By now you probably know full well how important foods like avocados and fish are for your brain, with their huge amounts of healthy fats, but do you know what you should be eating to keep your gut healthy? When your gut is functioning well, your body can work better. Your immune system will be stronger, you will feel better, and you will probably even lose weight.
Dr. Gerard Mullin, the author of the book The Good Gut Diet, explains,"When I entered college I was morbidly obese. So I decided to create my own diet plan, one that was rich with fibre. I now realize that I'd developed a way of eating that was supporting the growth of friendly bacteria in my gut with prebiotic fibre-rich foods and live yoghurt cultures. I realized that it wasn't my fault that I was so large. I hadn't been eating lots of junk food; I was just unknowingly eating the wrong foods. If you're overweight, it's likely not your fault either." You have to know what to eat to keep your gut healthy.
Here are five different foods that are gut-healthy, as well as being foods that provide other health benefits:
1. Fermented foods
Foods that are fermented offer you a terrific way to get healthy bacteria into your gut. In particular, foods like miso soup, sauerkraut, fresh pickles, and kefir all provide plenty of bacteria. The bacteria in kefir is actually live bacteria, and offers anti-inflammatory benefits, too.
2. Leafy greens
Leafy greens should be a staple of your diet for many reasons. They are not only terrific for helping to build bones by adding calcium and nutrients, but they offer microbiomes that help to keep a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut.
Because fibre is good for the gut, most fruits and vegetables would make this list. Berries are especially good for you. Mullin explains the benefits of berries, "They're loaded in fibre, so that helps feed the good bacteria." Not only do they offer great fibre, they are also filled with phytonutrients that offer anti-inflammatory benefits. Blueberries are great for your heart, blackberries are a wonderful way to cleanse your system, and strawberries are being recognized as having nutrients that help protect the brain from Alzheimer’s.
Even though nuts contain fat, Mullin highly recommends having them in your diet. He states, "Nuts are loaded with anti-inflammatory fats," and recommends reaching for a handful anytime you get a craving for a snack—especially walnuts, which have been associated with helping to prevent colon cancer.
Fruits are naturally good for the gut. Berries, seedless red grapes, and black grapes get high marks from Dr. Mullin. Apples are great, as well, but, for some, there might be too much fructose. Baking them can change that and make them healthier for your gut with the high levels of pectin.
Despite this simple list of foods that are great for your gut, most of us are not eating enough of them. Foods that contain GMOs are thought to be especially gut-wrecking, and should be avoided because of the potential for high levels of chemicals in your foods.
Mullin explains, "The studies out there are mostly done on animals, but they're raising concerns on what GMOs do to the microbiome. There's this area of uncertainty, and it's best to stay away from areas of uncertainty until proven otherwise."
Mullin highly recommends that we should start to focus more on eating healthier foods and avoiding foods containing high levels of pro-inflammatory fats. "A good grass-fed occasional steak, wild bison, or antibiotic-free chicken—those are all good choices for protein," says Mullin. “
Following these guidelines can lead you to a healthier, more well-balanced gut, and better progress with your weight loss goals.