Gut Health seems to be the new trending health topic these days, but it is actually not a fad, it is very important for your overall health. Stomach problems like bloating, constipation, and gas can be a real irritant in everyday life. It's always tempting to take the easy street and grab one of the many OTC supplements that claim to help your gut. But actually, the best and easiest way to overcome any stomach issues is a simple dietary strategy to help you get your digestive tract back on track!
Also, we would advise staying away from processed foods that claim to help your gut. Whole foods are the way to go to improve your gut health, mainly because your body will absorb them better. The body absorbs nutrients in real, whole foods way better than in supplements and processed foods and any man-made products are hard to digest.
There are three simple things to remember when trying to better your gut health; fiber, probiotics, prebiotics. Make sure to eat food that contains more of these ingredients or a combination of the three.
Fiber, found in plant foods, helps to regulate the speed at which food moves through your gut, making it a crucial factor when it comes to staying regular.
The daily amount of recommended fiber for women is 25 grams and 38 grams for men. If you're not getting enough fiber in your diet, it is important to gradually increase your intake to avoid bellyaches, cramping, and gas. Also, make sure that you are staying hydrated because fiber works with water in your digestive system to keep it functioning well. Here are some foods you can try to up your fiber intake:
Legumes: Legumes are one of the simplest and cost-effective ways to up your fiber intake. They are amazing because they can provide half your daily fiber in 1 cup, at the cost of just pennies per cup. Example of legumes are chickpeas, lentils, navy beans, split peas, or white beans.
Sometimes legumes may cause gas, but to help prevent that try soaking dried beans or draining and rinsing canned beans before cooking or eating. This can help reduce some of the sugars linked to gas. Also the more frequently you consume legumes, the less likely you’ll be to experience gas afterward.
Raspberries and blackberries: The sweetest way to up your fiber intake is raspberries and blackberries. In just one cup of berries, there are 8 grams of fiber! They're amazing in smoothies or make great savory sauces, plus you can just buy frozen when berries are out of season! Same great nutrients right in your freezer.
Barley, bran, and bulgur: Another great way to up your fiber intake is through whole grains, especially barley, bran, and bulgur. You can get 6 or more grams of fiber in just one cup of barley or bulgur, or a half a cup of oat bran. But because whole grains contain fat, they spoil easily when exposed to light, moisture or heat. Make sure to store in a cool, dark, dry place in airtight containers and they'll stay good for around 6 months.
Probiotics and Prebiotics
Probiotics are microorganismsthat are created through the fermentation process. In your food, you might think of them as “good” microbes that can combat infection-causing microbes that flourish when we’re sick.
Prebiotics are basically food for probiotics.
It has been proven that foods that contain probiotics can improve bacteria balance. Bacteria balance can help with constipation, boost overall immunity, and there is even some evidence that probiotics can shorten diarrhea related to antibiotic use, contaminated food, clostridium difficile, or a virus.
Since the research is limited there isn't a definite recommendation on how much probiotic you should intake for a healthy gut. Here are some great probiotic foods:
Kimchi: This Korean side dish is a great form of probiotic because it's made from fermented vegetables. It is a great choice for those who don't consume dairy. Kimchi is a great source of dietary fiber and vitamin A and C.
Yogurt and kefir:Fermented dairy foods, like yogurt and kefir, contain beneficial bacteria as well. Those bacteria will help to break down sugars, like lactose, to make them easier to digest. Some people that are lactose intolerant can even eat dairy products with the probiotic lactobacillus acidophilus, which are common in yogurts that contain live strains.
Miso: Miso is made from fermented soybeans, is high in fiber and protein, as well as contains probiotics. If you want to preserve the beneficial microbial content of foods that have already been cooked or heated, just add miso.
When eating all these wonderful probiotic foods, make sure to mix in some prebiotic foods like asparagus, artichokes, bananas, garlic, leeks, onions, and soybeans!
Eating healthy and still having stomach troubles? First, try eating slower and take smaller bits so that your food is easier to digest.
Also, try keeping away from the following foods that can wreak havoc on your gastrointestinal system. Alcohol and caffeine because they can overstimulate your intestines. Sweetened fruity drinks because most blends contain high fructose corn syrup, which can be difficult to digest and cause abdominal gas. Red marbled meats, plus fried foods because fat is so slow to digest. So these types of foods sit in your stomach way longer than others. Plus fatty foods can temporarily weaken your muscles that keep gastric acid in the stomach, which will lead to heartburn. Any sugar-free candies and gums because most of the contain sweeteners that are nondigestible carbohydrates. They can cause abdominal gas, discomfort, and diarrhea. Sodas and seltzers are also rough on the gastrointestinal system because the carbonated beverages will fill your stomach with gas.
Lastly, the best advice we can give you if you have continued stomach problems or digestive discomfort is to check with your doctor. There are many symptoms or diseases that prescription medication will help.