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.
Consume Fermented Food
Next up on the list of things to do to promote gut health is to focus on readily including fermented foods into your daily diet plan. Fermented foods contain probiotics, which are the healthy bacteria that help balance out the ‘bad bacteria’ in the gut, ensuring that you stay in proper balance. The best fermented foods to consume include kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi. Eating just one serving of these per day can make a big difference on your overall probiotic status.
When purchasing yogurt, be sure that it does say that it contains live bacterial cultures. Not all yogurt will be rich in probiotics, so you do need to choose wisely.
Is your eating schedule always erratic? Some days you eat lunch at noon and other days you don’t eat until nearly 3pm? If so, this could be leading to poor gut health. Try as best as you can to regulate your eating schedule so it’s as similar each day as possible. This will help train your body as to when it should expect food and also help to keep your bowels regular as well. Your body, by nature, loves maintaining homeostasis, so the more you can do to help it do just that, the better off you’ll be. Eating regularly accomplishes this task.
Limit Caffeine And Alcohol
Two substances you will want to limit from your diet plan are caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine will cause the stomach to become more acidic in nature, which can throw off the proper pH balance of your gut and lead to many unwanted health side effects including feeling lethargic, suffering insomnia, having brittle bones, as well as suffering from bloating and IBS. Additionally, too much caffeine, especially on an empty stomach, can lead to stomach ulcers as well, so that’s another reason to avoid it.
Alcohol, on the other hands, should be avoided as it itself is a toxin to your system and will only place excess strain on every cell in your body as you rapidly try and excrete it. Remember that there are no nutrients whatsoever in alcohol, so it really does not do you any good to be consuming it. The more you consume, the more potential damage you do to your gut health.
So there you have the key steps to take if you hope to sustain a healthier gut. Don’t underestimate how much your gut health impacts you. Start taking action now so that you can have a healthier tomorrow.
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