Maintaining a healthy and well-balanced gut is crucial to your overall health since any abnormalities in your gut will greatly impact other functions and processes in your body. Bacteria imbalance in your gut occurs when there are more harmful bacteria than good ones in your gut, increasing your risks of developing conditions that are directly associated with the digestive system, like ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Moreover, an unhealthy balance in your gut can signal your brain to feel hungry, encouraging you to eat more, which may result in obesity. An unhealthy gut can also cause upset stomach and skin irritation that can eventually take a toll on your physical and mental health.
An individual’s gut microbiome isn’t acquired through genetics in any way, but your lifestyle and environment are the biggest influencers of your gut microbiome. The foods that you eat are the primary factors that impact your gut microbiome, so make sure that you’re consuming the right foods to improve your gut health, such as the following:
1. Fermented Foods
Good bacteria found in your gut microbiome can be found in foods, thus consuming them improves bacteria balance in your gut and boosts your immune system. Probiotics, or good bacteria, may also restore regularity in your stomach during constipation and relieve diarrhoea caused by contaminated food, antibiotic use, and virus.
When it comes to probiotics, you’ll never run out of options as there are numerous fermented foods that you can incorporate into your diet, including:
- Apple cider vinegar
- Blue cheese
Although these foods don’t have an appealing smell and taste and are difficult to eat, they’re gut-friendly and good for the body. Additionally, taking probiotic supplements is also a good addition to your source of good bacteria.
2. Lactose- and Dairy-Free Yogurt
Yoghurt is also a fermented food, but it’s worth exploring this wonderful food separately from others. Essentially, yoghurt is produced through the fermentation of milk, but there are lactose- and dairy-free products derived from rice, soy, or almond milk that offer better digestion than its dairy counterparts.
Despite diverting from dairy milk, you can still enjoy the health benefits of its active bacteria cultures, like the L. acidophilus, L. bulgaricus, S. thermophilus, and Bifidobacteria.
Lactose- and dairy-free yoghurt are ideal for lactose intolerant individuals and people with vegan diets. When shopping for vegan yoghurt, make sure to inspect its sugar content since high sugar levels can exacerbate an unhealthy gut. Ideally, choose yoghurts with less than five grams of added sugar, then the rest is personal preference involving taste and mouthfeel.
3. High-Fibre Foods
Along with probiotics, fibre is another vital nutrient for one’s digestive health that mainly promotes the good health of your colon cells. Fibre powers digestion to occur smoothly and regularly, adding bulk and good form in your stool. This is another reason why bowel irregularities result in watery and irregular defecation.
If your diet lacks fibre, it’s important to introduce an adequate amount of fibre into your diet gradually to prevent cramping and gas. The ideal daily intake of fibre should be 38 grams for men and 25 grams for women. Also, you should stay well-hydrated throughout the day as water works well with fibre.
Here are some fibre-rich, gut-friendly foods that you can mix-match in your regular diet:
- Fruits such as passion fruits, avocados, guavas, strawberries, raspberries, bananas, pears, watermelons, apples
- Vegetables including artichokes, leeks, onions, asparagus, garlic, carrots, broccoli, beets, Brussels sprouts, lentils, kales, spinaches, and tomatoes
4. Coconut Oil
The coconut palm tree is often regarded as the tree of life because of its many purposes and benefits, which isn’t difficult to see why. Surprisingly, coconut oil is advantageous for the gut thanks to its 50% lauric acid content–the fatty acids in coconut oil–that inhibit harmful bacteria from thriving in your gut, regulating healthy bacteria.
Furthermore, taking a spoonful of virgin coconut oil also helps calm down and soothe your intestinal tract, promoting a strong gut barrier. If you don’t like taking coconut oil directly because of its greasy texture, here are some tips to add it to your food:
- Bake sweet treats using coconut oil, such as cookies, brownies, and cupcakes
- Add it to your favourite drinks like smoothies, coffee, and tea
- Use coconut oil as a cooking oil
Aside from being a healthy and convenient snack, do you know that regularly eating almonds can also improve your gut health? According to studies, almonds contain prebiotic properties that work by inducing the growth of essential microorganisms in your gut. Almonds are also known to improve your digestive health by increasing your body’s levels of beneficial and healthy gut bacteria.
6. Foods That Boost The Body’s Collagen Production
While popularly known due to its advantages for the skin, hair, and bone health, the structural protein, which is known as collagen, has an amino acid profile that’s highly beneficial for the gut. An excessive release of gastric juices can compromise your digestion, but collagen was found to contribute to the regulation of the excretion of gastric juices in your stomach, preventing an overly acidic environment in your gut.
Collagen also contains two essential amino acids–proline and glycine–that can prevent ulcers caused by stress and soothe and repair the stomach and intestinal lining as they stop harmful gastric juice releases.
Here are some foods that can naturally increase collagen production in your body:
- Bone broth
- Egg whites
- Fish and shellfish
- Tropical fruits
- Leafy greens
- Bell pepper
Indeed, the food that you consume in your daily diet takes a great toll on your health. Since your food is transported and digested in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract, or gut, it’s one of the few parts of your body that’ll experience the signs of an unhealthy diet first. Therefore, it’s important to take the foods mentioned above for a better gut and health and, most importantly, excellent overall health.
Matt Bacon is a full-time blogger who writes articles about health and wellness. Matt has been overweight in the past and is sharing his experience on how he successfully lost weight in his blog, during his leisure, Matt loves to spend time with his pets at home.