Gut health refers to balanced microorganisms that live in the digestive tract. Looking after the health of the gut and maintaining a proper balance of these microorganisms are essential for immunity, physical, mental health and many more. Our gut comprises of 300-500 different species of bacteria. While some of them are harmful to us, many are incredibly beneficial and necessary for a healthy body.
Interestingly, the food you eat significantly affects the types of bacteria that live inside the digestive tract. Here are some ways to improve the health of the gut.
There are numerous bacteria inside our intestines. Each species contributes to different roles and require different nutrients for growth. A diet consisting of different food types can contribute to diverse gut microbiota which are healthy.
Fruits and vegetables are the best sources of nutrients for healthy gut microbiota. They are rich in fiber, which cannot be digested by the body. However, fiber can be digested by certain bacteria in the gut, which enhances their growth.
Beans and legumes also contain a high amount of fiber. Some fiber-rich foods that are good for gut health are:
Fermented foods are food produced with the help of useful microbes. The fermenting process often involves bacteria or yeasts, converting sugars into organic acids or alcohol. Some fermented foods are:
Prebiotics are the food that promote the growth of beneficial gut microbes. They are usually complex carbs or fiber that cannot be digested by human cells. But for many gut microbes, they act as fuel. Those who want to enhance their gut health should consume the following items:
Artificial sugars are widely used as alternatives to sugar. Too much sugar or artificial sugar can cause gut dysbiosis, a situation of imbalance gut microbes.
Practicing techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises or yoga can help in proper sleep and active lifestyle. A healthy diet also reduce stress levels.
A vegetarian diet may improve gut health as it contains a good amount of prebiotic fiber. Studies show that there is a significant difference between gut microbiota of vegetarians as compared to non-vegetarians.
To combat bacterial infections, it is often necessary to take antibiotics. But overuse is a significant health concern as it may lead to antibiotic resistance. Overuse of antibiotics may damage the gut microbiome as well as immunity.
Probiotics are live microorganisms, usually bacteria, which provide a specific health benefit when consumed. They may benefit the health by changing the overall composition of gut microbiota. Probiotics are known for restoring the microbiota to a healthy state.
Polyphenols are the compounds derived from plants that provide us many health benefits such as reduction of blood pressure, cholesterol level, and inflammation. The compound can’t always be digested by human cells. They make their way to the colon, where they can be digested by gut microbes.
Following items are a good source of polyphenols:
Whole grains are a good source of fibers and non-digestible carbs. These carbs are not absorbed in the small intestine and make their way to the large intestine. They are broken down by microbes and promote the growth of some beneficial bacteria.
Smoking affects not only heart and lung health but also gut health. It also increases the risk of developing cancer. Smoking alters the intestinal flora by increasing the growth of harmful bacteria and decreasing the growth of beneficial bacteria.
Diagnostics and Pathology Tests Available At House of Diagnostics (HOD).
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