Kefir: One Of The Most Probiotic
While this cultured product is traditionally made with dairy, its coconut or water-based counterparts can be even better and keep you free from the controversial health effects of cows milk.
You may be able to find dairy-free kefir in your area. Or you can order kefir starters and make it yourself using coconut water or nut milk. Just be sure that you dont oversweeten it because sugar can be bad for your microbiome.
Foods To Avoid When In The Gut
Adding gut-healing foods and supplements into your diet is a great place to start, since its a lot easier than subtracting when it comes to dietary change. But removing inflammatory foods is also important to expedite the gut-healing process and to help you put the best foods front and center.
The question of which foods cause problems for you, specifically, is something youll hone over time by paying attention to your body . But there are common allergens and food sensitivities to refer to as a starting point.
Here are the foods that cause people problems most frequently:
- Gluten-containing grains [27
Completely eliminating all of these foods at once is a big ask for anyone, so start with the foods on this list that are easiest for you to cut back on. With the help of a food journal, youll be more likely to discern which ones cause you problems, and you might find that certain foods, especially on the first list of potential allergens, are tolerable for you within a certain threshold.
Many of our patients have trouble with too much dairy, for example, but find that dairy in moderation, or certain lower-lactose dairy products like hard cheeses, ghee, and butter, dont create any problems for them. For some, however, dairy of any kind causes problems. So its really important for you to get to know your body and how it reacts to certain foods.
Are Probiotic Supplements Actually Effective
There are claims that probiotics may be a safe and effective way to improve mens health. But these reported benefits vary, based on the specific strain, the dosage, and the person.
Although a daily supplement may be convenient, those currently available arent a magic solution.
Dietary supplements arent subject to the same United States Food and Drug Administration testing and regulations as drugs and medicines.
Even if manufacturers make safe products responsibly, this doesnt mean that the bacteria in the supplement will benefit your health.
Beyond this, some evidence suggests that the probiotics in foods may be more beneficial for your overall health than those in a pill.
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Choose The Right Drinks To Ease Digestion
Drinks with caffeine, such as coffee, colas, tea and some fizzy drinks, boost acid in the stomach, leading to heartburn in some people.
Fizzy drinks in general tend to bloat the tummy, which can also lead to heartburn.
To make digestive problems less likely, choose drinks that are not fizzy and do not contain caffeine, such as herbal teas, milk and plain water.
If you cannot do without your coffee or tea, limit your intake to 1 or 2 cups a day.
The Fabulousness Of Fiber: Why Its Critical For Gut Health
While people tend to get up in arms about protein consumption, theres another nutrient thats more worrisome as far as deficiency risk: fiber.
Approximately 97% of Americans get at least the recommended amount of protein. But only about 3% of Americans get the recommended 40 grams of fiber they need per day and fiber is the most crucial ingredient for gut health.
Fiber feeds the good bacteria weve been talking about, so its vital to eat fiber-rich foods as often as possible.
Our microbes extract the fibers energy, nutrients, and vitamins, including short-chain fatty acids, which can improve immune function, decrease inflammation, and protect against obesity.
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Eat Foods Rich In Polyphenols
Polyphenols are plant compounds that have many health benefits, including reductions in blood pressure, inflammation, cholesterol levels, and oxidative stress .
Human cells cant always digest polyphenols. Because they arent absorbed efficiently, most polyphenols make their way to the colon, where they are digested by gut bacteria (
Polyphenols from cocoa can increase the amount of Bifidobacteria and lactobacilli in humans and reduce the quantity of Clostridia .
Furthermore, these changes in the microbiome are associated with lower levels of triglycerides and C-reactive protein, which is a marker of inflammation .
The polyphenols in red wine have similar effects and have even been shown to increase levels of beneficial bacteria in people with metabolic syndrome .
Polyphenols cant be digested efficiently by human cells, but they are efficiently broken down by the gut microbiota. They may improve several health outcomes related to heart disease and inflammation.
Eat More Whole Grains
Whole grains contain a lot of fiber and non-digestible carbs like beta-glucan. These help the growth of good bacteria in the gut.
Research suggests that whole grains can promote the growth of Bifidobacteria, lactobacilli, and Bacteroidetes in humans .
Good whole grains to promote healthy gut bacteria include:
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What To Know About Foods That Help You Poop
When youre dealing with some stopped intestinal traffic, changing your diet is a good first step. Consider fiber FTW your poop-friendly words to live by. The good news is that there are so many, very tasty, foods that help you poop. Most dietary fiber is not digested or absorbed, so it stays within the intestine where it modulates digestion of other foods and affects the consistency of stool, explains Dr. Sonpal. There are two different types of fiber, he says, which each have their own benefits, according to Brigitte Zeitlin, MPH, RD. Soluble fiber is made up of carbohydrates and dissolves in water while insoluble fiber comes from plant cell walls and does not dissolve in water .
Getting a good mix of both is probably your best bet. Add in some healthy fats, and youll be hitting the squatty potty in no time. With that in mind, here are 10 different foods that help you poop toahem, keep things moving along.
For more intel on foods that make you poop, check out this video:
Probiotics And Mens Health
Much of the evidence for the health benefits of specific probiotics is limited. But this is a growing area of research, with many ongoing studies.
ZOE scientists have identified 15 good bugs in your gut that are linked with better health.
Unfortunately, currently available probiotic supplements dont contain these good bugs. But you can support the population of good bugs you have by changing your diet.
The ZOE at-home test gives you a breakdown of the bugs that make up your unique gut microbiome. Then, based on your results, we can give you personalized nutrition advice about how to eat the best foods for your body.
There’s no shortage of health claims about probiotics. But how many are backed by science?
Below, well take a closer look at what the evidence says.
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Foods To Improve Your Digestion
Digestive problems, such as gas, constipation and diarrhea, affect millions, with 15 percent of people in Western countries experiencing a severe form of gut sensitivity called irritable bowel syndrome .
Here are five foods that promote healthier digestion and help you avoid common gastrointestinal symptoms.
Get Loads Of Fiber From Beans
Fiber its essential for digestion. Beans, such as navy, kidney, and black beans, are an easy way to hit that daily target. Navy beans have a whopping 19 g of fiber per cup, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Good news for those worried about having too much gas from high-fiber foods: Research published in Nutrition Journal showed that people had less gas than they thought they would when upping black-eyed peas consumption. Only half of participants reported any increase in gas at first and, by the end of the first week, that number had dropped to just 19 percent, making eating black-eyed peas a digestive tip you can live with. The study also looked at tolerance for baked beans and pinto beans and found that tolerance for all of these increased over time.
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Healthy Gut Happy Human
In most cases, supplements arent needed to support a healthy gut. They can help, but what you eat is by far the most important factor.
New York Times columnist Jane Brody sums up good gut-health advice, saying: People interested in fostering a health-promoting array of gut microorganisms should consider shifting from a diet heavily based on meats, carbohydrates and processed foods to one that emphasizes plants.
If you aim to follow the recommendations in this article, youll be supporting better bathroom habits, a healthier immune response and even a better, brighter mood. Take care of your gut, and it will give you the TLC you need.
Let us know in the comments:
- Do you have any tips for good gut health?
- What do you think are the best foods for gut health?
Increase Your Intake Of Probiotics
Probiotics are live microorganisms, usually bacteria, that provide a specific health benefit when consumed.
Probiotics dont permanently colonize the intestines in most cases. However, they may benefit your health by changing the overall composition of the microbiome and supporting your metabolism .
A review of seven studies found that probiotics have little effect on the gut microbiome composition of healthy people. However, there is some evidence that probiotics may improve the gut microbiome in those with certain diseases .
One review of 63 studies found mixed evidence of the effectiveness of probiotics in altering the microbiome. But the researchers noted that the probiotics strongest effects seemed to be in restoring the microbiome to a healthy state after it had been compromised .
Nevertheless, some studies have shown that probiotics can improve the functioning of certain gut bacteria, as well as the specific types of chemicals they produce .
You can increase your intake of probiotics by consuming more probiotic-rich foods, including fermented foods like kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut, and yogurt.
Alternatively, you can consider using a probiotic supplement. However, be sure to talk with your doctor before starting supplementation, especially if you are taking other medications or have any underlying health conditions.
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Chicken Pesto Pasta With Asparagus
This healthy chicken pesto pasta is easy to make thanks to convenience ingredients like rotisserie chicken and store-bought pesto. The addition of fresh asparaguswhich is cooked in the same pot as the pastabrightens up the look and the flavors of this family-friendly and easy one-pot dinner. Fresh basil, if you have it on hand, is a nice finishing touch.
Pears Plums And Apples For Constipation Relief
- With the skin, an average pear provides 5 to 6 grams of dietary fiber to regulate the digestive system.
- Pears also are great for babies with constipation. Look for baby foods with pears as an ingredient, and pear juice can also aid constipation in infants.
- Fresh plums do not have much fiber, but dried plums prunes have as many as 12 g fiber per cup and are excellent for relieving constipation.
- One large apple has more than 5 g fiber.
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Spicy Foods Can Improve Your Gut Health
Growing evidence shows that the bodys microbiome can affect everything from your heart to your mental health. Capsaicin could keep that gut bacteria in check, according to a 2020 study. While the mechanism isnt fully understood, the studys authors discuss capsaicins antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Grilled Peach And Barley Salad
Barley is a good-for-you whole grain food that contains resistant starch a fiber-like nutrient that resists digestion and ferments in the large intestine contributing to a healthy gut. The accompanying Lemon Shallot Vinaigrette is also good for your gut, thanks to its prebiotic fiber. Finally, leafy greens provide plenty of phytonutrients that can reduce gut inflammation, and fiber that can contribute to digestive and gut health. Its a healthy gut trifecta!
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Synbiotic Foods Like Yogurt Paired With Blueberries
Synbiotic foods combine prebiotics and probiotics into a single, uber-healthy gut microbe-supporting meal. These foods provide the pros of prebiotics and probiotics at once, supporting existing gut bacteria and delivering additional living cultures to your gut.
Some examples of synbiotic foods include:
- A banana smoothie made with kefir or yogurt
- Stir-fry made with tempeh, asparagus, garlic and leeks
- Yogurt with blueberries
To make these foods even better for your gut, add high-fiber ingredients, such as whole grains, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits or legumes.
Foods That Are Good For Gut Health
Adding them to your diet can bring relief for digestive woes
Whether stomach problems such as bloating, constipation, and gas cause you distress regularly or are just an occasional nuisance, youre probably eager to get rid of them.
Like many other people, you may be tempted to try one of the growing number of foods and dietary supplements whose labels claim they will improve gut health. In 2019, U.S. consumers spent around $5.1 billion on digestive-health products such as antacids, laxatives, antidiarrheals, and other stomach remedies, and that figure is projected to increase, according to the market research firm Mintel.
But supplements aren’t necessarily the best way to go. With whole foods, the body is better able to absorb and utilize their ingredients, says Kristi King, R.D., a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Man-made versions can be harder to digest.
Another factor to think about: Supplements are not well-regulated. “That means you cant know for sure if they contain exactly whats on the label,” points out Ellen Klosz, a Consumer Reports nutritionist. “They might even have an ingredient that conflicts with a medication you need to take.” Plus, whole foods contain other nutrients that help with digestive and overall health.
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Best Fruits For Constipation
Fruits are a great food for constipation. Most are an excellent source of dietary fiber and also provide a host of nutritional benefits.
Both fresh and dried options are good. Some, like prunes, contain cellulose that not only increases the amount of water in stools but also promotes fermentation that adds to the stool weight.
Others, like apples and pears, contain pectin that also increases water volumes while speeding the movement of stools through the intestine.
Here are some fresh fruits that can ease constipation:
Garlic: A Pungent Spicy Vegetable Closely Related To Onions
The ultimate in food flavorings, this tasty additive is also great for your gut health.
A 2013 in-vitro study in Food Science and Human Wellness found that garlic boosted the creation of good gut microbes. The research showed that garlic might also help prevent some gastrointestinal diseases.
So go wild! Throw garlic into many of your favorite foods. And try to include some raw garlic, too, because it has the most prebiotic benefits.
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Prioritize Variety In Your Meals
Eating a diverse range of foods helps cultivate a diverse microbiome, which is considered a hallmark of a healthy gut . Pick 1 new vegetable to try every week or so, or make a trip to your local farmers market to see what’s in season!
Alternatively, you can also order Trifecta for ready-to-eat meals packed with variety and nutrient density.
How To Achieve A Healthy Microbiome
Diversify, diversify, diversify. Eating balanced amounts of both probiotics and prebiotics can help ensure that you have the right balance of bacteria to keep your gut microbiota healthy. And many factors, including the foods you eat, can impact the type of bacteria found in your digestive tract. Generally speaking, a diverse microbiome equals a healthy microbiome. This is because the more species of bacteria you have, the more health benefits they can support. In fact, several studies show that elderly people possess a more diverse gut microbiota than younger adults. Between long-living Chinese, Japanese, and Italian people, all cohorts revealed diverse and balanced gut microbiota.
Image by Michelle Nash
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Worst Foods For Gut Health
It’s almost assumed that foods that are already considered bad for you can negatively affect your healthy gut bacteria. If you’re eating a lot of foods that are fried, overly processed or contain artificial ingredients, try reducing the amount you consume to help maintain a healthier gut. Ugarte notes several foods found in even the so-called “healthy” section of the store can actually be causing you pain and discomfort.
What Should I Eat For A Healthy Gut
Think bacteria are bad? Think again. Bacteria and other microbes are often thought of as sources of disease, but in fact many play an essential role in keeping you healthy. Your body contains trillions of microbes, most of which are beneficial. The most dense microbe population is in your gut, where they play a critical role in digestion, immune function and weight regulation. What you eat can quickly change your microbes, but are you eating the right foods to help your good gut bacteria?
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Why Gut Health Is Important
Your gut contains millions of bacteria, viruses, and fungi that form a microbiome. In addition, millions of naturally occurring bacteria live within the gut microbiome. These bacteria play a significant part in keeping us healthy by helping the digestive processes and playing a role in the immune system by acting as a natural barrier to disease. They also help form the essential vitamin K, which is crucial for blood clotting and bone metabolism, and vitamin B, a vital building block for healthy brain function and maintaining energy levels. Gut bacteria help combat other infections from more aggressive micro-organisms.