According to Forbes, there is immense research on the topics related to gut health and it has been proved that the gut plays an important role in the overall health and well-being of a person.
People assume that it only helps in digestion but healthy gut bacteria also produce vitamins, support the immunity system, and keep the harmful bacteria at bay. Moreover, 70 percent of the immunity system resides in the gut.
It is a lesser-known fact that people can improve their gut health through a healthy diet as well. Here are a few types of foods that you can include to keep your gut healthy.
Foods Rich in Fiber
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate which is primarily found in plant-based foods, and it is divided into soluble or insoluble fibers.
Soluble fiber is known to absorb water to form a gel consumed by gut bacteria (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics while the insoluble fiber passes through your digestive tract and provides bulk to your stool. Hence, it helps promote regular bowel movements.
Both fibers promote gut health by helping in digestion and preventing constipation. High-fiber foods help prevent weight gain and development of chronic conditions, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and some kinds of cancer (The Lancet).
Foods rich in fiber include Beans, dried peas, lentils, oats, wheat, dried fruits, whole-grain bread and products, barley, quinoa, bulgur, brown rice and many more.
Fermented foods are the types that have undergone fermentation and their sugars have been broken down by yeast or bacteria. Fermented foods include yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, tempeh, etc.
According to PubMed, foods rich in lactobacilli (a type of bacteria) also help improve your gut health. Research shows regular consumption of yogurt promotes the production of more lactobacilli in the intestines. These people also have fewer Enterobacteriaceae (a type of bacteria associated with inflammation and chronic conditions). Yogurt can improve intestinal bacteria and decrease symptoms of lactose intolerance.
Moreover, fermented soybean milk or kimchi promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria like Bifidobacteria and lactobacilli, while reducing the harmful strains of other bacteria.
Foods Containing Polyphenols
Polyphenols are plant compounds with various health benefits like reductions in blood pressure, anti-inflammation, maintenance of cholesterol levels, and oxidative stress.
Human cells find it difficult to digest polyphenols. Since they cannot be absorbed efficiently, most polyphenols get transferred to the colon, where they are broken down by gut bacteria. (US NIH)
Foods rich in polyphenols include cocoa, dark chocolate, red wine, grape skins, green tea, almonds, onions, blueberries, broccoli, etc.
Polyphenols promote the production of Bifidobacteria and lactobacilli in humans and reduce the unhealthy bacteria of Clostridia. These changes in the microbiome help lower the levels of triglycerides and C-reactive protein, and thus reduce inflammation.
The polyphenols in red wine increase the levels of beneficial bacteria in people with metabolic syndrome.
Collagen-rich foods like bone broth and salmon are beneficial to the overall health and especially gut health. Few benefits are anecdotal more research is required. According to Healthline, people should including foods that help boost your body’s collagen production. Some of these foods include mushrooms, good dairy, or certain meats.
Synbiotic foods are those which combine the prebiotics and probiotics into a single gut microbe-supporting meal. These foods provide the benefits of prebiotics and probiotics together which helps support existing gut bacteria and delivers additional living cultures in your gut.
Some Synbiotic foods include:
A banana smoothie with kefir or yogurt
Stir-fried tempeh, asparagus, garlic, and leeks
Yogurt and blueberries smoothie
You can improve the effectiveness of these foods by adding high-fiber ingredients like whole grains, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits, or legumes.