As the saying goes, “you are what you eat”. Evidence suggests that the same may also be true for your health and digestion. A 2011 Harvard study published in the journal Nature revealed that in as little as one day, your diet can alter the population of microbes in your gut - particularly those that tolerate bile - as well as the types of genes expressed by gut bacteria.
What you eat has a drastic affect on your gut microbiome, which is what helps develop your immune and protect the integrity of your gut lining. Foods like deep-fried junk food can have a seriously detrimental effect on this fragile system and can ultimately trigger serious problems like autoimmune disease.
In contrast, there are a handful of gut-healthy foods that act as repairers and protectors and, in turn, improve your overall health and digestion - here are seven of them.
Eat these seven foods regularly for better health and digestion
Have you ever heard of candida albicans? This common type of yeast infection can quietly start overpopulating an out-of-balance gut. When this happens, toxic by-products of the yeast and bacteria start degrading the tight junctions inside your intestinal lining, ultimately leading to leaky gut syndrome.
Triggered by antibiotics, severe anxiety
and a high-sugar diet, warning signs of a leaky gut include extreme fatigue
, chronic allergy issues, food sensitivities, and a white coating on the tongue, among other symptoms. Aside from eliminating food triggers and adopting a low-sugar, high-probiotic diet, tea can help!
Pau d’arco tea in particular supports spleen health, and also helps your body fight candida the natural way. Nettle and tulsi teas, on the other hand, are best if your gut issues are caused by thyroid issues, adrenal fatigue
, emotional stress
or high cortisol. For autoimmune issues stemming from the gut, try fennel, ginger, mint, chamomile or marshmallow root tea.
#2: Bone broth
Bone broth isn’t just a beauty food! Simmering the bones
of chicken or beef causes the bones
and ligaments to release remarkable healing compounds such as glycine, glutamine and collagen, which also have immune-boosting properties that can help heal a leaky guy.
The collagen and gelatin in bone broth come from the healing amino acids that help repair the intestinal lining. They also help serve as a powerful fuel for small intestine cells.
A body of growing research suggests that chicken soup made with homemade bone broth helps improve asthma
as well as immune function. For a tasty roasted chicken broth recipe, go here
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You’ve probably never heard of it before (don’t stress
– you’re not alone), but natto is in fact an extremely gut-friendly food that’s a staple over in Japan. It’s made from fermented soybeans that contain the potent probiotic called Bacillus subtilis
This powerful probiotic works wonder when it comes to enhancing the digestion
of vitamin K2, which aids in building stronger, healthier bones. According to a recent animal study published in the Journal of Dairy Science
, the Bacillus subtilis
in natto may also promote better immune function.
#4: Coconut kefir
A fantastic stand-in for dairy, coconut kefir is a light and ever so sweet fermented version of coconut water and kefir grains. It contains the same gut-friendly probiotic strains you’d find in standard dairy kefir, just in slightly smaller quantities.
If you eat a plant-based diet, this is an especially important probiotic source for you to add to your eating plan. If you don’t enjoy the taste, you can try mixing it with a hint of water, stevia and lime juice for enhanced flavour.
#5: Medicinal mushrooms
There’s a lot of hype around medicinal mushrooms right now, and for good reasons! The mycelia, which is the part of this kind of mushroom that grows below the forest ground, can help keep your microbiome balanced.
Magic mushrooms are also a super source of prebiotics, which serve as highly beneficial microbes. Lastly, they can help your body beat viruses and candida that contribute to an array of digestive problems.
#6: “Dirty” vegetables
By “dirty”, I mean lightly rinsed vegetables from your local farmers market, or even your own garden. These veggies are often rich in beneficial strains of gut-friendly soil-based organisms. Just think about it for a second – your grandparents probably ate lots of dirt in their day before the food system became so sanitised!
Today, the Environmental Protection Agency says that the average toddler consumes around one teaspoon of dirt a day, which helps improve microbe diversity. Root vegetables such as potatoes, turnips and carrots grow underground and thus are packed with healthy microbes.
Another one you may not know about, kvass is a fermented beverage that’s traditionally made by fermented rye or barley. You guessed it; this drink has a mild beer flavour, and to add, is great for detoxifying and healing the gut.
Kvass enthusiasts are now even fermenting their favourite drink use beets, too. The fermentation process enhances the benefits of beets, allowing the nutrients
to be more rapidly absorbed by the body. How smart?
Now that you know about these seven gut-friendly foods, be sure to start munching on them right away!
PS: For three simple tricks to keep your health and digestion in check, read this