September 23 is National Go With Your Gut Day! If you already know about the importance of gut health, now’s the time to spread the love and tell your friends! This new holiday is all about raising awareness about digestive health and its impact on overall health. To celebrate, Randy Jackson and Unify Health Labs will be releasing tips, posts, and info all day. Follow along and get involved by sharing photos of your gut-healthy lifestyle on social media with the hashtag #GoWithYourGutDay.
More and more people are learning about the importance of good gut health. In fact, gut health has become such a big part of our culture that we now have “National Go With Your Gut Day” on September 23. Going with your gut – and taking care of your gut – is certainly a good idea. In fact, taking care of your gut can help benefit you every single day of the year. Not sure how? Learning about some of the best foods for gut health is a great place to start.
A Healthy Gut Can Help Support Your Well-Being
Why even focus on your gut? What’s the big deal? You may associate your gut with your stomach and digestion. They are, indeed, related – but there’s so much more to the gut. Research continues to find that the gut’s role in human health is even larger than once thought.
In addition to supporting healthy digestion, the good bacteria in your gut influences many of your body’s systems – from your skin to your joints, heart, and brain health, too.1,2,3,4 A balanced microbiome – which is the term for the colony of microbes in your intestines – can support your health in many ways.5,6,7,8,9,10 It always pays to take care of your gut.
How Do You Take Care Of Your Gut With Food?
Now that you know the why, it’s time to move on to the how. One of the simplest things you can do, in addition to taking a daily gut health supplement like Multi-GI 5, is to eat gut-friendly foods. But what are the best foods for gut health? When it comes to gut-friendly foods, here are some helpful rules of thumb.
1. Eat A Variety Of Different Healthy Foods
This can lead to a more diverse microbiome.11
2. Eat Fermented Foods That Contain Beneficial Bacteria
Fermented foods help promote a positive balance of good vs. bad bacteria in your gut.12
3. Eat Prebiotic, Fiber-Rich Foods
Prebiotics help nourish the good bacteria in your gut.13
4. Eat Plenty Of Whole Grains
They typically contain beneficial carbohydrates and fiber, which fuels probiotics.14
5. Eat Foods Rich In Plant Compounds Called Polyphenols
Polyphenols help stimulate healthy bacteria growth in your gut15
Spotlight: Five Great Foods To Eat For Good Gut Health
There are so many delicious, wonderful foods that are great for your gut. Using those five rules from above, here are recommendations for some of the best foods to try for gut health. Hopefully, this inspires you to step out and add some new foods to your routine.
1. To Eat A Wider Variety Of Different Foods, Try Artichoke
How To Eat It: Steam it, and eat the leaves with plenty of lemon.
Sure, artichoke may not be the most exotic food around. But when’s the last time you cooked one up at home? Those spiky little gems, which can be intimidating to a home cook, are great for your gut. Here’s why: stepping out of your normal food comfort zone (as long as it’s still a healthy, whole food) may lead to more diverse and healthy gut bacteria.
There are hundreds of bacteria species in your intestines – they each play a specific role, and they each need different nutrients to stay healthy. Eating a diverse array of foods can help give these different bacteria the nutrients they need to thrive. A diverse diet leads to a more diverse microbiome, which can lead to a healthier gut.16,17
If you rarely eat artichokes, there are many reasons to love this gut-healthy food. Artichokes are rich in vitamins like folate, minerals like magnesium, and antioxidants. In fact, they are one of the most antioxidant-rich vegetables around. But the big reason that artichokes are such a gut-friendly food is their high fiber content.18,19
Artichokes are a good source of prebiotics – a type of dietary fiber that helps stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. One medium artichoke contains about 10 grams of fiber, which is an impressive 40% of the daily recommended value.20
If you already eat artichokes all the time, that’s great. Here are some other gut-friendly foods you can introduce to your diet. To ensure you’re eating a variety of foods, try incorporating a few of these: bulgur, kefir, chicory, miso, and tempeh.21
2. To Eat More Fermented Foods, Try Unsweetened Yogurt
How To Eat It: Eat it plain or with berries for breakfast, spoon it over meat as a tangy sauce, or use it in a salad dressing for a creamy texture.
Fermented foods, like yogurt, are a great source of probiotics. Fermentation is a process where microorganisms like bacteria break down carbs or sugar into alcohol or acids. It results in a distinctive tart flavor (think of the taste of plain yogurt) and is used to make a wide variety of foods and beverages. Yogurt is typically made from milk that has been fermented with lactic acid bacteria.
Along with preserving foods, fermentation can also help boost the number of beneficial bacteria (i.e. probiotics) in your gut. Many fermented foods – like yogurt, sauerkraut, miso, kimchi, and kombucha – contain live microorganisms, such as Lactobacillus.22
When you eat fermented foods, in a sense you “restock” the probiotics in your gut. As you know, probiotics are tied to many potential health benefits. They help support healthy digestion, weight management, and immune health.23,24,25
If you’d like to add yogurt to your diet, keep in mind that not all yogurt contains probiotics. Some bacteria is killed during processing. Look for yogurt that indicates it has live cultures to make sure you’re getting the probiotics you seek. And of course, make sure there is no added sugar.
3. To Eat More Prebiotic, Fiber-Rich Foods, Try Lentils
How to eat them: Simmer them with some homemade chicken stock and eat them with brown rice.
Prebiotics are types of fiber that are found in legumes, fruits, and vegetables. Your body can’t digest this type of fiber, but your gut bacteria can.26,27 Lentils are naturally rich in prebiotics. A 100g serving of lentils may provide over 13 g of prebiotics.28
When you eat a prebiotic-rich food, like lentils, the fiber can move through your digestive tract relatively unscathed. It ends up in the part of your colon where probiotic bacteria live. Once there, the bacteria breaks the fiber down into nutrition they can use to help them grow.29
One of the things your gut bacteria uses prebiotics for is to create short-chain fatty acids, like butyrate. Butyrate helps support gut health by nourishing the gut lining and soothing the colon.30 Studies have found that the colon cannot make enough butyrate without prebiotic intake from the diet. So, it’s extra important to make sure you are regularly eating prebiotic-rich food.31
The good news is that there are many delicious prebiotic foods you can try. Here are a few other excellent sources of fiber: berries, black beans, peas, soybeans, asparagus, garlic, onion, leeks, Jerusalem artichokes, bananas, apples, chicory root, and raw dandelion greens.32
4. To Eat More Whole Grains, Try Steel Cut Oats
How to eat them: boil them on the stovetop and mix in some almond milk for a creamier texture.
Whole grains typically contain a good amount of fiber and non-digestible carbohydrates, like beta-glucans. When ingested, beta-glucans pass through the small intestine and enter the large intestine. There, they help support the growth of good bacteria in the gut. Beta-glucans may also aid in digestion and nutrient absorption.33,34
Research shows that eating whole grains can help promote the growth of Lactobacilli, Bifidobacteria, and Bacteroidetes.35 Steel cut oats are also packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, like avenanthramide.36
Another potential benefit of steel cut oats is that they are naturally gluten-free. Many whole grains – like wheat, barley, and rye – contain gluten, which has a negative effect on some people. For people with a gluten sensitivity, eating gluten-containing grains may negatively affect intestinal permeability.37
If you have a gluten sensitivity (or you’re just interested in eating a delicious breakfast), steel cut oats are a great thing to try. They give you a satisfying meal your gut can feel good about.
5. To Eat More Polyphenols, Try Dark Chocolate
How to eat it: buy a high quality dark chocolate bar and indulge (with moderation).
Polyphenols are beneficial compounds that are typically found in fruits and vegetables. They contain antioxidants that help support healthy metabolism, weight,, and immunity.38
Humans can’t always digest polyphenols. When they are consumed, they make their may to the colon and help support the gut bacteria that lives there.39,40,41
When digested, cocoa may help support gut health and immunity.42 All of these potential benefits from nibbling on a bit of dark chocolate — isn’t science amazing?
If you’re looking to add other gut-friendly sources of polyphenols to your diet, you could also consider: red wine (in moderation), green tea, olive oil, almonds, onions, blueberries, spinach, broccoli, and spices, like cinnamon.43
The Role Of Probiotic Supplements
In addition to eating the probiotic foods above, another way to help support your beneficial bacteria levels is to take a probiotic supplement, such as Multi-GI 5. Some products, like Multi-GI 5 and Total Multi-Cleanse, contain both prebiotics and probiotics. Products that combine both pre- and pro- introduce the bacteria strain with food for the bacteria to help them thrive.44†*
Supplements often also include other nutrients to help nourish the gut. For example, Multi-GI 5 contains a GI Health Blend with ingredients like L-Glutamine and zinc that support the digestive system in various ways.45†*
If you want to see a noticeable difference in your gut health, a supplement may be the right choice for you. Just make sure to first talk with your doctor before making any changes to your diet – including supplements.
*All individuals are unique. Your results can and will vary.
†These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
“Go With Your Gut” Every Day Of The Year
“Go With Your Gut Day” will come and go every year – but it’s worth doing a little something for your gut every single day. Remember the principles of healthy gut eating: eat a variety of foods; eat fermented foods; eat prebiotic foods; eat plenty of whole grains; and eat foods rich in polyphenols. Beyond that, a probiotic supplement may give you a leg up, too.
Check out the Unify Health Labs Instagram page for more exciting content related to #GoWithYourGutDay!
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