Gut Health: The Best Foods to Help You Care for Your Gut

What you eat makes a difference to your gut and hence your overall body, so feed it with the right foods to ensure the best outcome.

Your gut microbiome is essential for your health. With the millions of bacteria that can be found there, your gut health can make a difference to how you feel, both physically and mentally way. What you eat makes a difference to your gut and hence your overall body, so feed it with the right foods to ensure the best outcome.

We spoke to registered dietitian and nutritionist, Lauren Minchen MPH, RDN, CDN to gain further insight into gut health, why it’s so important and what we can do to better nurture it.

Why is gut health so important?

“The health of the gut influences our immunity, skin health, energy, and stamina,” explains Minchen. “It also impacts how we digest food and drink, and how well we utilize the nutrients in the food and drink we consume.”

It impacts our whole body, which is why it’s important to ensure that we are keeping our gut healthy and strong. If our gut health declines, then we may see ramifications through the rest of our bodies, which is why “optimizing our gut health can lead to greater health in our body’s system as a whole.”

Foods that can help care for your gut

Every person is different and so foods that can help care for your gut will differ from individual to individual. However, there are general foods that you can incorporate into your diet that can assist in this area:

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 themselves…provide 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:

Foods rich in fiber

Fiber is an indigestible carbohydrate. It’s pivotal to your gut health, ensuring that you have regular bowel movements and prevents conditions such as constipation. It also lowers cholesterol levels, helps control blood sugar levels and keeps you satiated for longer.

There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber is easily dissolvable in water and assists in softening stool. Insoluble fiber is the opposite and doesn’t dissolve in water. However, both play a role in caring for your gut.

“Foods rich in fiber, like vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains function as food for probiotics in our gut, helping increase probiotic number and diversity,” says Minchen.

Try and incorporate these foods high in fiber in your diet for the best gut health benefit:

Foods rich in omega 3

Omega-3 fatty acids are pivotal to gut health. “Omega 3 fatty acids also help to increase the diversity of probiotics in the gut,” says Minchen, “boosting digestion and helping to reduce inflammatory activity.”

Minchen recommends:

She says, “The Omega 3s in these foods help boost digestion and utilization of nutrients in food by increasing the number and diversity of probiotics in the gut.”

Everyone’s gut is different

While there are foods that generally speaking, can help care for your gut, Minchen emphasizes the importance of knowing your gut and what works best for you.

“A gut health diet is a very personal thing, depending on a person’s specific microbiome, food allergies, and other nutritional needs. While there are generally gut-friendly foods to emphasize, it’s important to personalize an approach as much as possible to optimize an individual’s health,” she says.

“I generally recommend easing into gut healthy foods at a pace that works for the individual. The key is finding fiber, Omega 3, and probiotic-rich foods that you enjoy, so that adding them in feels sustainable,”. Minchen also advises to try different foods to determine which ones work best for you.



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