5 Foods Your Gut Will Love
We’ve seen a lot of discussions recently about gut health, but what exactly does that mean? “Gut health” describes the functions and balance of bacteria of the many parts of the gastrointestinal tract. Organs such as the esophagus, stomach, and intestines all work together to allow us to eat and digest food without discomfort. Our bodies contain around 40 trillion bacteria, most of which live in our intestines. These bacteria are collectively known as gut microbiota and they help with everything from digestion to protecting your body against infections. They play a vital role in the health of our entire body. That being said, an unbalanced gut can cause some real trouble.
According to Healthline, signs of an unbalanced gut microbiome include:
- Upset stomach. Stomach disturbances like gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and heartburn.
- Sleep disturbances or constant fatigue.
- Unintentional weight changes
- Skin irritation
- Food intolerances
Experts recommend eating a diverse diet that incorporates probiotic, prebiotic, and fibrous foods, so we’ve put together a list of 5 foods that your gut will love (a few may even surprise you!)
A staple in Korean cuisine, Kimchi is a traditional side dish made of salted and fermented vegetables like Nappa cabbage, Korean radish, onions, garlic, and various seasonings (though there are hundreds of varieties). Not only is it delicious, but it’s also packed with nutrients and probiotics. Fermented foods are altered using some form of bacteria or yeast, converting the sugars into alcohol or acids. This process produces ‘good’ bacteria (probiotics) that have been shown to aid in digestive health.
Blueberries are rich in polyphenols which are plant compounds that have benefits such as reducing blood pressure, inflammation, cholesterol levels, and oxidative stress. Though they can’t always be digested by human cells, they can be digested by gut bacteria in the colon. They have been shown to increase the quantity of Bifidobacteria and lactobacilli in humans, which has been linked to lower levels of triglycerides and C-reactive protein (A marker of inflammation).
Though commonly thought of as a pesky weed, dandelions are actually very high in nutrients and have been eaten by humans for thousands of years. They are a source of vitamins A, C and K, iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
The root of the dandelion is rich in inulin, which is a type of soluble fiber that supports the growth and maintenance of bacterial flora in your intestinal tract.
Another fantastic fermented food! This fermented soybean paste is a source of zinc, copper, magnesium, and small amounts of B vitamins. Like kimchi, miso promotes a healthy gut flora. It is also considered to be a source of complete protein because it contains all the amino acids needed for human health.
Of course, we can’t talk about gut health without talking about yellow pea fiber! Fiber plays a well-documented role in the health of our gut. Dietary fiber can’t be digested by your body. However, it can be digested by certain bacteria in your gut, stimulating their growth. Yellow pea fiber was shown to increase the presence of Lachnospira bacteria in the gut, a bacteria that is commonly linked to weight loss.
The topic of gut health is a complex and interesting one. The best part of paying more attention to your gut is that it opens you up to new and diverse foods. As always, we recommend speaking with your doctor before making any major changes to your diet!