When it comes to healthy eating, much of the focus tends to be placed on how many calories you’re consuming, how much sugar you take in, and how many grams of proteins, carbohydrates, and dietary fats you get each and every day. While there’s no denying the fact these are important factors determining your health status, it’s important to not overlook one additional critical element: gut health.
Gut health represents the overall health and efficiency of your internal digestive system, something that will impact every single part of your being. If you stop and think about it, if you gut isn’t functioning optimally, this means you won’t be able to derive all the nutrition from the foods you eat like you should, which can then lead to nutritional deficiencies and a whole host of other health related issues. Furthermore, much of your immune system is actually housed in your gut so when your gut isn’t as healthy as it should be, don’t be surprised if you find yourself falling ill more frequently. Some of the leading factors contributing to an unhealthy gut include the frequent use of antibiotics, diets that are rich in refined carbohydrates and processed foods, high chronic stress levels, as well as frequent infections.
All of this said, the good news is that you do have the power to improve your gut health by taking control and ensuring that you remain as healthy as you possibly can be. Let’s share with you five nutrition tips that will help you get on track to superior gut status.
Listen To Your Grandma: Eat Those Vegetables
As a kid, you heard it time and time again; eat your vegetables. Whether it came from your grandparents, parents, or otherwise, those people were right. Sadly, most people today do not meet their intake for 5-10 servings of fresh vegetables a day. The most prevalent vegetables consumed are potatoes (in the form of fries) and tomatoes (in the form of ketchup and tomato sauce). Both of these lack the important nutrients that more wholesome vegetables, such as broccoli, leafy greens, peppers, onions, and so on provide.
What’s more is that fruits and vegetables are loaded with dietary fiber, which is one of the key nutrients needed for a healthy gut. Dietary fiber helps to slow digestion down, making sure your gut is able to soak up all the nutrients found in the foods you eat and then also speeds up the excretion process, making sure toxic waste doesn’t sit in your body for too long. Think of fiber as the master regulator in terms of the passage of food through your system. If you get enough, your body will know the perfect speed to be pushing food through your digestive tract.
Eat Smart Fruits
Next up, you’ll want to also focus on adding fruit to your diet plan, not just because it’ll supply the fiber just noted above, but also because certain fruits are a rich source of digestive enzymes. Eating these before or with your meal will help promote better overall digestion, reducing the chances that you wind up experiencing bloating, gas, or stomach pain. Which fruits should you focus on? The best sources include papaya, pineapple, along with mango.
Many people don’t readily produce certain digestive enzymes naturally, so if they are failing to get them in through food sources, this will make it harder to tolerate the foods they consume. In addition to eating these fruits, you might also consider taking a specific enzyme supplement. For instance, for those who experience gas after consuming dairy products, this is because their body is not producing enough lactase, an enzyme that helps to digest lactose, the milk sugar. If they supplement with lactase however, this can help remedy the situation. If you notice that certain foods tend to give you trouble, pay attention to that as it can give you clues into your digestive enzyme status.