It's no surprise that what you eat plays a major role in the health
of your digestive system, but are you making sure to incorporate these
gut-healing foods into your daily diet? Check out some of our favorite
snacks and ingredients below, each of which is built to promote and maintain
optimal gut health.
Contrary to popular belief, not all bacteria are bad! Roughly 100 trillion
"good" bacteria live in your gut at any given time, and it's
important that you keep these healthy bacteria alive. By eating foods
with probiotics, like yogurt or fermented food items like sauerkraut and
kimchi, you're increasing the amount of good bacteria in your gut,
essentially improving the ratio of good to bad in your favor. Probiotics
work by looking out for the health of your intestinal lining, particularly
your large intestine or colon. This not only improves the muscle contractions,
but reduces overall pain and discomfort. You can also take probiotics
in supplement form, but why bother when you can opt for whole, healthy
foods instead? Save the money and the hassle, and pick up a big container
of your favorite yogurt at the local market. It doesn't necessarily
need to be Greek yogurt, just keep your eyes peeled for "live active
cultures" on the label.
Fiber plays a huge role in your body's overall digestive health, especially
when it comes to keeping things moving along. Fiber can be found in most
vegetables, including broccoli, carrots, and spinach, but it can also
be found in large doses in whole grains. Gradually adding more fiber to
your diet will do wonders to make your body more regular, avoiding the
ebb and flow of gut pains throughout the digestive process. Be cautious,
however, to not add too much fiber too fast, as that can result in bloating.
Start by aiming for 3-4 servings of whole grains per day, just look for
bread loaves marked as whole grain or a high fiber breakfast cereal.
You either love it or you hate it -- but no matter how you feel about kombucha,
it's making a name for itself for good reason. This fizzy drink with
the tart vinegar taste has been popping up in shops and restaurants at
an unusually quick pace as people begin to learn, understand, and experience
its health benefits. The thick off-white substance often seen floating
around the bottom of the bottle, known as the "mother," is actually
a cluster of yeast and other healthy bacteria that ferment the tea, which
is necessary for it to develop its probiotic properties. With so many
flavors and options to choose from, it's certainly worth grabbing
a couple of bottles to see which one's your favorite!
Bananas are just one of the many fruits known to improve overall gut health.
Bananas, specifically, work by promoting the health and harmony of the
body's good bacteria, which keeps inflammation at bay. The high levels
of magnesium and potassium found in this little dose of nature's candy
also go a long way in minimizing inflammation in the gut.
Ginger is one of many herbs and spices known "carminatives,"
a food item specifically built to prevent the formation of or relieve
already existing gas in the digestive tract. In addition to cinnamon,
nutmeg, cardamom, and more, ginger works to heal the gut from the inside
out. Ginger has long been renowned for its success as a traditional remedy
for nausea or stomach discomfort, so it's no surprise to learn that
every scientific study done on ginger's effect in the gut has turned
up with glowing reviews. In fact, the European Journal of Gastroenterology
& Hepatology performed a study in 2008 and discovered that when people
took ginger capsules along with a meal, the food processed faster and,
as a result, their stomachs emptied at a much quicker pace.
Have you found any foods to be especially beneficial -- or harmful, for
that matter -- to your gut health? Share your examples in the comments
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical
care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.