Chances are you’ve heard at least one person talk about the importance of gut health. The truth is, they couldn’t be more spot on. Balance in your gut microbiome is key to your general wellbeing, and what you eat plays a huge role in the health of your microbiome. But what does a gut-health oriented diet look like? Here are the best and worst foods for gut health.
The WORST foods for your gut
There is at least some truth to the idea that gluten can be harmful to your health. While it may provide a good texture to food, research has shown that even if you’re not gluten intolerant, gluten-based foods can have long-term effects on your microbiome.
For those with celiac disease, a gluten-free diet is essential to avoiding sickness and maintaining good gut health. Studies have confirmed that when an individual with celiac disease consumes gluten, the immune system responds by causing damage to the small intestine, leading to abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating and fatigue.
We all know that sugar isn’t the best ingredient for your body. But why is it bad for your gut?
Your gut is constantly at work to maintain good and bad bacteria – but sometimes we have a higher abundance of “bad” bacteria, which can lead to inflammation and digestive upset. One of the foods that feed these bad bacteria is sugar, more particularly highly refined, added sugars.
This theory about sugar and gut health has been supported by promising new research. In 2018, one study found that high consumptions of fructose (a form of sugar) slowed the growth of good bacteria in mice.
Processed foods are well known for sabotaging your diet. It’s blamed for obesity rates, high blood pressure and the rise of Type 2 diabetes. But did you know that processed foods can also cause distress to your gut?
In one study, a researcher found that when his adult son ate strictly processed foods for a week, he lost about a third of gut bacteria, many of which were beneficial to the microbiome. And among the species that stuck around, one linked to problems with weight really flourished.
Research conducted by Georgia State University also found that emulsifiers (an active ingredient in processed foods) dramatically increases gut inflammation, which then increases the risk of developing chronic conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease or metabolic syndrome. All the more reason to kiss the fries goodbye!
The BEST foods for your gut
Fermented foods have gained plenty of traction from health experts ever since they found them to be effective in aiding gut health. Naturally fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, kombucha, and many pickles are great sources of probiotics because they contain live bacteria. While research hasn’t been able to identify whether the bacteria they contain reach the gut, it has been noted that in countries where this type of food is popular, people appear to have better gut health and less bowel disease.
Sourdough bread may not contain probiotics by the time you eat it, but it definitely contains prebiotics – the other side to a healthy gut. Sourdough’s reputation as a gut-healthy food is mainly thanks to its fermentation process. As opposed to commercial yeast, sourdough ferments slowly which reduces the gluten content and enhances the bioavailability of nutrients in the flour.
Many people have also claimed that they find sourdough bread easier to digest than other bread. This is because microbes have had more time to break down the protein strands that might otherwise cause digestive problems.
If you’re looking to improve your gut health, reach for some yoghurt – more specifically, live yoghurts!
Traditionally produced yoghurts, or ‘live’ yoghurts are rich in probiotics and contain a high amount of beneficial bacteria that improve gut health. The best thing about ‘natural’ and ‘live’ yoghurts is that they help to restore the balance of ‘good bacteria’ within the intestines. If you have digestive issues or problems with bloating, it is highly recommended that you increase your probiotic intake. This will assist with alleviating any gas or discomfort caused by an excessive amount of ‘bad bacteria’.
At the end of the day, if you’re looking to improve your gut health, make sure you stay updated about the best and worst foods for gut health.
It all comes back to eating lots of foods that are rich in prebiotics (food for the bacteria) and probiotics such as fermented foods and whole grains and vegetables, and steering clear of processed foods and sugar.
A healthy gut is about much more than keeping chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer at bay. It’s also the main driver of healthy digestion and good mental health!
Other ways to boost your gut health
If you’re wanting to know how to help boost your immune system via your gut through other alternatives, try taking a supplement!
As you may know by now, your digestive health plays a significant role in sustaining your immune system. By strengthening your microbiome through the ingestion of probiotic and prebiotic supplements, the cells, proteins, and tissues in your gut will shield more effectively against any harmful bacteria and toxins.
TrueForm offers a great range of probiotic and prebiotic formulas that are rich in vitamins and minerals which assist in maintaining a healthy immune system and gastrointestinal system. Probiotic supplements from TrueForm are a great way to maintain your gut health, especially if you’re concerned about your diet and microbiome. Taking a supplement can benefit you in a variety of ways, from your digestive health to your immune function.
If you’re wanting to know how to help boost your immune system via your gut, don’t go past TrueForm’s extensive range of probiotic and prebiotic formulas.