We’ve already chatted about why gut health is so important for your overall wellbeing. But now it’s time to dive into how you can support your gut health with food. So let’s look at some of the best gut-loving foods you can include in your food choices.
As we talked about last week, probiotics are the good micro-organisms and bacteria that can take up residence in your gut if you treat them nicely. So consuming foods with probiotics can help to introduce these micro-organisms into your gut. Probiotics can be found in fermented food and drinks such as:
- Yoghurts with live cultures (pick a natural, unflavoured option)
- Kefir – both milk and water varieties
- Pickled vegetables
In a previous article, we also touched on prebiotics, the fuel for your gut bacteria. Prebiotics are generally found in high-fibre plant-based foods such as:
- Lentils and beans
Inflammation can occur anywhere in the body. But when it happens in the gut, it can cause damage to the good gut bacteria and the gut lining that protects you from bad guys. That’s why anti-inflammatory foods are fantastic for maintaining a healthy gut. Some of my favourite anti-inflammatory foods include:
- Fatty fish
- Chia seeds
- Green tea
- Dark chocolate (aim for 70% or more cocoa content)
Just like any other part of the body, the gut can be vulnerable to oxidative stress – the damage that is done by toxins. The best way to prevent and repair this damage is to consume plenty of antioxidants. When it comes to antioxidants, you want a variety of different antioxidants so that you can gain the most benefits. The best way to consume a variety of antioxidants is to eat plenty of different coloured fruits and vegetables. A rainbow on your plate isn’t just appetising, but also incredibly good for you! Try including antioxidant rich foods such as:
- Dark green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach
- Red and/or green cabbage
- Sweet potato
- Citrus fruit
- Tropical fruit such as mango and pineapple
This is just a starting point of high-antioxidant foods. You can also include nuts, seeds, legumes, wholegrains and other herbs and spices as sources of antioxidants.
One of the most popular ‘superfoods’ for gut health is bone broth. Bone broth is just a fancy term for homemade stock that uses bones. But the reason for its gut superfood status is that it is very high in glutamine. Glutamine is an amino acid that is needed to maintain the gut lining. Without glutamine, undigested food particles and bad bacteria can easily enter the bloodstream. Bone broth is one of the best sources of glutamine, as are many animal proteins. But if you prefer a plant-based approach, beans, nuts and cabbage are also sources of glutamine.
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