Did you know that your gut plays a vital role in your physical and mental health? Scientists have suspected for a long time that the gut and the brain are somehow connected, but we now know that an extensive neural network in the gut known as the enteric nervous system is intricately linked to our central nervous system, and the health of the gut affects the brain's main functions.
A sick gut results mainly from depriving your gut microbiota healthy nutrition necessary for their survival, wreaking havoc on the bacteria and destroying the lining of the intestine and inadvertently affecting your physical and mental health negatively. When your digestive system is in turmoil, you need gut-friendly food to help replenish the population of the gut microbiome and heal your gut. Here are seven of the top gut-friendly foods you should have on your diet today.
Jerusalem artichokes have a strong prebiotic property and are rich in inulin. Inulin is an insoluble fiber which moves through the digestive tract without being digested until it gets to the colon. In the colon, inulin undergoes fermentation to produce healthy microflora, i.e. healthy gut bacteria which improve gut health and aid digestion. However, it’s better to introduce Jerusalem artichokes into your diet gradually as they may lead to digestive distress if your digestive system is sensitive. Bananas, onions, asparagus, and leeks are also rich in inulin.
Polenta is based on corn, making it a fiber-rich meal that provides the gut bacteria the food they need to propagate. The insoluble fiber in polenta moves to the colon where it ferments and helps gut flora to multiply.
For centuries, ginger has been used to cure digestive disorders such as nausea and vomiting. It’s being studied extensively as a treatment for nausea and motion sickness linked to seasickness, pregnancy, and chemotherapy and researchers have found it to be an effective solution for preventing these problems.
Ginger has potent antibacterial and antifungal properties, making it an effective means of controlling candida overgrowth and other pathogens. Research also shows that ginger can help prevent gastric ulcers by decreasing inflammatory cytokines. To enjoy the healing powers of ginger, use as a spice in cooking or make it as ginger tea.
Due to its powerful antifungal and antibacterial properties, coconut is one of the best gut-friendly foods out there. Whether as coconut oil or eating the real flesh, coconut can help keep candida overgrowth in check, stop constipation, as well as supply your body with healthy fats. Use moderately for cooking as its heavy in calories.
Pineapple is high in bromelain, a powerful digestive enzyme that aids in the breakdown of protein. Research suggests that pineapple bromelain can help prevent inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. It can also help protect against digestive disorders and indigestion as well as neutralizing the harmful effects of intestinal pathogens like the E. coli. You can enjoy it juiced, in salads, or grilled. But make sure you buy fresh pineapples.
Plant-based Fermented Foods
Fermented foods of plant origin such as miso and tempeh are excellent for the gut as these are probiotics that infuse live bacteria into your gut, effectively increasing healthy bacteria populations, reducing harmful gut biota, enhancing nutrient absorption, and promoting general health and well-being. Probiotic such as fermented plant-based foods are also known to enhance gut health, reduce allergies, improve immune function, and reduce the risk of colon cancer.
Onions are rich in inulin, a prebiotic that promotes the growth of healthy gut biota while suppressing the growth of pathogens. Research suggests that inulin from onions and sunchokes may be effective in preventing colon cancer.
If poor food choices have damaged your gut health in the past, these seven foods can help you replenish healthy gut bacteria and improve your digestive health and general wellbeing.