Did you know that your gut can determine your mood? It can also dictate how much you sleep at night? Your gut plays a major role in determining your overall well being, so it’s important that you take proper care of it. In this article, we will discuss what a healthy gut is, how to determine whether or not your gut is healthy, and how you can improve your gut health through your diet.
What is poor gut health?
Your gut is more than the thing that pokes out after you had a big meal. It is very complex with many different parts working together to keep itself healthy. In fact, experts believe that your gut plays a role in keeping your immune system healthy, your skin healthy, and your mood in order. As you can see, keeping your gut healthy is critical. Here are some signs that your gut may be unhealthy:
- An upset stomach - Bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and heartburn can all be signs of an unhealthy gut
- High-sugar diets - If you eat a lot of sugar, chances are your diet is decreasing the number of good bacteria in your gut
- Weight fluctuations - If you notice yourself gaining or losing weight without any major lifestyle changes it could be due to an unhealthy gut
- Sleep disturbances - Issues falling asleep and staying asleep are also linked with an unhealthy gut
- Food intolerances - Food intolerances are the result of difficulty digesting certain foods. This can be caused by an unhealthy gut
As you may have already been able to piece together, these symptoms are also common with other diseases and illnesses. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s best to speak with a doctor. They will be able to diagnose your issues and determine the proper steps moving forward.
What foods are healthy for your gut?
As we mentioned earlier, the foods you eat will play the biggest part in determining how healthy - or unhealthy - your gut is. On top of making your gut healthy, there are foods that heal the gut if your gut is unhealthy. Here are some superfoods for gut health you can eat to support a healthy gut:
- Sauerkraut - This food is loaded with fiber which can combat bloating and indigestion by keeping our digestive system running smoothly
- Asparagus - Asparagus is high in indigestible fiber inulin, meaning it can feed healthy bacteria. It also contains antioxidants that combat inflammation
- Pineapple - Pineapple is rich in bromelain which can work as a digestive aid. Bromelain can reduce the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines that can damage the gut lining
- Onion - Any type of onion can help but raw onion specifically is great for gut health. They are a great source of prebiotics and contain quercetin which fights damaging free radicals throughout the body
- Garlic - Raw garlic is another excellent prebiotic food with high levels of inulin, which fuels the good bacteria in the gut
- Bone broth - Bone broth helps heal the lining of the gut, which in turn supports immune system function and a healthy inflammatory response
Implementing these foods into your diet can help in numerous different ways. The benefits of these foods extend well beyond gut health
Supplements to help a leaky gut
Pairing a healthy and balanced diet with a healthy regiment of supplements can help tremendously. However, it should be noted that you shouldn’t depend on supplements. Too many people think they can take supplements instead of a healthy diet. Here are some supplements you should take:
- Fiber and butyrate (byoo-tr-eit)
- Curcumin (kur-kyuh-muhn)
- Berberine (bur-br-een)
Again, you should take these supplements in tandem with a healthy diet. Do not think that supplements alone can replace a healthy diet.
What foods should you avoid with a leaky gut?
Just as important as the foods you eat are the foods that you don’t eat. Knowing the gut health foods to avoid can help you keep your gut health in order. Here are some of the foods that you should avoid when focusing on your gut health:
- Sugar - Research has shown that a high-sugar diet leads to poorer overall function compared to a low-sugar diet
- Processed foods - Diets filled with processed food can lead to colitis and metabolic diseases
- Soy - Soy can be healthy but unfortunately, much of today’s soy goes through processing. A high soy diet can have damaging effects on your gut microbiome
- Dairy - Studies have shown that dairy consumption changes the bacterial makeup of your gut within days, allowing strains linked to intestinal disease and inflammation to flourish
- Eggs - Certain proteins in eggs encourages the growth of gut bacteria that produce a chemical compound that causes clotting and thus raises the risk of heart attack and stroke
- Vegetables to avoid - 90% of all corn grown in the United States is genetically modified
We know that some of this food can be enjoyable. However, cutting it out of your diet can help tremendously. You can still enjoy these foods from time to time but cut back on your consumption.
What is good vs bad for your digestive system?
Taking proper care of your gut is a great way to increase your chances of a long and healthy life. There are somewhere around 40 TRILLION bacteria in your body, most of which are in your intestines. Some of these bacteria are healthy for you while others can contribute to diseases and illness. The main way to improve your gut health is through your diet. We will go further into detail regarding the specific gut health foods to eat and to avoid later in the article. For the time being, here are some ways you can improve your gut health:
- Practice a balanced diet - The more diverse your diet is the more diverse your microbiota will be. A diverse microbiota is considered to be a healthy one. The more species of bacteria you have, the greater the number of health benefits they may be able to contribute to
- Fruits and vegetables - Ever since you were a little kid you have been taught the importance of fruits and vegetables. We’re here to hammer it through your head once again. Fruits and vegetables are the best sources of nutrients for a healthy microbiota
- Fermented foods - Fermented foods are foods altered by microbes
- Don’t eat too many artificial sweeteners - Artificial sweeteners can increase blood sugar and can impair insulin response
- Breastfeed for at least six months - Recent research suggests that babies may be exposed to bacteria before birth. After birth, it’s important that they are breastfed for at least six months. This will help increase the number of good bacteria. Breastfeeding is also associated with lower rates of allergies, obesity, and other diseases that may be due to differences in the gut microbiota
Recognizing the signs of a healthy gut can help you make sure everything is running smoothly. If you are experiencing healthy bowel movements, and good overall health, chances are you’re experiencing good gut health.
Supplements Can Be Helpful
One supplement that can help encourage positive gut health is spermidine. This is because spermidine helps induce something called autophagy. This is the body’s process of replacing old and potentially damaged cell parts with newer, healthier ones. Autophagy literally means ‘self-eat.’
This process helps keep you feeling and looking young while also dramatically lowering your chances of developing aging diseases such as Parkison’s and Alzheimer’s. While it is possible to get your recommended daily intake of spermidine through your diet, it’s recommended to take supplements so you ensure you get the right dose. Simply taking your supplements with your dinner is a great way to remember to take spermidine supplements every night.