Eat These Foods For Optimal Gut Health And Better Digestion

foods for gut health

Gut health is being discussed on almost every major wellness platform. From exercises to regulate digestion, to foods to support our microbiome, gut health is becoming the epicenter of our all over health. So when it comes to maintaining optimal gut health, it’s imperative that we put a big focus on nutrition and the foods we consume to keep this part of our system healthy. 

Many health experts  refer to our gut as our  “second brain”. Believe it or not, our gut plays a major role in our mental and physical health, and preserving gut health is way more important than we may realize. The proper functioning of our guts can have major positive effects on our entire bodies including mood and memory!

It’s considered our second brain because our gut and brain are connected via hormones, neurons and chemicals that provide feedback to one another. An example of this connection is when you get a sinking feeling when you happen upon an unpleasant situation, or when you feel “butterflies” in your stomach upon meeting a new crush. Your gut communicates with your brain and is now considered to play a major role in our immune system and inflammation response. So, it’s essential that we keep the health of our gastrointestinal system strong so that we can support many different functions in our body.

It’s important to keep in mind that we need to make sure we are getting plenty of nutrient-filled, anti-inflammatory, and cell-strengthening foods. The levels of good bacteria in our gut are essential in order to have steady nutrient absorption and toxin elimination. The more diverse foods you have in your gut bacteria, the better your gut health will be. Let’s break down some of the best foods for a healthy gut:

Foods For Gut Health

  • Prebiotic foods: foods like garlic, bananas, dandelion greens, legumes, mushrooms, oats, asparagus provides nutrients that gut bacteria feeds on, which then creates fermentation that supports the health of the gut.
  • Probiotic foods: foods like fermented veggies: saurkraut, kimchi, green beans, pickles have bacteria in them that are known as probiotics that provide a diverse array of bacteria for our intestinal tract. Other probiotic rich foods include kombucha, and fermented soy products like tempeh and miso. If you eat dairy, Greek yogurt is a great probiotic choice. Read more about probiotics here.
  • Apple cider vinegar: even though it has a pretty intense taste, when consumed it helps our body create hydrochloric acid that assists with the break down of protein, carbohydrates and fats that we eat. ACV is also a probiotic food. Read more about apple cider vinegar here.
  • Coconut oil: coconut oil contains antiviral and antimicrobial properties in it that may protect our gut from harmful bacteria while maintaining healthy acidic levels in our stomach.
  • Cruciferous veggies: foods like kale, brocolli, caufliflower, and brussels sprouts contain sulferic compounds that assists with digestion and natural elimination (aka it helps us stay regular). 
  • Sprouted grains: sprouted grains may be easier to digest than regular wheat products, and when we consume foods that are more easily digestible, it is easier for us to absorb all the vitamins minerals and nutrients that we get from food.
  • High fiber foods: foods like legumes, beans, and apples not only help us stay fuller longer, but high fiber foods also help move food along our digestive tract to help us stay regular. 

So next time you meal plan for the week or start to get a list together for your next trip to the grocery store, remember the importance of gut health and incorporate these foods into your diet. By supporting the function of our “second brain”, we can prevent health issues in the long run and will promote more energy, clarity, and a general feeling of lightness by keeping our digestion running smoothly. Listen to your gut, and feed it well!

 

Contributing writer: Lauren Cumbo

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