Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Surprised? Although olive oil contains fat, it actually contains a type of healthy fat that has been found to decrease levels of fat-storing inflammation. According to a review published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, a polyphenol only found in unrefined extra virgin olive oiloleocanthalreduces inflammation in a similar way that ibuprofen does: it prevents the production of two pro-inflammatory enzymes, COX-1 and COX-2. Lower levels of inflammation on the inside of your body means less belly fat on the outside.
Interested In Foods To Help Your Gut Here Are The Best Gut Healing Foods Out There
Main image courtesy of Healthline.
There is nothing more important in life than eating healthy. Trying to eat the proper foods that will make your body happy is just what you need to support every part of your body. Maintaining a healthy diet is essential to a long lasting life where you can maintain your weight, or even lose weight if needed. From making sure you eat your fruits, vegetables, protein, and more, eating the right foods is what will keep your body healthy in the long run.
Maybe you are someone who gets an upset stomach frequently and if so, have you ever thought that it may be because of your diet and what youâre putting in your body? Eating healthy is essential, especially for the overall health of your gut. If you are considering trying to turn things around and eat healthier, why not consider some gut healing foods to explore and try out?
Lots of food out there that is healthy for your gut and can help your digestive tract as well. Why not try out some of our favorite gut healing foods now!
Continue reading to learn more:
- Why is Gut Health So Important?
- What Are the Signs of an Unhealthy Gut?
- Gut Healing Foods You Need
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.
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What Causes Gut Bacteria To Become Unbalanced
The diversity of our gut bacteria is established at the very start of our development but can be altered by multiple factors.
Our gut microbiome begins to develop when we are still growing in our mothers womb.
It is very sensitive, and something as small as a baby being delivered vaginally vs being delivered by caesarean can affect which strain of bacteria are dominant in our system.
It then continues to evolve over time to become relatively stable at around 3 years old.1
How To Heal Your Gut Naturally
The best thing you can do to quickly heal your gut is to start eating the right foods and stop eating the bad foods. Using simple elimination diets can help you determine which foods are wrecking your stomach.
Going on a low FODMAP diet can also work wonders for getting rid of digestive problems. FODMAPs are short chained carbohydrates that commonly cause problems like constipation, gas, bloating, diarrhea, etc.
The Journal of Diabetesfound leaky gut to be responsible as the major cause of autoimmune diseases and type 1 diabetes. Along with eating the right foods, its critical for you to stop eating the bad foods that are causing it in the first place. Going on a low FODMAP diet has helped a lot of people with gut issues.
Leaky gut syndrome is one of the biggest underlying health problems that can be difficult to diagnose. You may have gut health problems then you most likely have at least some of these side effects:
- constipation and diarrhea
- slow metabolism
Leaky gut syndrome is when your digestive tract is damaged. Eating too many bad foods creates bigger holes in your digestive tract allowing unwanted things to pass through.
Think of the lining in your gut as a net. Some things are supposed to pass through. But when you have leaky gut syndrome the net widens. This allows stuff you dont want to get into your bloodstream.
Bad bacteria, toxic waste, and undigested food particles are some of the bad guys that can leak into your body.
10 Best Gut Health Foods
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Mood And Brain Function
The health of your gut microbiome impacts cognitive function and mood. This is down to a two-way relationship between the gut and the brain known as the gut-brain axis.
Bacteria in the gut modulates the activity of various chemicals in the brain, known as neurotransmitters. For example, its estimated that 90% of the happy hormone, serotonin, is made in the gut,
Isabel explainsResearch shows that individuals suffering with anxiety, depression and autism tend to have greater imbalance in their gut, with more negative bacteria than positive, compared to healthy individuals.
What Are Fermented Foods
Thousands of years ago, our ancestors discovered that sealing a food away from oxygen meant bacteria started eating the sugar and starch turning it into acids or alcohol.
This preserved the food, but it also gave it a unique, tangy flavour.23, 27
We all eat fermented foods without really thinking about it.
Yoghurt, beer, sourdough bread, sour cream, chutney, sauerkraut and its Korean cousin, kimchi, all fall into the fermentation category.24
Sometimes bacteria, like lactic acid, is added to aid the natural fermentation process
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Foods Rich In Probiotics
Probiotics are naturally found in the billions in our gut, explains Minchen. However, a diet that focuses predominantly on processed foods and antibiotics, can not only cause an imbalance but can destroy the wide array of these, leading to a compromised immune system, constipation, diarrhea, acid reflux, bloating, and discomfort.
This is why, Minchen says, Foods rich in probiotics themselvesprovide a boost in probiotics directly to the gut. Not only that but they often help to reduce digestive symptoms and discomfort.
Minchen lists foods such as:
- fermented veggies
Stress Can Change Your Gut Take Time To Unwind
There is a relationship between what you eat, your gut, and your mental health and wellbeing. So how exactly does food affect your mood and how can you feed your happiness? You can learn more in our recent article, Which foods help make you happy?
Food isnt the only factor to consider when keeping stress levels down. Exercise, sleep and mindfulness also play a key role.
Aim to get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, either in one hit or broken up into short intervals throughout the day. For more information on the benefits of exercise and tips on how to establish exercise into your daily routine check out our recent article published here
When it comes to sleep, aiming to get around 8 to 9 hours of sleep will ensure your body gets long term benefits. If youre interested in what the benefits of sleep are or youve been struggling with sleep, it might also like to read another recent article, Why sleep is so important here.
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And The Food To Avoid
Foods that negatively impact your gut health tend to be high in sugar, which causes inflammation of the gut lining. Artificial sweeteners can cause a change in the gut microbe population and also lead to glucose intolerance. Hyper processed foods lead to gut inflammation as they contain high sugar, trans-fats, additives, and low fiber levels. None of these types of food helps gut health.
Saturated fats are also bad for gut health. For example, diets rich in high-fat content meat or butter can decrease good bacteria in the gut. Likewise, high levels of dairy foods can change the constitution of your good gut bacteria and lead to increased inflammation.
Alcohol is known to cause an imbalance in healthy gut bacteria, particularly in those with high consumption levels. However, research shows it is dependent on the type of alcohol because moderate consumption of red wine is beneficial for gut health in moderation.
Good Gut Bugs And How To Get Them
Positive bacteria are often called healthy gut bugs.
Good gut bugs help your body digest and absorb nutrients, synthesize certain vitamins, and rally against intruders, such as the flu and toxic-forming carcinogens.
In the wise words of David Perlmutter, MD: A healthy microbiome translates into a healthy human.
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The Leaky Gut Diet Plan: What To Eat What To Avoid
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The term leaky gut has gained a lot of attention in recent years.
Also known as increased intestinal permeability, its a condition in which gaps in your intestinal walls start to loosen. This makes it easier for larger substances, such as bacteria, toxins, and undigested food particles, to pass across the intestinal walls into your bloodstream.
Studies have associated increased intestinal permeability with several chronic and autoimmune diseases, including type 1 diabetes and celiac disease.
This article takes a close look at leaky gut and its causes. It also includes a list of foods that aid digestive health and a 1-week sample meal plan.
If You Can Breastfeed For At Least 6 Months
A babys microbiome begins to properly develop at birth. However, studies suggest that babies may be exposed to some bacteria even before birth .
During the first 2 years of life, an infants microbiome is continuously developing and is rich in beneficial Bifidobacteria, which can digest the sugars found in breast milk .
Many studies have shown that infants who are fed formula have an altered microbiome with fewer Bifidobacteria than infants who are breastfed (
A number of studies have shown that vegetarian diets may benefit the gut microbiome, which may be due to their high fiber content.
For example, one small 2013 study found that a vegetarian diet led to reduced levels of disease-causing bacteria in people with obesity, as well as reductions in body weight, inflammation, and cholesterol levels .
A 2019 review noted that plant foods are rich in specific nutrients that can increase levels of beneficial bacteria and decrease harmful strains of bacteria to support gut health .
However, it is unclear if the benefits of a vegetarian diet on the gut microbiome are due to a lack of meat intake or if other factors may also play a role.
Vegetarian and vegan diets may improve the microbiome. However, it is unclear if the positive effects associated with these diets can be attributed to a lack of meat intake or if other factors may be involved.
Eat High Fibre Foods That Fuel Your Gut
To ensure your body can produce as much good bacteria as possible, make sure youre eating fresh fruits and vegetables and foods that are high in fiber.
Remember your gut bacteria is influenced by what you eat, so its important to give it the best fuel so good bacteria grow to fight off bad bacteria. Eat lots of prebiotics , the food source of probiotics that help to grow helpful bacteria in your gut.
Heres a list of some high fiber foods that help grow good bacteria:
Jerusalem artichokes, chicory, garlic, onion, leek, shallots, spring onion, asparagus, beetroot, fennel bulb, green peas, snow peas, sweetcorn, savoy cabbage
Chickpeas, lentils, red kidney beans, baked beans, soybeans
Custard apples, nectarines, white peaches, persimmon, tamarillo, watermelon, rambutan, grapefruit, pomegranate. Dried fruit
- Bread / cereals / snacks
Barley, rye bread, rye crackers, pasta, gnocchi, couscous, wheat bran, wheat bread, oats
Cashews, pistachio nuts
If youre looking for easy recipes that can fill your plate with good foods to fuel your gut check out our recent article here.
The Benefits Of Fermented Foods
Its now thought that regularly including these foods in your diet could help keep your gut happy.
One of the benefits of fermented foods is that they are naturally teeming with the healthy bacteria your body needs and scientists think this may play an important role in keeping your own community of friendly gut bugs thriving.28
Each of us has over 100 trillion live bacteria in our gastrointestinal tract, aka our gut, which help our body to perform a number of different tasks.
However, our gut bacteria need to be balanced to work at their best.
For example, there need to be enough good live bacteria to balance out the bad bacteria that make us ill.
Balanced gut bacteria can support the following systems in the body:
- Digestive system
In a 2015 review, published in the journal Current Opinion in Gastroenterology, researchers found that having a varied community of gut bugs may play a role in easing a range of bowel conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome.29
As well as helping your digestive health, feeding your gut bacteria may in turn also support other aspects of your wellbeing for example, your mental health.
In 2016, researchers at University College Cork reported that giving healthy people cocktails of friendly bacteria for four weeks altered their brain activity in MRI scans.
Participants were less likely to experience negative thoughts when they felt low.30,31
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How To Improve Your Gut Health
Were becoming increasingly aware of the role our gut plays on our overall health. With so much information out there, it can be overwhelming to know whats true or false. So how do we improve our gut health? Whats the difference between good bacteria and bad bacteria? Are gut health supplements and cleanses the only way to go?
When it comes to keeping healthy, VicHealth CEO Dr Sandro Demaio says a great place to start is prioritising your gut health. Our gut plays an important role when it comes to keeping healthy, so its important to understand how to do this without being influenced by what we see on social media.
Below Dr Sandro Demaio takes you through why gut health is so important and offers tips on how you can have a healthy gut diet.
In this article you’ll learn:
- Why forming a healthy gut diet is key to overall health
- Whats true and false when it comes to gut heath
- Top tips on looking after your gut health
Be Healthy was created by VicHealth to provide helpful tips and advice on how you and your family can stay healthy. You can read more Be Healthy articles here.
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.
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Dandelion Greens: An Edible Weed That Is Great For Your Gut
This super healthy green is GREAT for your gut. Dandelion greens are full of minerals, improve blood lipids, and they are rich in inulin, a particular prebiotic fiber that boosts your guts production of healthy, good-for-you bacteria, like bifidobacteria.
David Perlmutter, MD, : Boosting bifidobacteria has a number of benefits including helping to reduce the population of potentially damaging bacteria, enhancing bowel movements, and actually helping boost immune function.
They can be bitter. But Dr. Perlmutter recommends sauteeing them with onions or drinking them as tea. You can also use them in soups and salads.
Diet And Gut Bacteria
Right from the start when we drink either breast milk or baby formula, our diet affects our gut bacteria.
For instance, breastfed babies tend to have better immunity and more diverse gut bacteria than those who are fed formula.
Vegetarian and vegan diets have also been found to be associated with better bacteria diversity than a non-vegetarian diet.
Eating probiotics and prebiotics, such as fermented foods, in appropriate doses have also been seen to cause specific changes in the structure of our gut microbiota and benefit our health.2
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What Is Leaky Gut Syndrome
Leaky gut syndrome is a proposed condition caused by increased intestinal permeability.
The digestive system consists of many organs that collectively break down food, absorb nutrients and water, and remove waste products. Your intestinal lining acts as a barrier between your gut and bloodstream to prevent potentially harmful substances from entering your body .
Nutrient and water absorption mostly occurs in your intestines. Your intestines have tight junctions, or small gaps, that allow nutrients and water to pass into your bloodstream.
How easily substances pass across the intestinal walls is known as intestinal permeability.
Certain health conditions cause these tight junctions to loosen, potentially allowing harmful substances like bacteria, toxins, and undigested food particles to enter your bloodstream.
Alternative health practitioners claim that leaky gut triggers widespread inflammation and stimulates an immune reaction, causing various health problems that are collectively known as leaky gut syndrome .
They believe leaky gut leads to various conditions, including autoimmune diseases, migraines, autism, food sensitivities, skin conditions, brain fog, and chronic fatigue.
Yet, there is little evidence to prove that leaky gut syndrome exists. As a result, mainstream physicians do not recognize it as a medical diagnosis.