How Gut Health Affect Everything & Why Food is Important
Bloating, Cramping, Gas, Abdominal Discomfort?...
Does it seem like everything you eat these days causes some type of digestive distress? Bloating, cramping, gas, abdominal discomfort, and changes in bowel patterns are more common than you think, It’s estimated that worldwide, at least 40% of adults suffer from something called Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders.
This means that for every gathering of ten friends that get together for dinner, at least four of them are probably wondering how what they’re about to eat is going to affect their gut and if the effects of a delicious meal might be painful or embarrassing. Eating the right foods can help turn these symptoms around and help you achieve a healthy gut.
But gut health isn’t just about not being bloated. Gut health has a significant impact on your overall health, making it even more important to eat the right foods to support a healthy gut biome.
How Gut Health Affects Overall Health, and Why Food Is Important
Your gut is home to as many as 100 trillion bacteria and other microorganisms like viruses and fungi. That number is almost impossible to imagine, yet, your gut has its own microbiome filled with microorganisms that are either working diligently to the benefit of your gut or working hard against it.
The problem comes when the bad guys outnumber the good guys, and this can create havoc throughout your entire body. We’re not just talking about digestive symptoms. Your gut is involved in everything from supporting your immune system to protecting the central nervous system, which includes brain function.
The bottom line is that you need to be protecting your gut biome if you want to live a long, healthy life. This all starts with eating the right foods that support a healthy gut biome.
WHAT FOODS SHOULD YOU EAT FOR IMPROVED GUT HEALTH?
High Fiber Foods and Why Your Gut Needs Them
Fiber is crucial for a healthy gut. Fiber helps to add bulk to your bowels so that they pass through your body regularly, reducing constipation and the uncomfortable symptoms that are associated with it. More than that, fiber helps to feed the good gut bacteria and makes sure that your gut biome is healthy and flourishing.
The Mayo Clinic says that women should aim for 21g-25g of fiber each day. Men should try to consume somewhere between 30g-38g daily. Some of the best high-fiber foods to eat include:
- Oats – a single serving has 10g of fiber or about a third of your fiber for the day
- Whole Grains – like brown rice, barley, bulgur, Kamut whole wheat bread, and whole wheat pasta offer anywhere from 5g-10g of fiber per cup
- Popcorn – offers about 2g of fiber per cup. Just don’t load it up with too much butter and salt!
- Chia seeds – highly nutritious and packed with nearly 10g of fiber per ounce
- Dark chocolate – the darker the better, with 80% cocoa chocolate offering 3g of fiber per ounce
- Chickpeas – one cooked cup offers more than 13g of fiber. Try making homemade hummus or add them to your salads
- Lentils – these little guys offer a whopping 13+ grams of fiber per cooked cup
- Brussel sprouts – all cruciferous vegetables are great, but brussels spouts offer more than 3g of fiber per cup
- Beets – are packed with nutrients and come in at nearly 4g of fiber per raw cup
- Raspberries – nibble on these for dessert instead of ice cream and enjoy the more than 8g of fiber in each cup
- Apples – an apple a day keeps bad gut bacteria at bay with more than 4g of fiber in each medium-sized apple
- Avocado – a food you might not think of as being high in fiber, but an avocado offers about 10g of fiber per cup
The Importance of Probiotic Foods for the 1 trillion bacteria
Probiotic foods contain some of the same types of bacteria that are found in a healthy gut. Some of the most common probiotic bacteria in foods include Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Foods that go through a fermentation process are highest in probiotic bacteria. Here are a few to include:
- Yogurt – even those made from non-dairy milk
- Fermented Soy Products – tempeh and miso
- Kimchi – fermented vegetables that taste great added to a bowl of noodles or tacos
- Sauerkraut – fermented cabbage that is often available in several different varieties
- Fermented beverages – no, not wine or beer! But drinks like kombucha and kefir get the thumbs up
Prebiotic Foods for Gut Rescue
Prebiotic foods are necessary for keeping healthy gut bacteria alive. These are the foods that a healthy gut biome feeds off of. It’s not enough to make sure you consume probiotic foods. You also need lots of these to feed and keep healthy gut bacteria thriving.
- Jerusalem Artichokes
Foods to Reduce Gut Inflammation
Millions of people suffer from chronic inflammation, and many of them don't even know it. Chronic inflammation has been implicated in a range of serious health concerns, including everything from diabetes, to heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, and cancer. The key to fighting inflammation isn’t to rely on pharmaceuticals, but rather to start by feeding your gut the best anti-inflammatory foods.
- Green leafy vegetables
- Fatty fish, like salmon
- Almonds, walnuts, and other healthy tree nuts
- Olive oil
- Avocados (their second appearance on our list)
- Bone broth
- Anti-inflammatory spices like ginger, turmeric, and cinnamon
The bottom line about gut health
Eating foods that protect and support the quality of your gut biome is one of the most important things you can do for your overall health. Food can be the solution for everything and nourishing your body is the first step to improving your health. Include a range of gut-healthy foods in your diet every day enjoy the benefits of improved health, less gut-related symptoms, and decrease your risk of Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders.