Last Updated on February 25, 2023 by asifa
The gut has a profound role to play in overall health. With recent research, we are now getting to know the importance of the human microbiome and the effects it has on mental and physical health. A busy and stressful lifestyle with junk food habits leads to a gradual deterioration of the gut. In the long run, this leads to chronic health conditions. In this article let’s discuss the steps we can take to restore your gut health.
Table of Contents
The Role of Food Sources
Before getting into how to restore your gut health and foods which are good for the gut microbiome, it is worthwhile to spend some time on the sources. Most of the foods which we get in the supermarkets today are laden with a significant amount of toxins.
Just in order to ensure to have a good harvest, the crops are indiscriminately sprayed with pesticides. This has serious implications for the quality of vegetables which we buy. Vegetables which have thinner outer skin are more prone to absorbing these pesticides and when we eat these foods which consume some amounts of these toxic chemicals with the food. So, it becomes crucially important to have organic foods. There is a list of Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 foods which are published on a yearly basis. This list throws light on which foods should be taken organic and the foods which are okay to be eaten non-organic.
Glyphosate is another toxin that foods are laden with and we need to be careful of. Lastly, there are Genetically Modified Foods that are not good either. Most of the soy products across the globe are genetically modified. Thus, having organic food is always a good option. It might be slightly more expensive than regular veggies, but when you are talking about health, this small investment will go a long way.
Good Foods for the Gut
What we call the human microbiome is a complex flora or various bacteria, viruses, fungi, etc living in harmony and playing some extremely important roles. The gut microbiome is responsible for creating enzymes, breaking down foods for proper digestion, keeping the gut lining healthy, ensuring proper absorption of nutrients, and keeping a healthy balance of flora.
Once this microbiome gets disrupted, it leads to inflammation of the gut and associated health issues like IBS, IBD, Crohn’s, Leaky Gut Syndrome, etc.
There are some foods that are known stressors of the gut. These are gluten, casein, sugar, and some other categories as well which we will cover later. These foods are considered inflammatory in nature and cause the immune system to react causing inflammation. Continued intake of these foods leads to chronic inflammation and chronic diseases.
We should include foods that are prebiotic in nature. Prebiotics are carbs and fibers which are not easily digested by the gut. These become food for the beneficial gut flora and help them to thrive. You can even find probiotics for women that help them fight bacterial infections in vagina. These foods have live bacteria and help to colonize the gut with good flora. You can learn more about the role of Prebiotic and Probiotic foods in this amazing article here.
Foods to Avoid
Just like we have good foods for the gut, we also have foods which are best avoided.
Fast foods are best avoided for the sake of good gut health. These foods do not contain any beneficial fiber and are laden with pro-inflammatory agents like Gluten and Sugar. Moreover, processed meat products like hot dogs and burgers contain toxic chemical compounds which are known to cause cancer. These foods are full of bad fats like Trans Fat and have a high amount of Saturated fat. These in addition to being extremely harmful to the gut, are equally harmful to heart health, cause obesity, and increases the risk of diabetes.
There is a category of foods called FODMAP. These are foods that are high in Fermentable Carbohydrates. Intake of high FODMAP food creates gas, bloating, and conditions associated with Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth or SIBO. These are best avoided.
There is another class of foods called Oxalates. Oxalates are found in the healthiest of foods like Spinach. These are essentially the defence mechanism of these plants to keep insects and herbivores away.
Oxalates create tiny sharp glass-like compounds and get deep-rooted into our organs and tissues. They are infamous for causing Kidney Stones and are also linked to Leaky and Inflammatory Gut conditions. You can get tons of more information on foods that you should consider to heal the gut in this article. It is a comprehensive guide and a must-read. Highly recommended.
The gut is considered the second brain and having a healthy gut will help to keep a healthy mind and body. The road to restore your gut health is not difficult if one chooses health over bad habits and temptations.
Being mindful of what you are eating and substituting junk food with healthier options is a great start. Buying organic vegetables and knowing how to read food labels help you to make good decisions on foods such as GMO.
Hope this article has helped you in helping to make some good choices in terms of food. Go ahead, make a change and bring a change to your life and your loved ones around.