Eat These Types Of Food For A Healthier Gut

Eat These Types Of Food For A Healthier Gut

How often do you hear the term “microbiome” in today’s day and age? A lot, most likely, and that is because gut health has become a major point of interest for researchers, scientists, and dietitians alike. The gut microbiome is the community of microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, and viruses, that inhabit the gut. Specific microbes in the gut can change in responses to diet and exercise. 

The gut directly communicates with the brain, and vice versa, via the gut-brain axis. That ultimately means that the brain can influence digestive activities, such as having nervous diarrhea. The gut can in turn influence mood, cognition, and mental health in a positive or negative way. If the gut is weak, bacteria and inflammatory substances can be absorbed from the gut into the bloodstream. That can trigger chronic inflammation, which is linked to myriad health conditions. 

For the above reasons and more, strive to feed your gut the best foods for optimal physical and mental health. Continue reading to learn about foods and food groups that optimize your microbiome and overall gut health. 

Probiotic Foods

There is no article about foods that encourage gut health without the mention of probiotics. These microorganisms can help reshape the makeup of your gut microbiome, helping to enhance immune function and improve multiple bowel diseases. Probiotics essentially change the gut environment in positive ways that decrease the ability for harmful bacteria to grow. They allow healthy bacteria to flourish, which can contribute to healthier immune function. 

A 2021 study monitored 36 healthy adults who were randomly assigned to 10-week diets that either included fermented foods or high-fiber non-fermented foods. Those who consumed fermented foods, which contain probiotics, experience positive changes in immune function. In fact, they were able to reduce levels of 19 different inflammatory markers. Increase your probiotic intake by eating more miso, fermented vegetables, kimchi, tempeh, kombucha, kefir, and sauerkraut. 

Prebiotic Foods

If you want to optimize probiotic bacteria in the gut, you have to feed them prebiotics. Prebiotic foods can also shift the intestinal pH, preventing harmful microbes from growing. These positive changes in the gut can help reduce overall gut inflammation. These changes may also contribute to the production of glucagon like peptide 2 (GLP2), a hormone that reinforces the strength of gut lining. Additionally, the fermentation of prebiotic fibers leads to the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which can reduce hunger and improve the regulation of blood sugar and insulin after meals. You can increase your intake of prebiotics by eating more asparagus, chicory, garlic, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, onions, barley, less-ripe bananas, and wheat bran. 

Pulses

Pulse is not just something you do to blend foods in a blender or food processor. Pulses contain a lot of plant protein, polyphenol antioxidants, and non-digestible carbohydrates (NDCs), such as soluble and insoluble fiber. These NDCs act as prebiotics, fermenting in the gut to form anti-inflammatory SCFAs. Some examples of pulses are beans, lentils, chickpeas, and dry peas (black-eyed peas and split peas). Pulses have an anti-inflammatory impact on gut health and work to improve digestive health by enhancing the strength of the barrier between the gut and bloodstream. A healthy gut barrier allows beneficial substances into the blood and prevents harmful substances from entering circulation

Avocados

Yes, avocados are deserving of their own mention in this article. Consuming avocados has been associated with beneficial health outcomes, including weight management and protection against heart disease. The healthy fats in avocados work to nourish the gut and keep you satiated. In one study, researchers assigned 163 overweight or obese adults to one of two groups for 12 weeks. Participants ate one meal per day (breakfast, lunch, or dinner) with or without avocado. The participants provided blood, urine, and fecal samples throughout the study. Researchers found that those who ate avocados developed a greater abundance of gut microbes that were more adept at breaking down fiber and producing SCFAs. 

Foods Rich In Polyphenols

Certain plants produce antioxidants called polyphenols. These are naturally-occurring compounds that protect plants from illness and damage as they grow. Consuming polyphenols can help protect the heart and brain, according to many studies. Research also shows that the gut microbiome converts polyphenols into bioactive compounds, which get reabsorbed into the bloodstream and benefit the body. The bloodstream absorbs about 5-10% of total polyphenols from the large intestine. The remaining 90-95% accumulate in the large intestine, where they offer prebiotic effects, helping to shift bad microbes into beneficial ones.

2024-07-10T10:26:54-07:00
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