Foods to boost gut health
Everything in health is rooted in the digestive issues. The health of the gut is implicated in every single cell in the body, you are truly what you absorb! And hence, you are not what you just eat but indeed what you are capable of doing with what you eat.
Gut health has implications beyond simply digestion, the state of the gut health helps to regulate mood through serotonin production ( 90% of this amazing hormone is produced in the gut), helps in balancing blood sugar levels and metabolism aiding weight management. Optimal gut health also helps in cognitive function. And 70-80% of the immune system resides in the gut. It is intriguing to know that the total surface area of our gut is approximately the size of a half a badminton court and this is the reason why the foods we eat have such a deep impact on health. Wondering who houses this? Well, it’s these billions of live bacteria in the gut which include fungi, parasites and viruses. It is estimated that the gut contains approximately 35,000 different strains of bacteria. The majority are found in the large intestine. They are essential for human development, immunity and nutrition and has the reputation of a supporting organ weighing 5LBS, due it playing many key roles in promoting the day-to-day operations of the human body! The integrity of the gut lining can become compromised if its constantly being exposed to irritants through the food we eat and/or the environment we live in. In turn, this causes low- level inflammation and can lead to a variety of disorders.
Every person has a unique organ that is determined by one’s DNA. The first exposure to these microbes is as an infant, during delivery in the birth canal and through breast milk. As you grow, the microbiome begins to diversify with environmental exposures and diet changes that can be beneficial to your health or place you at greater risk for disease.
The trick to optimal gut health is to feed the gut bacteria with foods they love in order for the gut to perform optimally with emphasis on diversity ( variety of foods ) and crowd out foods that may irritate the lining of the gut and help populate the wrong bacteria that can create havoc in the body. Remember food is medicine and a carrier of microscopic nutrition necessary to feed the right type of gut bacteria.
Let’s dive gut health boosting foods :
Bone broth, simmered with animal bones, herbs and vegetables, is an easy-to-digest liquid that is rich in amino acids to support digestion and draw digestive enzymes to the gut. Can charge its digestive and anti-inflammatory benefits by adding ingredients such as ginger, dill, fennel, garlic, onion, goji berries, mushrooms and carrots. It is also soothing to drink.
If vegan or vegetarian a veggie-packed broth is also simple to digest, it simply won’t have the same amino acid profile as bone broth.
Ghee is one of the best foods that helps to heal the gut lining. It is rich in butyric acid, a short-chain fatty acid that nourishes the cells of the intestines. Research on butyric acid shows it helps prevent irritable bowel syndrome symptoms and diarrhea, protects against inflammatory bowel diseases, alleviates constipation and inhibits colon cancer cells.
Coconut Oil is a nutritious saturated fat. It’s anti-microbial, anti-viral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, all of which benefit the digestive tract, and it’s a plant-based fat for those who are vegan or vegetarian. Coconut oil contains a lot of medium-chain fats and these are very easy for us to digest and absorb.
Chia seeds are anti-inflammatory rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and minerals like iron, calcium and magnesium. Great source of fibre helps with regular bowel movements and release of toxins.
Fermented foods are rich in probiotics, the good bacteria in our digestive tract. Sauerkraut, kimchi, apple cider vinegar, kombucha, kefir, fermented vegetables like cucumber, carrots and more can all help to support digestion. Can consume 1-2 tablespoon as a condiment with meals.
Eat whole foods rich in fiber such as quinoa, jowar, amaranth, oat and high fiber fruits and vegetables such as onion, garlic, leek, Jerusalem artichoke, avocado and more. The fiber that we do not digest are digested by the gut bacteria to make compounds that lower inflammation and help building a strong immune system.