March 16, 2021
Do your gut some good
by Mona Jauhar RDN, LD
How important is your gut? So much so that health experts are calling it the second brain! And looking after the second brain is the most important action we can take to keep our health on track. More and more research is showing that any disruption in the health of the gut — including imbalances like leaky gut or dysbiosis—can affect your health in myriad ways. How do you counter that? By streamlining what you eat and the way you live will have a huge impact on the sort of creatures that thrive in your internal ‘rainforest’ as they call it.
Eat new everyday
The more diverse your diet is, the more diverse your gut microbial composition will be. The greater the diversity of your microbiome, the greater number of various health benefits you will reap, such as a stronger and more resilient immune system. Even if your habitual diet is balanced, with plenty of fruit, vegetables, whole grains and so on, having a predictable routine is not likely to do much good for a diverse microbiome. Challenge the concept of constantly eating the same thing.
Get more fiber
Fill your plates with colorful vegetables, fruit and gluten-free whole grains. You should ideally aim for 30 to 50 grams of fiber intake per day and to get there you could add chia seeds, flaxseeds or psyllium husk to your diet. Beans and legumes also contain very high amounts of fiber. Some high-fiber foods that are good for your gut bacteria include raspberries, artichokes, green peas, broccoli, chickpeas, lentils.
Fermented foods have lactobacilli, a type of bacteria that can benefit your health. Foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, tempeh and particularly plain, natural yogurt, can benefit the microbiota by enhancing its function and reducing the abundance of disease-causing bacteria in the intestines.
You probably already know that antibiotics, while doing the important job of killing bacteria that threaten your health, can also wipe out many of the beneficial bacteria living in your gut. Now this can also be true for other common medications like steroids, hormonal birth control, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. So use medications only when absolutely necessary!
Supplements you need
When it comes to improving gut health, there are three supplements that really shine — probiotics, prebiotics and L-glutamine. Consult your health practitioner and plan how to take these. Research says that probiotics can support a healthy gut microbiome, and that it may prevent gut inflammation and other intestinal problems. Probiotics feed on non-digestible carbohydrates called prebiotics. This process encourages beneficial bacteria to multiply in the gut. Probiotics and prebiotics work synergistically together to help bring the microbiome into balance. L-glutamine, other other hand, is an amino acid that’s the primary fuel source for cells lining the intestinal wall and is therefore used for supporting gut health and helping repair leaky gut.
Stay well rested and hydrated
Stress is bad news for the body and the gut is a big part of it. Get hold of yourself, find ways to de stress, work out regularly and make sure you stay hydrated along the way. The digestive system works much better with a good water intake.
PS: Steer clear of gut health offenders such as sugar, processed foods, gluten, alcohol, and pesticide-treated produce!