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Heal Your Gut (And Your Body) With These Tips!

New research has shown that the foods we eat directly affect the bacteria in our gut, thereby having a powerful impact on the health of the entire body. When your gut works better, your body works better.

The home of an estimated 100 trillion organisms, your gut is the “second brain” of your body. The gut does everything from transforming food into fuel for the body, to protecting your immune health, to lowering blood sugar.

The digestive system is a huge part of the body’s neurological system. Chronic fatigue, joint pain, thyroid disease, even psoriasis are all initiated in the gut. With improved gut health, some symptoms of these illnesses could be alleviated.

We are learning more about our gut bacteria than ever – now we know it can change significantly from day to day, even hour to hour based upon the foods we eat.

Fiber and probiotic-rich foods are key to creating the best gut microbe environment for good health. Foods that do not contain fiber or probiotics slow down digestion, and compromise gut health.

Probiotics are live bacteria that stimulate the growth of helpful microorganisms, especially those in your gut. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are the two most common probiotics.

Lactobacillus is best known for helping ease diarrhea and assisting in the processing of lactose (the sugar found in milk.)  Bifidobacterium may help ease symptoms of various digestive issues, including Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS.)

Along with kimchi and sauerkraut, some of the most popular fermented foods are yogurt, kombucha (a fermented sweet tea), kefir (a fermented milk beverage), and tempeh (fermented soybeans.)

All of these, and other fermented foods, contain healthy probiotic bacteria. Yogurt has been shown to reduce risk for heart disease, and kimchi to reduce risk of diabetes complications and obesity.

When you include fermented foods in your diet, they work with your body to help optimize the digestion and absorption of nutrients. Research has also shown that fermenting foods can make them more nutritious. For example, some foods developed Vitamin B nutrients that they did not contain before they were fermented.

Fiber is also key to gut health! Fiber serves many purposes for the body. It helps to regulate blood sugar, it prevents the absorption of cholesterol, and promotes gut health and regularity.

All of these benefits are especially helpful for diabetics as it is crucial to control blood sugar, as well as, heart health. Without fiber, our digestive tract suffers, we develop high cholesterol that may lead to heart disease, and inflammation may increase in the body.

The vast majority of Americans get less than half of the daily recommended 25 and 35 grams of fiber. It may sound like a lot, but there are many delicious ways to get your fiber on!

Low in calories, rich in fiber and essential nutrients, artichokes are a great addition to your diet. Just one medium artichoke accounts for nearly half of the recommend daily fiber intake for women, and a third for men.

One cup of steamed broccoli contains nearly 5 grams of fiber. Plus, this cruciferous green veggie is rich in folate, potassium, and vitamins C & K.

Almonds, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, oh my! Nuts are an easy, convenient way to quickly increase your fiber intake.

Loaded with fiber and antioxidants, raspberries and blackberries all contain more than 7 grams of fiber per cup. Blueberries are also a great source of vitamins and soluble fiber. Studies have found that glucose levels reduce over time when blueberries are included in one’s diet. Bonus!

A wide variety of grains contain fiber, but few pack as nutritious a punch as quinoa. Quinoa is easy to digest and gluten-free, while being high in other essential nutrients such as iron, vitamin B-6, potassium and magnesium.

Beans and lentils, avocado, air-popped popcorn, are a few more high-fiber foods. They also double as blood-sugar stabilizers!

Be mindful of the ways in which you can protect the good bacteria already in your gut. Be wary of using antibacterial soap, it will remove any good bacteria along with the bad.

Resist relying on antibiotics for every sneeze and sniffle. Antibiotics devastate the biome of your gut. The purpose of an antibiotic is to kill bacteria. This process is not discriminatory, and severely depletes your body’s store of good bacteria.

 

 

Sources: https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_168008.html

 

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