The Internet is filled with valuable information, but it’s also replete with nonsense and false claims. This is especially true for dietary information and healthy eating. It can be very tricky to “eat the right foods” that optimize gut health. All you need to know is that two food groups promote a healthier gut: prebiotics and probiotics.
Prebiotics And Probiotics
Prebiotics naturally occur in various fruits and vegetables and they are non-digestible food components. They work to promote healthy bacteria in the gut, but they themselves are not beneficial bacteria. Probiotics, on the other hand, are good bacteria or live cultures that exist in the gut. Probiotics and prebiotics are the dynamic duo of gut health, working synergistically to restore balanced gastrointestinal health. When you eat probiotic and prebiotic foods, you create a healthier body.
When the good bacteria outnumber the bad bacteria in your gut, you can experience improved immunity, better gastrointestinal health, higher energy levels, and a reduced risk of irritable bowel syndrome. Be sure to include the following foods in your diet and your gut will thank you.
There’s always room at the table for cruciferous vegetables. These fiber-rich veggies have diverse nutritional profiles that benefit your entire body. Additionally, they contain glucosinolates, which the body breaks down and releases substances that reduce inflammation as a result. Glucosinolates are magical because they bind to carcinogenic intruders and force them to exit the gut. Great cruciferous vegetabes to consume include kale, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, broccoli, arugula, and Brussels sprouts.
There are lower rates of bowel disease and higher rates of better gut health in regions where miso is a staple in peoples’ diets. Made from fermented soya beans, miso contains beneficial probiotic strains and enzymes that promote healthy gut bacteria.
Miso, which is listed above, falls into this category, as does kombucha (coming later in the article). Some fermented foods just deserve a little more attention than others. The great thing about fermented foods is that they supply your gut with tons of beneficial microorganisms. By consuming probiotic-rich foods, you increase the presence of good bacteria in the gut, which can improve your body’s ability to absorb minerals. Great fermented foods to consume include kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, fermented vegetables, kefir, and kombucha.
When you eat a lot of fruit, especially fruit with high fructose content, you can commonly experience bloating. If you are prone to gas and bloating, it is wise to decrease your fructose intake. To decrease your fructose intake, eliminate pears, mangos, and apples from your diet. Now, people enjoy fruit and we aren’t asking you to give up fruit forever; rather, focus on fruits with low fructose levels. The best fruits to consume include berries, citrus fruits, and bananas, which actually contain inulin, a prebiotic that increases beneficial bacteria in the gut.
Sea vegetables like kelp, wakame, or spirulina are some of the best superfoods to get your hands on. They contain a long list of nutrients, including fiber. According to a study involving Japanese women, high seaweed intake increased the presense of beneficial bacteria in the gut. Another study examined the health benefits of alginate, a substance in brown seaweed. Alginate worked to slow digestion, making food release energy more slowly, and it also strengthened gut mucus.
The high probiotic content of kombucha is extremely beneficial for gut health. People who regularly drink kombucha have been known to reduce abdominal disorders, including constipation and diarrhea. Additionally, probiotics play a role in how your body processes food, absorbs nutrients, as well as how your metabolism and immune system function. Finally, kombucha contains glucosamine, which stimulates the production of hyaluronic acid, a substance that lubricates joints.
Legumes are rich in fiber, protein, and short-chain fatty acids that help to improve your intestinal cells. Beans feed your gut bacteria and they work to improve the body’s ability to absorb micronutrients. If you really want to do your gut a favor, start eating fermented beans like chickpeas, miso, and lacto-fermented lentils.