Do you know the foods you should be eating for better gut health?
Have you ever had a “gut feeling” or felt butterflies in your stomach because you were excited?
Your gut and brain are connected by millions of nerve cells and the gut is often called the second brain for good reason.
When your gut is in bad health, it can take a toll on your mental wellbeing by increasing depression and anxiety. After all, the majority of serotonin is created in the gut, and low serotonin can lead to sugar cravings, addicting behavior, and mood disorders.
Since almost 80% of your immune system resides inside the gut, it’s vital that you are eating foods for better gut health.
Your gut is full of billions of colonies of bacteria that help to digest food, produce serotonin and boost your immune system. This delicate balance can get disrupted by overeating sugar, pesticides in our vegetables, and even use of prescription medications.
By daily adding in some foods for better gut health, you can not only increase your immune system but also lower your risk of various diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
Best Foods for Gut Health
1. Cruciferous Vegetables
Vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower contain sulfur and antioxidants which work on reducing inflammation in the body. They also contain fiber which is vital to keep the colon clean and to move regularly.
Broccoli is a powerhouse of nutrients such as vitamin C and vitamin D which help protect your body from infection. Both broccoli and cauliflower can be eaten raw or cooked to benefit the gut. Because cauliflower has such a mild flavor, it can be made into so many delicious recipes such as mashed potatoes, pizza crusts or cauliflower rice.
2. Fermented Foods
Items such as yogurt, kimchi, and kombucha contain live micro-organisms called probiotics which help to replenish the good bacteria in your gut. Probiotics are beneficial strains of bacteria that boost your immune system, increase serotonin and help to regulate hormones.
Fermented foods have been shown to not only improve gut health but to reduce depression, anxiety and type 2 Diabetes by up to 30% when eaten on a regular basis. You can make fermented sauerkraut easily right in your kitchen as a great source of probiotics.
3. Unripe Bananas
Green bananas contain a fiber resistant starch that is broken down and eaten by the gut bacteria making it a great source of prebiotics.
Resistant starch has been shown to have a positive effect on gut health and increase bowel movements.It also helps you feel fuller longer leading to less overeating and cravings.
4. Bone Broth
A homemade bone broth is one of the best sources of collagen and gelatin which plays an essential role in repairing leaky gut. By sealing up the gut you can notably reduce inflammation and reduce allergies.Bone broth has a soothing effect on the gut and can relax cramping and discomfort.
It can easily be made in your crockpot or Instant Pot with leftover chicken or beef bones and vegetables. You can also ask your local butcher for soup bones at your local grocery store. Drinking hot bone broth for breakfast is a smart way to start the day.
5. Coconut Products
Coconut products have healthy fats and medium-chain fatty acids such as Caprylic acid. They contain anti-fungal properties to kill off bad pathogens growing inside the gut.
Components in coconut oil such as Caprylic Acid have also been shown to reduce H. Pylori bacteria which causes ulcers.
It’s easy for candida to overgrow when you are overeating sugar, and coconut oil is a healthy way to add healthy fats into your diet and keep pathogens at bay. It’s a great oil to fry in because it has such a high smoke point and can be added right to your skillet.
Caprylic acid can also be taken separately as a supplement in between meals.
Garlic has many anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties to help fight infections, but it is also a source of prebiotics to help feed those good microbes. Healthy gut flora eats prebiotics to thrive and reproduce.
You can add garlic into many meals, but it is best eaten raw while the enzymes are still alive and fresh. Garlic can be taken by capsule if you don’t enjoy the taste of it in your food.
7. Apple Cider Vinegar
Many gut problems are the result of low stomach acid which allows pathogens to multiply. Adding Apple Cider Vinegar to your daily routine helps to properly digest food, detox the body and help balance your body’s PH levels. The pectin from apples in the vinegar also provides a nice source of prebiotics for your beneficial bacteria.
This vinegar is a home remedy for heartburn and uric acid build-up known as Gout. You can add Apple Cider Vinegar to a glass of water and drink in the morning to aid digestion throughout the day and keep your PH balanced.
Your Gut Health Matters
Being mindful of what you are eating will allow you to take care of your gut. Your gut health depends on you choosing foods rich in probiotics and prebiotics so beneficial bacteria can thrive.
It’s also wise to cut out foods with added preservatives, sugars and artificial colors which can be hard on the gut. Sugar allows things like candida and harmful bacteria to multiply quickly putting your health at risk for infection and allergies.
It’s easier to avoid these harmful foods if you shop around the perimeter of the grocery store where the fresh meats, vegetables, and fruits are found. Often the aisles are loaded with processed foods filled with additives.
Keeping a food journal is a smart way to become aware of what you have been eating. It allows you to note symptoms that may arise after you eat a particular food such as bloating, brain fog, or anxiety.
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*All individuals are unique. Your results can and will vary.