to intestinal inflammation which leads to bacterial infections, ulcers, heartburn, and chronic discomfort. Exercising often also promotes the increase in the diversity of healthy bacteria in our gut.

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