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7 Ways to Improve Your Gut Health
Your gut health affects every other aspect of your health! Not only does it play a role in digestion, but you'll find that immunity, brain function, organ function, hormone production, and a dozen other internal functions are all linked to the health of your gut. If you want to be healthier overall, here are a few things you can do to improve your intestinal health today:
Eat More Foods
Notice how it's "foods", plural, and not "food". This is because the idea is to eat a broader range of foods instead of consuming more quantity. A wider variety of food will help to improve your gut health because it encourages the growth of more diverse microbiota. The more diverse your food intake, the better your gut health!
Eat More Plants
A plant-based diet is one that caters to healthy gut bacteria. Meat-heavy diets will promote different bacterial growth than plant-based diets, and the truth is that a veggie-rich diet is far better for your gut health than one high in animal proteins. While it's important that you get enough meat, cheese, eggs, fish, poultry, and other animal-based foods in your diet, you should try to focus on getting as many plant-based foods as possible.
Eat More Fermented Foods
The idea of eating fermented foods may sound nasty, but you'd be amazed by how many different fermented foods there are to choose from. Yoghurt, tempeh, kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut, and kombucha are just a few of the most common fermented foods, and you'll find there's a surprisingly broad variety to choose from. These foods contain bacteria that will either feed your gut bacteria or act as reinforcements to increase microbiota presence.
Prebiotics are foods that encourage the growth of good gut bacteria. Basically, they're complex carbs and fiber that your body is unable to digest, but which are broken down and used as food by the bacteria in your gut. Resistant starch is one of the best prebiotics, and it makes a useful addition to a diet aimed at improving gut health.
Go for High-Fiber Foods
Beans, nuts, lentils, seeds, fruits, veggies, and anything else that has a lot of fiber are an important part of your healthy-gut diet. Fiber is digested by the bacteria living in your gut, and certain types of fiber are actually the "food" that feeds your gut bacteria and enables them to grow and spread. The more fiber you eat, the better not only your digestive function, but your gut health overall!
Cut Back on Artificial Sweeteners
That's right, artificial sweeteners like aspartame can be terrible for your gut health. Not only will they decrease insulin sensitivity and affect your blood sugar levels, but they can also increase the presence of bad bacteria in your gut, thereby increasing your risk of disease. If you MUST have sweeteners in your diet, try to make them healthy and natural: brown sugar, honey, molasses, and Stevia, for example. These sweeteners will have far less impact on your gut health.
Stock up on Polyphenols
Polyphenols are plant compounds that can offer a broad range of health benefits. Not only can they reduce blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels, but they can provide your gut bacteria with the food required to grow and multiply. Polyphenol-rich foods like red wine, dark chocolate, cocoa, green tea, onions, almonds, blueberries, and broccoli are all important additions to your diet. With just a bit more of these foods every day, you can see visible and drastic improvement to your gut health!