Your gut has a lot of microbes that affect your physiology. And so, maintaining good gut health is essential for the wellness of both your body and mind. It can be tricky to choose the right kind of gut-friendly foods and that’s why we’ve got you a guide to help resolve the confusion about what to eat because it’s the gut-way or no way!
So, what is your run-of-the-mill gut-friendly food?
Any food that aids in digestion by breaking down food particles into nutrients and energy is gut-friendly. For example, green leafy vegetables, whole grains, beans, lean proteins, superfoods like avocado can create a positive gut environment. On the other hand, junk food, excess red meat, eggs, dairy can be damaging to your gut health.
Here is a list of foods that aid your digestive system and keep you healthy:
1. Green leafy vegetables
Go green with leafy vegetables! New research has proven that microbiota, your gut bacteria, love to feed on a unique sugar molecule that is found in green leafy vegetables. Dark green vegetables are a great source of magnesium, folate, lutein and beta carotene that is especially good for your eyes, heart and brain.
The best greens for your guts include kale, spinach, beet greens, mustard greens, dark green leaf lettuce and Romaine lettuce. You can consume them as salads, or opt for the good old’ way of steaming or sautéing.
2. Whole Grains
Whole grains have various health benefits that include propagating good gut health. Whole grains are inherently richer in dietary fibres and contain 80% more dietary fibres than refined grains.
Apart from gastrointestinal health, studies have also found that whole grains are proven to be helpful in the prevention of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and obesity. Whole grains are rich sources of vitamins, minerals, β-glucan and sphingolipids.
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An added advantage of consuming whole grains is that they fill you up quickly and prevent you from overeating. Popular whole grains you can easily add to your diet are brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, barley, millets and sorghum.
3. Lean protein
Lean protein sourced from both plants and animals can promote good gut health. Black beans are one of the most inexpensive sources of lean protein that can be added to your daily diet. You can make a black bean soup or make a salad out of it.
Certain types of seafood (cod, haddock, pollock, flounder, halibut and tilapia) also have some great benefits for your gut health and should be included in your diet. Choosing leaner cuts of meat are also suggested to improve gut health.
4. Fermented foods
Fermented foods contain vibrant probiotics that play a wonderful role in gut microbiota balance. Some of the gut-friendly fermented foods that are worth a shot include:
a. Sauerkraut: fermented cabbage that can be consumed as a salad.
b. Tempeh: fermented soy food that can be added in salads, sandwiches and as a plant alternative to bacon.
c. Miso: traditional Japanese bean paste consisting of good bacteria that are great for your gut and helps prevent cancer, lower blood pressure as well as supports weight loss.
d. Kefir: cultured, fermented beverage that tastes a lot like yoghurt.
e. Kimchi: fermented cabbage that is made with several different spices and ingredients. It is a Korean alternative to sauerkraut
Digestion can be challenging sometimes, especially if you’re not eating carefully. Adding whole grains, dark green vegetables and various kinds of lean foods to your diet aid in digestion while also helping you not gain extra weight. What’s more, is that these gut-friendly foods can be consumed in various ways- from salads to whole cooked meals, so your options are indeed endless!