Do you have the GUTS to be healthy?
A healthy gut is extremely important for your health.
There are around 40 trillion bacteria in your body, your unknown friends, most of which are in your intestines.
Collectively, they are known as your gut microbiota, and they are hugely important for your health.
However, certain types of bacteria in your intestines can also contribute to many diseases.
Your diet can have a major impact on your health.
Here are some evidence-based ways to improve your gut bacteria.
- Eat diverse range of foods
Diverse diet can lead to a diverse microbiota. The more species of bacteria you have, the greater number of health benefits they may be able to contribute to.
- Have good amount of fibre
Fruits, vegetables, legumes, beans are high in fibre. Fiber promotes the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, including Bifidobacteria.
- Fermented foods are good to go
Fermented foods are foods altered by microbes like yoghurt, sauerkraut, kimchi etc which are rich in lactobacilli and can benefit the microbiota by enhancing its function and reducing the abundance of disease-causing bacteria in the intestines.
Many yoghurts, especially the flavoured ones contain high levels of sugar.
Therefore, the best yogurt to consume is plain, natural yogurt. This kind of yogurt is made only of
milk and bacteria mixtures, which are sometimes referred to as “starter cultures.”
- Avoid artificial sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners may negatively affect blood sugar levels due to their effects on the gut microbiota.
In few studies, it was found that Aspartame, an artificial sweetener, reduced weight gain, increased blood sugar and impaired insulin response.
- Eat prebiotic foods
Prebiotics are foods that promote the growth of beneficial microbes in the gut. They are mainly fibre
or complex carbohydrates that can’t be digested by human cells. Instead, certain species of bacteria
break them down and use them for fuel.
Many fruits, vegetables and whole grains contain prebiotics.
Prebiotics promote the growth of beneficial bacteria, especially Bifidobacteria. This may help reduce
symptoms of metabolic syndrome in obese people (reduce triglycerides, cholesterol levels in obese)
- Eat whole grains
Whole grains contain lots of fibre and non-digestible carbs, such as beta-glucan that can promote the growth of beneficial bacteria within the gut microbiota. These changes to the gut flora may improve certain aspects of metabolic health like reduced inflammation and heart disease risk factors.
- Eat foods rich in polyphenols
Polyphenols are plant compounds that have many health benefits, including reductions in blood pressure, inflammation, cholesterol levels and oxidative stress.
Polyphenols can’t be digested efficiently by human cells, but they are efficiently broken down by the gut microbiota.
Good sources of polyphenols include:
Cocoa and dark chocolate, Red wine, Green tea, Almonds, Onions, Blueberries, Broccoli etc
Polyphenols can increase the quantity of Bifidobacteria and lactobacilli and reduce the quantity of Clostridia and is associated with lower levels of triglycerides and C-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation)
- Breastfeeding is vital
Breastfeeding helps an infant develop a healthy microbiota, which may help protect against certain diseases in later life.
Many studies have shown that infants who are formula fed have an altered microbiota that has fewer Bifidobacteria than infants who are breastfed. Breastfeeding is also associated with lower rates of allergies, obesity and other diseases.
Remember the “4 R’s” gut healing approach
R – “Remove” the bad
pathogens, stressors, toxins
R – “Replace” the good
healthy food, dietary fibre, purified water
R – “Re-introduce”
R – “Repair”
the damaged gut mucosa with nutrients like turmeric, omega-3, quercetin, etc