Do we pay enough attention to that sophisticated engine we call The Gut? Perhaps not enough. It's very easy to avoid caring about your gut until symptoms arise, but that's often too late to fix the issues without medical intervention.
There are a number of common gut problems that are linked to the nutrition component and the more you know the better it is, so you can avoid problems like indigestion, heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, etc.
The beauty of our body is that it is quite simple to keep them in good shape by the food we eat. So, here are some foods that help in keeping gut healthy and should be included in the diet regularly.
FOODS FOR A HEALTHY GUT
- Probiotics: Probiotics are live good bacteria that improve the functioning of the gut and keeps it healthy and happy. Some common probiotic foods are curd/yogurt, Sauerkraut, Tempeh, Kimchi, Miso, Kombucha, etc.
- Prebiotics: They are fiber-rich foods that probiotics, the good bacteria, feed on. Leeks, bananas, onions, garlic, oats, and, to a lesser degree, beans, and pulses are good prebiotic foods.
- Healthy Fats: Healthy fats promote the growth and functioning of beneficial bacteria in the intestines. Go for fats that have MCT (medium chang triglycerides) such as coconut oil, peanut oil, and cold-pressed virgin oils, etc. Avoid products high in saturated fat as these can raise cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease.
- Low-fat Dairy Products: Aim to have two to three moderate servings of low-fat versions of dairy products a day like low-fat milk, curd, buttermilk, cottage cheese, etc.
- Omega-3 Rich Foods: Aim to have one to two servings of omega-3 rich foods a day such as almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, olives, avocado, rice bran oil, mustard oil, etc.
- Fruits and Vegetables: Ensure you have at least 3-4 servings of a variety of seasonal and colorful vegetables and 1-2 servings of whole fruits a day as they are rich in essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Examples are orange, guava, watermelon, apple, beans, broccoli, carrot, cabbage, green leafy vegetables, etc.
- Fiber-Rich Foods: Go for whole grains and millets like whole wheat, finger millet, pearl millet, buckwheat, brown rice, etc. While shopping for rice, bread, cereals, or pasta, aim to purchase whole grain or multigrain varieties as they contain valuable nutrients like fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
TIPS FOR GOOD GUT HEALTH
- Eat a balanced diet: Make sure your diet constitutes a variety of healthy foods from all the food groups.
- Give time to your meals: Don't rush meals and try to fit in food quickly on a hectic day. Give yourself quality time for meals and eat slowly to allow your system a better chance to digest food.
- Limit alcohol intake: Consuming a lot of alcohol can irritate the stomach lining.
- Drink plenty of fluids: Keeping yourself hydrated is the key to good health. Aim to drink at least 2-3 liters of water a day.
- Eat three meals a day: Having three healthy meals a day is actually considered optimum in terms of fueling the body. Key to this is having a heavy breakfast, moderately-heavy lunch, and a light dinner.
- Snack wisely: Choose healthily roasted, grilled, or baked versions of your favorite snacks or munch on whole fruits or salads to stay full and provide your body with essential nutrients in between meals.
Eating well can significantly contribute in maintaining a healthy gut-brain connection and can boost your immunity to a great extent. Include a range of fresh foods plant sources like fruits, veggies, legumes, beans and whole grains. Sleep well, stress less and follow healthy habits to lead a good life.
We all get distracted from the healthy path when it comes to our eating habits. Not sure what’s good for you and what’s not? Measure your macro-nutrient breakdown on The Wellness Corner app to know whether your intake was too high or low and if you need to exercise to shed those extra calories. Consult a verified dietitian to get a tailored meal plan and achieve your wellness goals under proper guidance.