The Importance of Gut Health
Believe it or not – the health of your gut has an impact on your mood, energy, memory, sleep, immunity, and digestion. Gut health is the balance of the microorganisms in your digestive tract. With 40 trillion bacteria in your body, gut health is instrumental to your overall health, but is often overlooked.
The foods you eat affect the type of bacteria in your body; meaning that what you consume either helps your body function properly or adds more stress. Luckily, both prebiotics and probiotics can help maintain adequate levels of healthy bacteria, which support overall gut health and aid in digestion. These can be found in an assortment of foods, so it’s important to eat a balanced diet to ensure your body is receiving beneficial microbes.
When the trend surrounding gut health took off, all the buzz was surrounding kimchi, kombucha and sauerkraut – for good reason. These foods help to boost the beneficial bacteria in the gut, since they act as a natural source of probiotics. Additionally, yogurt with live cultures is a great source of probiotics and typically is suitable for people with lactose intolerance.
Probiotics feed on prebiotics including non-digestible carbs, which helps to boost beneficial bacteria in the gut. Prebiotic fiber includes fruits and vegetables, such as bananas, garlic and onions. Further, whole grains contain lots of fiber and non-digestible carbs, which promote the growth of beneficial bacteria while increasing the feeling of fullness and reducing inflammation.
Polyphenols can be found in red wine, dark chocolate and green tea. While polyphenols are not effectively digestible by human cells, gut microbiota can aid in breaking them down, which helps reduce blood pressure, cholesterol levels and inflammation.
Beans & Legumes
Since they contain bioactive peptides with anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties, legumes and beans help feed gut flora and regulate a healthy gut. Further, they have the ability to reduce cholesterol, increase healthy gut bacteria and decrease blood sugar levels.
Avoid Artificial Sugar and Sweeteners
When you eat too much sugar, it causes an imbalance of gut microbes, also known as dysbiosis. Sugar contributes inflammation to the gut as well as weight gain. When prioritizing your gut health, it is equally important to consume good bacteria while limiting the consumption of foods that have a negative impact on your body’s internal balance.
By being thoughtful of what you can consume, your gut health can positively contribute to your overall health.