Gut health impacts everything from obesity to cancer, mental health, and so much more. It is crucial for maintaining a healthy immune system as it is home to trillions of microorganisms that help fight off harmful bacteria and viruses. Good gut health is essential for proper digestion and absorption of nutrients, which is necessary for overall health and well-being.
When people talk about “gut health” they are referring to the microbiome and its interactions with the bodily process. The gut microbiome refers to the trillions of bacteria, fungi, and viruses that live in our intestine and one of the most important ways it affects health is through its influence on our immune system. Microbiomes not only help process the foods we eat but also make vitamins. They provide amino acids, talk to our immune system, and educate the immune system. A balanced and healthy gut microbiome can help regulate metabolism, control weight, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
How your gut health and mental health are closely linked and how to boost them both
Your gut and your nervous system talk and work together which is why gut health is often intertwined with your mental health. The gut-brain axis demonstrates the close relationship between the gut and the brain, with a healthy gut being essential for proper cognitive function and mental health.
The body’s intestines are lined with nerve cells that constantly are in contact with the central nervous system. One example is serotonin, a neurotransmitter primarily made in the gut (emotional and cognitive centers of the brain can link with various parts of your gut and send good or bad signals).
Many studies have suggested a link between gut health and brain function, behavior, and mood including many mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.
Focusing on bettering your gut health not only benefits your immune system but helps control digestion and prevents chronic disease.
Easy ways to take care of your gut health: prebiotics, probiotics, check for food intolerances and test your gut health.
12 Best Probiotic Foods for your Gut Health
Probiotics are essential for a healthy gut and overall well-being. Probiotics are known for reducing depression, boosting heart health, boosting your immune system, promoting better skin, and promoting healthy metabolism.
- Yogurt: Many yogurts can advertise helping aid in digestion or promote probiotic content. You want to look for labeling that says “contains live cultures” or “contains active cultures”
- Kimchi: A traditional Korean ingredient that is made by fermenting vegetables with probiotic lactic acid bacteria and is great with steamed rice
- Pickles: fermented pickles (typically found in the refrigerated section, compared to the jarred versions nonrefrigerated which have high sodium) are full of probiotics
- Sourdough Bread: A sourdough started has lactic acid bacteria and is an environment where yeast and good bacteria grow by consuming flour and water. It is linked to better blood glucose control, lower risk of diabetes, reduced cholesterol, improved weight control, and reduced cardiovascular disease risk
- Kefir – Kefir is fermented milk made using kefir grain. Starting out as cow or goat’s milk, a grain-like yeast, and the lactic acid bacterial colony is added to the milk. It is an extremely powerful probiotic.
- Kombucha: It is a healthy drink made of fermented tea, getting the health benefits of tea but with a probiotic boost of a fermented drink.
- Sauerkraut: This German comfort food is made of fermented cabbage made by lactose-fermenting the cabbage in its bring and some salt.
- Miso Soup: The Japanese comfort soup is made from fermented soybeans and works as a condiment to make spreads, sauces, and soup stock.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: The twice-fermented apple juice can be used for many things from calming acid reflux to weight loss. It is great when added to salad dressings, marinades, or pickling.
- Certain Cheeses: Aged Cheeses such as Swiss, gouda, cheddar, edam, gruyere, cottage cheese, and provolone tend to have probiotics.
- Pickled Vegetables: Much like kimchi and pickles, healthy vegetables once pickled have healthy probiotics.
- Buttermilk: Traditional buttermilk has excellent probiotics (try to avoid cultured buttermilk as it does not have probiotics)
20 Gut-Healthy Quick Breakfasts
- Chocolate Banana Oatmeal
- Mushroom Omelet
- Mango Raspberry Smoothie
- Nut & Berry Parfait
- Blueberry Pecan Oatmeal
- Mango-Almond Smoothie Bowl
- Almond Butter & Banana Protein Smoothie
- Oatmeal with fresh fruits
- Ricotta and yogurt parfait
- Sprouted-Grain Toast with peanut Butter and Banana
- Berry-Almond Smoothie Bowl
- Creamy Scrambled Eggs with Chives
- Fig and ricotta oatmeal
- Raspberry yogurt cereal bowl (use yogurt instead of milk)
- Blueberry Banana Smoothie
- Spinach and Egg scramble with raspberries on the side
- Quinoa and chia oatmeal mix
- Yogurt with Blueberries and honey
- Peanut Butter and Banana Breakfast Sandwich
- Raspberry-Kefir Power Smoothie
Gut health is essential for overall well-being as the gastrointestinal system plays a crucial role in maintaining the body’s immune function and digestive processes. A healthy gut also supports the growth of beneficial bacteria that can help prevent harmful pathogens from colonizing the gut. Poor gut health can lead to a variety of health issues, including digestive problems, inflammation, and weakened immunity. Therefore, it is crucial to prioritize gut health by eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated, exercising regularly, and managing stress. It’s also important to consult with a doctor if you experience any symptoms of gut health problems. A medical professional can assess your individual needs and offer personalized recommendations for improving gut health.
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