8 Superfoods for Gut Health
Happy gut, happy life! That’s the saying, right?
Well, it should be!
Inside your gut, there are trillions of microorganisms. It’s called the gut microbiome, and it’s mostly made up of microbes. When you provide a nice home for these bacteria, they return the favor with health-promoting functions.
A healthy gut digests and absorbs the food you consume so that the body can use all of the nutrients for functioning.
Your gut lining is critical to the proper absorption of these nutrients and the protection from harmful foreign invaders. When the lining becomes permeable or “leaky” - from processed foods, chronic stress, alcohol, medications, or an imbalance in your gut microbiome- nutrients and predigested proteins leak out from the gut into the bloodstream and can trigger an inflammatory response in the body.
This inflammatory response can show up in the body in many different ways, such as bloating, gas, constipation, fatigue, joint pain, insomnia, brain fog, skin issues like eczema and psoriasis, and even depression and anxiety.
Variety is key for gut health, so if you haven’t tried any of the foods listed below, make sure to add them to your next grocery list to support your gut health.
Here are eight superfoods that your gut will love!
8 Superfoods for a Healthy Gut
Fennel is a gut-loving food.
Not only does it help with preventing constipation, but it can also help reset your digestion and make you feel comfortable. This is likely due to fennel’s prebiotic properties that help feed probiotic bacteria, help restore balance in the gut microbiome, and help improve gut health.
How to Use Fennel
When cooking, you can use fennel in its raw form as an ingredient in salads, or it can be roasted with other root vegetables like sweet potatoes or carrots, or cooked with meats, like chicken and turkey, for a sweet and subtle fresh flavor.
Eastern medicine has been using ginger for digestion and nausea for centuries. It is a long-used and loved spice that has been consumed as a food and as a medicinal spice.
It helps improve digestion and gastric emptying by stimulating stomach acid production. So if you suffer from bloating, indigestion, or intestinal cramping, this is definitely a spice you want on hand.
How to Use Ginger
Ginger tea is a simple way to add more ginger to your eating habits.
Cut a few slices of fresh ginger, pour boiling water over the top, and you have the perfect ginger tea. You can also add fresh ginger to stir-fries, soups, broths, curries, and juices.
3. Raw Honey
Raw honey is a prebiotic, meaning it is a fuel source for the beneficial bacteria in the gut.
How to Use Raw Honey
Add raw honey to your teas, coffee, smoothies, salad dressings, pancakes, and marinades.
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4. Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea is a popular variety of tea that is loaded with antioxidants. It can help treat digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, and abdominal gas.
Due to the tea’s calming effect on the body, chamomile can be beneficial for stress-related digestive issues like a nervous stomach, making it a perfect herb for gently managing your stress response.
How to Use Chamomile Tea
Make a cup of chamomile tea and settle on the couch with a cozy blanket, a distracting book, and that steaming mug.
Cinnamon extract has been used to alleviate gastrointestinal problems in both Eastern and Western medicine for years.
In traditional Ayurvedic medicine, cinnamon bark oil is used for treating flatulence and digestive imbalance. To help alleviate digestive symptoms, cinnamon is taken as part of a hot drink (much like tea).
How to Use Cinnamon
Use ground cinnamon in hot drinks such as hot chocolate or coffee. Use the spice in baking, roasting sweet potatoes, pumpkin or squash, on top of apples, or in yogurt bowls or overnight oats.
A tiny fish with a massive nutrient profile.
Sardines are rich in EPA and DHA fats which play an important role in healthy bowel function by helping to keep the colon lubricated to push waste out. In other words, it keeps your digestive tract flowy smoothly.
Sardines also help reduce inflammation and strengthen the intestinal lining, which can help to protect against gastrointestinal diseases.
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How to Use Sardines
Although sardines may require a bit of an acquired taste, you can learn to love them.
Try them straight out of the can with a squeeze of fresh lemon, add them to a homemade caesar salad, or mash into an avocado with freshly squeezed lemon, or with cottage cheese and hot sauce, or finally, scrambled into eggs with hollandaise sauce.
This colorful, bursting with flavor berry is food for your gut bacteria. High in fiber, raspberries are prebiotics that feeds the good bacteria in your gut, promoting regular bowel movements, which is crucial for eliminating toxins.
How to Use Raspberries
Eat fresh raspberries as a snack, add to your yogurt and overnight oats, serve them on top of pancakes, add to a smoothie or a salad, or stuff raspberries with dark chocolate as a treat. The options are endless with this vibrant fruit!
Plantains contain high amounts of resistant starch. Resistant starch is a type of starch that “resists” digestion, meaning you don’t obtain significant calories from it. The normal human gut has hundreds of bacterial species, some good and some not so good.
The overall and relative quantity of each type has a profound effect on your health and well-being. Resistant starch selectively stimulates the good bacteria in your intestines, helping to maintain a healthy balance of bacteria.
How to Use Plantains
Use green plantains to make into plantain chips by frying them in coconut oil with cinnamon. Alternatively, use green plantains to make into pancakes, fritters, or cakes.
Start Eating for Your Gut Today!
A healthy gut microbiome is dependent on a diverse eating approach, so be sure to eat a wide variety of foods rather than relying too heavily on a single food group for nutrition.
The tiny bacteria, fungi, and viruses living inside our bellies might feel like they’re out of our control, but we can take positive steps to ensure they stay healthy and keep us healthy, too!
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