The desire to improve your health is more than a gut reaction. Establishing and maintaining good gut health is the key to a healthy immune system, a healthy mental outlook, and overall physical health. This week the Real Food Experience examines how to improve your gut health.
The digestive system is essential for the breakdown and absorption of nutrients needed by the body. When this system is out of balance, the whole body is affected. The body becomes susceptible to bacteria and disease, plus it doesn’t allow the body to operate at its peak performance.
“The intestinal barrier operates as the biological door to inflammation, autoimmunity and cancer.” – Allesio Fasano, MD
If you want a better immune system, optimal digestion, and system balance, you should start by building a healthy digestive system. Here are a few ways that you can do that.
Balance your intestinal bacteria. Our stomachs and intestines are loaded with bacteria and not all of it is bad. Good bacteria helps manufacture vitamins (especially B vitamins), enhance absorption of minerals, fight off harmful bacteria, digest food, and metabolize drugs.
- Choose 1-2 probiotic or prebiotic rich foods or drinks and consume them regularly. (See below for examples of real foods you can try.)
- Avoid or limit using antibiotics which can kill beneficial bacteria in our gut.
Be sure to include fiber in your diet. Fiber plays a significant role in gut health. It adds bulk to the diet and improves regularity, which reduces the body’s exposure to potentially dangerous materials. Fiber breaks down in the large intestine and ferments, creating a source of energy for the body. In addition, fiber also regulates the pH levels and helps promote an environment in the digestive system that is ideal for the growth of beneficial bacteria.
- Whole grains, spinach, cauliflower, carrots, wheat bran, apples, broccoli, beans, figs and pears are all great fiber sources that you can add to your diet.
- Fruits, vegetables, beans, tea and coffee are foods that can improve digestive health.
- Bananas, garlic, asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, honey, leeks and onions all contain prebiotics.
- Foods in the cabbage family and vegetable broths can also help.
- Fermented foods like miso, yogurt, and sauerkraut help promote beneficial bacteria growth.
- Nutrient dense, high-fibre carbohydrates like vegetables are important in the diet. Eat your veggies!
These are just some of the ways that you can improve your gut health. Improving what you eat, getting exercise, and balancing bacteria in your digestive tract will help you improve your overall health. Consider the old saying “You Are What you Eat.” Will you be cheap and sick or healthy and active?
What is the single best thing you can do it improve your health?