Good gut health goes a lot further than digestion. A healthy, balanced gut may help reduce inflammation, improve mood, enhance immune strength, and boost energy.
Keeping your gut healthy, however, takes work. It’s true that you were born with a certain makeup of gut bacteria, or perhaps even a condition like irritable bowel syndrome, but there are ways you can influence its function.
You may be able to control the population of bacteria that lives in your gut to a certain extent. Good things can happen when you’ve got a diverse population of flora – called the microbiome.
Signs of an imbalanced gut include stomach problems like gas, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. Mood swings, depression, and fatigue can also occur. Skin problems like eczema can arise, as can weaker immunity or a growing number of food intolerances.
You may be able to improve gut health with the help of this cheat sheet:
- Ensure you drink enough water
- Eat leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, asparagus, broccoli, and cabbage
- Snack on fiber-rich fruit like apples, pears, strawberries, blueberries, and more. Fruits provide sweetness and a variety of textures.
- Use fresh herbs and spices to season food. Ginger, garlic, turmeric, cinnamon, and different chilis are all good options.
- Eat “probiotic” rich foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and miso. Buy plain yogurt and add fruit, nuts, or other healthy toppings to add flavor.
- Elect whole grains like oats, whole wheat bread, and pasta instead of cereal and white options.
- Include healthy fats from nuts, avocado, olive oil, seeds, and nut butter
On the other hand, there are foods you’ll want to avoid. They include:
- Fried foods
- Highly processed meats like deli meats, bacon, hot dogs, and sausages.
- Foods with refined grains, like white bread and pasta
- Sugar sweets, including jams.
- Soft drinks
- Foods with artificial sweeteners
Adopting a diet rich in nutrients, fiber, and fresh food will likely improve gut health and enhance your overall health and how you feel every day.