Contributed by – Preksha Buttan
People tell you to trust your gut instincts when you want to decide something, well there is a lot of sense in that. Your gut is like a second brain, which tells you if something’s wrong. Most aspects of your body’s well-being are dependent on your gut. In fact, even your mood is dependent on it, since almost 90% of serotonin, the feel-good hormone, is produced in the gut. So that weird feeling you get when you think too much about your binge eating session is your gut telling you that you are stressing.
Since your gut plays such an important role, it is imperative for you to keep it healthy and since our diet is the most significant way in which we keep our selves healthy, we tell you what you should eat for a healthy gut.
What Are The Signs Of An Unhealthy Gut?
Before we talk about the food for a healthy gut, first let us look at the signs and symptoms of an unhealthy gut.
- Food intolerance
- Unexplained changes in weight
- Disturbed sleep
- Constant fatigue
- Skin conditions
- High sugar intake
- Upset stomach
- Autoimmune diseases
- Frequent illness
- Joint pains
What You Should Really Eat For A Healthy Gut?
Eat a diverse range of food
There are almost 40 trillion bacteria in our gut protecting us from illnesses, digesting the food we eat, making essential nutrients and also shaping the DNA. Each of these bacteria has different requirements to perform their unique function. If your diet has limited types of food in it, then you are creating an unhealthy environment for these bacteria to thrive. Thus, make sure that your diet consists of a wide range of fruits and vegetables. These foods are also high in fibre which is digested by the bacteria in the gut, which, in turn, stimulate their growth.
Add more of fermented food into your diet
Fermented food like yoghurt, Indian cheese, rice and dal batters, fermented soybean and kanji are altered by microbes. A lot of these foods are rich in lactobacilli. Those who have lactobacilli in good amount in their gut have less of Enterobacteriaceae, which is a disease-causing bacteria. These foods can modify your intestinal bacteria and help those who are lactose intolerant. You will also find relief from irritable bowel syndrome with the help of fermented foods. However, stay clear of flavoured yoghurt as it has a high amount of sugar. Mass-produced pickles are not healthy for you as well because instead of natural fermentation, vinegar is used in them which does not provide equal health benefits.
Eat whole grains
Eat more and more whole grains like barley, millet and buckwheat. They contain non-digestible carbs which are not absorbed by the small intestine. Instead, they reach the large intestine where most of the gut bacteria live. These carbs are broken down by these bacteria. It promotes the growth of Bifidobacteria, lactobacilli and Bacteroides. Whole grains will also give you a feeling of fullness and they also reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Eat foods which are rich in polyphenols
Polyphenols can be found in red wine, grape skins, green tea, almonds, onions, blueberries, cocoa and dark chocolates. They too are not digested by the small intestine and end up in large intestine where they are finally digested by the gut bacteria. They can promote the growth of Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli. These changes can help you in reducing blood pressure, inflammation and cholesterol.
Eat a diet rich in plant-based foods
It is not like meat isn’t healthy, but, the fact that plant-based food has more of fibre content in it makes it healthier for your gut. Oranges, apples, spinach, broccoli, carrots, salads, almonds, sunflower seeds and many more such foods are rich in fibre. And since fibre is digested by the gut bacteria, these foods help in improving your gut health. These foods might as will reduce cholesterol, inflammation and weight.
Daily Habits And Gut Health
If you are making alterations into your diet with the aim of having a healthy gut, then you might as well change these habits.
Reduce stress – Stress is responsible for a lot of health issues including gut health. Learning stress management methods might be helpful to maintain gut health.
Don’t take antibiotics unnecessarily – Using antibiotics unnecessarily hampers the gut health. Many species may not revive even after 6 months of usage. So, do not make antibiotics your daily habit.
Exercise on a regular basis – Exercise helps you maintain your weight and heart health. This makes an appropriate environment for the good gut bacteria, which in turn gives you healthy gut.
Sleep enough – Irregular sleep habits can cause harm to your gut health. It may increase the risk of inflammation. Maintaining a proper sleep routine will not only help you achieve good gut health but will improve your mood too.
Quit smoking – Smoking increases bad gut bacteria thereby damaging your gut health and making you prone to a lot of illnesses. Other than this, smoking damages your heart and lungs as well.
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