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10 foods that are good for your GUT

November 08, 2019 09:30 IST

Gut bacteria affect the way you accumulate fat; how you balance levels of blood sugar, how your body secretes hormones that trigger your hunger pangs and craving for sweet as well.

Salmon

IMAGE: Fatty fish like salmon can help improve your digestion.  Photograph: Courtesy Pixabay.com

The gut is a collected form of a different species of microbes that affect your physiology, psychology and keep your body and brain functioning on a daily basis.

As per studies, these gut bacteria affect the way you accumulate fat; how you balance levels of blood sugar; and how your body secretes hormones that trigger your hunger pangs and craving for sweet as well.

Scientists have also found in a study that gut bacteria produce neurotransmitters that help you to manage your mood including serotonin, dopamine, and Gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA).

Researchers have also termed the gut as the 'second brain' to your nervous system as it sends signals to the brain. It also plays a role in certain psychological diseases and mental health.

In other words, your well-being depends on you having a 'healthy Gut.' When it comes to balancing your gut microbiome at its optimum level, everything is important especially what you eat and drink.

The internal environment of your gut microbiome is based on what food you consume. Hence, the foods you choose to eat are a key component of maintaining gut health.

We can’t afford to eat unhealthy food as it results in a negative effect on our physical and mental health as far as your microbes are concerned.

Amazingly, your body can colonise a new microbiota colony in as little as 24 hours -- just with a little dietary modification.

Based on what food you eat; it determines which bacteria survive in your gut. Research tells us that the 'good gut bacteria' get stronger when fed colorful, plant-based foods.

Here's a list of 10 healthy foods, which can help improve the survival of good bacteria and also help remove unhealthy/bad bacteria.

1. Fibre

Fibre like Inulin present in different vegetables works as a prebiotic food for friendly bacteria like bifidobacterium and lactobacillus.

Boosting bifidobacteria gives many benefits like reducing the population of potentially damaging bacteria. It also helps to improve bowel movements, and actually helps boost immune function. gut bacteria need fiber to thrive in the gut.

Green vegetables contain a high amount of soluble and insoluble fiber to balance your good and bad gut bacteria.

You can top your salad with steamed or adding stir-fried veggies is also a good option for better gut health.

Loading up on cabbage cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, kale, spinach, zucchini etc. with different fresh herbs can give crispiness, colour and texture to your meals can also improve your gut health.

2. Ginger

In our culture we use ginger on a regular basis for our home cooked meals.

Our grandparents used it to treat cold and cough in Kadha or Kava form.

Ginger also helps in the production of stomach acid and stimulates the digestive enzymes for better digestion and improves gut health.

You can have it in salad form or add raw grated ginger in your soups and dal.

Making ginger tea with a dash of lemon is a great morning beverage option.

As per research, ginger also helps speeding up the digestion process that moves food from the stomach into the small intestine.

3. Garlic

It contains antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, which helps flushes out bad bacteria and rid one of inflammation, thus helping your gut to balance good and bad bacteria.

You can use fermented garlic also because fermentation helps to increase the benefits of garlic with other good bacteria.

4. Brussels sprouts

It contains more fiber along with sulphur compounds which fight unhealthy bacteria such as H-pylori and helps improve your digestive issues.

You can add brussels sprouts in your salads to boost gut health.

5. Fish oil

Fish oil not only helps improve heart health but also gut health as well.

Adding fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel in your diet can help improve digestion. Your body needs a higher dose of fish oil to get real benefits.

In order to achieve that, the supplementation of Omega 3,6,9 is the best way.

Doctors and researchers have found that one of the most common reasons for visiting a gastroenterologist is the deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids by IBS patients which you can get from fish.

6. Kimchi

Fermented cabbage in the form of kimchi is very famous as a side dish in China.

It is an excellent combination of pre and probiotic food. It helps reduce bloating because of its prebiotic properties.

It helps improve immune power by its major antioxidant quality.

In research, it's found that adding kimchi in your daily lifestyle helps to lower your LDL and improve lipid profile.

7. Bone broth

Chicken bones contain pure high-quality collagen peptide, which helps improve your cartilage as well as heals your internal lining of the gut.

It also increases the amount of collagen in the tissues and may help protect joints from unnecessary stress.

Research shows that the collagen found in the connective tissue of chickens also improves knee joint symptoms, like pain and stiffness in people with osteoarthritis.

In the form of bone broth, it helps reduce inflammation.

It also provides special amino acids like glutamine to work as building blocks of protein and helps heal the intestinal barrier in the human gut.

The amino acid found in bone broth called glycine works in a therapeutic way to improve sleep and give better mental and physical recovery.

A higher amount of protein in bone broth makes you feel full entire day and boosts your weight loss.

Bone broth comprises a readily available dense form of nutrients and minerals that may help to keep the body working at its optimum level.

8. Almond milk

Almond milk is an exceptional and natural source of vitamin E (a fat-soluble antioxidant) that helps protect your body from free radical damage.

Some brands fortify their almond milk with an extra dose of calcium and Vitamin D, which also helps improve your bone health.

9. Yoghurt

Yoghurt is full of lactobacillus friendly bacteria that helps in breaking down of food for better digestion, increases absorption of micro-nutrients like vitamins and minerals and also reduces bad bacteria which causes weight gain, diarrhea, mood swing, ADHD and different hormonal and psychological diseases.

10. Kefir

It is one of the most probiotic-rich foods to add in your daily routine to improve your gut health.

Kefir is a cultured product, which can be cultivated by a different culture of bacteria in coconut water, nut milk or dairy-based.

It can also help you avoid lactose intolerance symptoms by using coconut water-based kefir.

Just make sure the quantity and quality of sugar should be under control as an excessive amount of sugar in kefir can affect your gut microbiome too and worsen the gut health instead of giving a positive effect.

I would advise taking probiotic bacteria 30 minutes before or simultaneously with a meal or drink that contained some fat to increase the highest rates of survival and balancing your microbiota.

Many people take probiotic supplements during any time of the day which is of no use.

The timing of probiotic supplement consumption or food is important too.

Nisha Bajaj is nutritionist at Digestive Health Institute by Dr Muffi.

Nisha Bajaj
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