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6 Everyday Foods to Munch On For A Healthier Gut (Plus 4 You’d Better Avoid)

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6 Everyday Foods to Munch On For A Healthier Gut (Plus 4 You’d Better Avoid)

Gut bacteria(1) (the trillions of microorganisms living in your intestinal tract) may not be the sexiest topic to talk about, but, knowing how your gut works can go a long way in more ways than one. Over the past few years, research(2) has concluded that gut microbiome can affect several aspects of your health, from the quality of your immune system(3), to your heart health(4), and to how you store fat(5). Yet, letting these microbiota flourish is not as easy as it seems. But there is an easy way to boost your gut health, and that's controlling what you eat. But, before you go ahead and stock your fridge with Greek yogurt and sauerkraut, let us remind you of a critical piece of the gut health puzzle: cutting back on inflammatory foods.

If you want to make your digestion smoother and your immune system stronger, these are some foods we recommend you add to your lifestyle, and also some foods we recommend you avoid.


Foods For A Healthy Gut


Bananas

Bananas can do a lot more than load your body with potassium. This popular fruit is rich in prebiotic fiber(6) (a non-digestible nutrient that stimulates the growth of the gut flora). Research(7) has shown that eating bananas on a daily basis reduces bloating and improves gut health. Friendly tip: If you are always on the go and carrying a banana with you feels like too much, you can always opt for these freeze dried banana bites  - which contain the same nutrients and are delicious.


Garlic

Garlic helps kill all the harmful bacteria in your gut while promoting the growth the beneficial ones. If you are not a fan of garlic breath, don’t worry about it. Our dehydrated garlic granules will add a subtle taste to your meals without skimping on all the benefits and flavor.


Kefir

Known as yogurt's tart, slightly more liquid cousin, kefir(11) is considered one of the most efficient gut foods today. Containing more than 50 species of probiotic bacteria, this fermented milk drink has the ability to modulate the host gut microbiota, all while improving digestion and reducing bloating.


Kombucha

Kombucha is a great way to sneak some much needed probiotics into your system. This potent drink is made from the fermentation of sugar, which is induced by adding yeast bacteria into your tea (or a SCOBY). Besides the unique ingredient list, kombucha is also known for acting as a symbiotic(12); it contains both probiotics and prebiotics, which feed one another and help you get the most out of your gut friendly menu.


Mango

Adding mango to their meals is an easy way of bringing the tropics to the kitchen. Mango is a great way to keep your gut as healthy. According to research(13), freeze dried mango prevents the loss of beneficial gut microbiota, often induced by a high-fat diet. If you want to indulge with the occasional cheese without sabotaging your gut health, make sure to keep these freeze dried mango bites around. #healthhacks


4 Foods to Avoid For A Healthy Gut


Processed Meat

We all know that consuming processed meat comes with a generous dose of antibiotics(14). Unfortunately, the antibiotics don't always discriminate between the good and the bad bacteria in our guts, meaning they may significantly weaken your gut's microbiome in a matter of days. To prevent that, make sure you steer clear of store bought meats as much as possible, or if you feel you must eat them, be sure to check the origin of the meat and the ingredient list.


Fried Foods

Fried foods are packed with unhealthy fats. A high-fat diet(15) tends to reduce your intestinal flora diversity. That means that constipation and bloating could set in and affect your motility. While this may sound bad, note that they are 100% reversible with the introduction of gut-friendly foods.


Sugar Snacks

Sugary snacks can wreak havoc on your gut health. It’s because the bad bacteria tend to feed off refined sugar(16), resulting in an off-balance microbiome. Don't think that artificial sweeteners are any better. Experts(17) claim that sucralose,Splenda, can also have the same effect on your gut health.


Genetically Modified Soy

Soybeans are not always the health food you may think it is. Research(18) proves that soy contains distinct amounts of protease inhibitors, a group of compounds that suppress the expression of key digestion enzymes. The most popular of these inhibitors is trypsin, which is usually found in genetically modified soybeans.


Final Thoughts


Gut health is everything to a healthy body, from improving gut health and motility to being in a good mood; however, reaching microbiome heaven is more complicated than spooning up store bought yogurt once in a blue moon. These nutrient dense foods will help you refine your gut friendly menu to help you finally reach the daily recommended prebiotic and probiotic intake with ease. Please note that every body is different; so, if you show signs of sensitivities or intolerance to the foods above, do not consume them!


References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5433529/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4425030/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3337124/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3023901/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15505215
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7782892/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21524710/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5390821/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5713359/
  10. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0955286313000946
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29336590
  12. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jchem/2015/591869/
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27358411
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16445749
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5083795/
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1379072/
  17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5522834/
  18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1091790/

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  • Branden Evans
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