Beginners Guide to Gut Health
It seems like, today, gut health is all anyone is ever talking about. But often, people are just following food trends and don’t know how to, when, or why they should even be making changes to their diets. If this sounds like you, or like someone you know, then look no further- an easy, understandable guide to gut health, and what foods to eat to keep it healthy, is here!
First, let’s talk about some signs that suggest you may want to make some changes. According to Reader’s Digest, the key things that point to having poor gut health are: weight fluctuations, stomach cramps, digestive issues (gas, bloating, reflux, etc), poor sleep, and a few others. The main idea is to be aware of your body, and if things aren’t going as per usual, it may be time to talk to a doctor, do some research (like you are now), and look into changing your habits. Now, if you’re not experiencing these issues, you can still benefit from incorporating these upcoming superfoods into your diet, I just wouldn’t recommend making any major changes unless you’ve talked to a doctor, and are having problems in some way. As they say, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.
But now that we’ve gone over the basics of what it means to have an unhealthy gut, and the necessary disclosures, let’s get into the foods that can aid in improving your gut health. You have your basic categories, and then I’ll go into some specific “superfoods” you can include.
Fiber: fiber is super important to gut health, as it makes sure everything ~flows~ properly. You can get fiber in a lot of different foods, but some of the best for our purposes include flaxseed, chia seeds, black beans, chickpeas, wild rice, quinoa, or oats. The main idea, in the fibre department and the whole gut health topic, is that whole and natural foods are easier to process in your digestive tract, therefore better for your overall digestive system. With this in mind, staying away from things like white breads and battered/fried foods is a good starting point.
Proteins: another large food group, another of which you can get nutrients in many different ways. The best suggestions I found were to eat more salmon or other healthy-fat-fish, chicken, and lean beef, and to stay away from heavily marbled cuts of meat that are harder to digest. You can also get your protein from things like nuts, goji berries, chia seeds, beans, supplements, or eggs, but the goal in this category is to get the good nutrients that meat brings to the table, so if you’re on a vegan or vegetarian diet, it’s really important for your gut health to make sure you’re still getting those nutrients.
Greens: for gut health and greens, dark leafy greens are the way to go. Kale, spinach, collard, or any of your preferences, all fit the bill. The big picture of gut health is to keep a balanced diet, so eating your veggies (like mom always said) is super important.
Fermented Foods: things like kimchi, kombucha, sourdough (yes, you can eat bread), miso, apple cider vinegar, or yogurt (all of which have strains of healthy bacteria in them that can clean up your gut) are popular ways of getting some fermented foods into your system. Eating fermented foods is an easy (and good tasting) way to get more good bacteria into your body, which is why we’ve seen such a boom of them in trendy restaurants. On that note, however, while you’re working hard at cleaning up your system, it may help to cut out things like alcohol (even fermented beer), soda, seltzer, or caffeine, to keep things from going in and killing the good bacteria you worked so hard to get.
Now, onto some specific ingredients. Garlic, turmeric, and green tea/matcha (along with previously mentioned fermented foods) have been having a huge moment in food trends, and with good reason: they all have a wide variety of benefits. Garlic tastes great and is rich in vitamins. Turmeric can be used as a brightening face mask, and helps detox your system. Green tea and matcha are super soothing, and may increase metabolism. Adding them to recipes can make noticeable differences, without more than a couple minutes of effort on your part. These foods took off because people like ways to be healthy and not have to work at it too hard or sacrifice taste, so these are the perfect start for people just getting into health food.
These ingredients--with proper use, experimentation on your body, and an overall good diet-- could be the key to letting you live your best life. See the links below for even more information on superfoods and gut health, and check out some of our products that fit the bill for getting your digestive system on track!
By SJB IG@savibee