Want Good Gut Health? Load Up on These 4 Foods!
Your gastrointestinal (GI) tract, also known as the gut, is part of your digestive system and is composed of the following: mouth, esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines, rectum and anus. This long passageway is where the food you eat is broken down so that your body can absorb the components that it needs.
Accessory digestive organs — salivary glands, pancreas, liver, and gallbladder — provide the digestive enzymes that are essential to this process.
In addition to digestion and absorption, your gut also plays a role in your immunity. Approximately 70% to 80% of your body’s immune cells are actually found in your gut!
When you provide your gut with much-needed vitamins and minerals, it is able to create an environment that can allow good bacteria to thrive and positively influence your immune health.
Your diet plays a crucial role in your overall health, and especially of your gut, so here are some foods you can check out to boost your wellness:
The amount of fiber you eat directly affects the amount and diversity of good bacteria in your GI tract. Eating food rich in either soluble or insoluble fiber, both of which can act as prebiotics, helps create an environment in your big intestines that allows the good bacteria to thrive.
In fact, results of a 2021 study showed that people who increased their fiber consumption by 25 grams a day for two weeks had increased amounts of good bacteria strains like Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus in their gut.
Where to find: Fruits, dark leafy green vegetables, cruciferous vegetables, whole grains, and fiber supplements like psyllium husk
Often referred to as good bacteria, probiotics assist with maintaining a good balance of bacteria in your GI tract, crowding out the bad bacteria, helping reduce inflammation, and promoting good digestion.
Moreover, increased consumption of probiotics was said to help stimulate cells within the gut, enhance immune system function, lower serum cholesterol levels, promote antihypertensive effects, and address irritable bowel diseases.
Where to find: Fermented food like kimchi, kombucha, miso, sauerkraut, and yogurt
- Vitamin C
Although vitamin C is more known as an antioxidant that fights free radicals and helps with collagen formation, did you know that it can also be good for your gut?
Another 2021 study revealed that subjects who took high doses of vitamin C supplements had higher amounts of bacteria belonging to the Lachnospiraceae family. However, there were some reductions to certain bacteria strains, so it is best to exercise caution in that area.
With that being said, it may be better to eat more vitamin C-rich food and complement these with high-quality Vitamin C supplements
Where to find: Citrus fruits like oranges and lemons, bell peppers, tomatoes, and vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage
- Vitamin D
Another vitamin that is not typically associated with gut health but does offer potential would be vitamin D. According to results of a 2020 study, women who were given vitamin D supplements reported increased diversity of good gut bacteria strains.
Notably, authors noted that there was an abundance of good Bacteroidetes bacteria as well as reduced amounts of Firmicutes. Higher amounts of the latter compared to the former have been linked to health issues like obesity.
Vitamin D is best obtained by spending time under the sun, although you can also ask your doctor about vitamin D supplements & a vitamin D-rich diet.
Where to find: Egg yolks, liver, and fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel
These research demonstrate their potential in improving your gut health. The father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, said that “All disease starts in the gut,” so it is vital that you start maintaining its good health today. To know more about the other strategies you can consider to improve gut health, consult a trusted doctor today.