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What to Eat (and Not Eat) to Avoid Gut Trouble

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December 12, 2018 | Published by


Garbage in, garbage out- it’s true for computers and cars, and just as true for our bodies in regards to what we eat. It’s amazing how much your life can be hindered when your digestive system has been devastated by something terrible you’ve eaten. Who wants to feel awful after eating? We all have the power and motive to keep putting good in and taking care of ourselves. Let’s look at foods that are beneficial to your gut, as well as ones that are harmful.

Foods to Eat

Vegetables

Altering your diet to be high in plant fiber will increase the various kinds and number of bacteria in your gut, which can help with leaky gut, oral tolerance, and inflammation. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and bok choy are high in glucosinolates that can help promote a healthy gut environment.

Fruits

There are many health benefits to eating fruit, and quite a few relate directly to digestion. Some fruit skins, like pear, contain nutrients that provide anti-inflammatory flavonoids in addition to being rich in fiber. Bananas are rich in soluble fiber and contain a prebiotic compound that help promote healthy microbes in the bacterial community. Thanks to their seeds, blueberries are higher in fiber than most other fruit.

Fish

Regular fish intake not only can help stave off diabetes and obesity, it can also boost your gut bacteria and help you avoid certain gut issues. There is virtually no comparison between the amount of microbiota contained within fish and all other animals. Simply put: if you eat meat, make sure you have fish in your diet plan.

Nuts

While both raw and roasted almonds have been shown to increase gut bacteria growth, raw almonds have also been found to stimulate the bifidobacteria and eubacterium rectal bacteria, which promotes healthy colon cells. Chestnut extracts and flour appear to fortify probiotics, which enables them to survive in stomach acids, helping them on their way to the large intestine. Hazelnut skins have shown to have prebiotic potential.

Foods to Avoid

Junk and fast foods

Processed boxed goods, sugary treats, fast food, and potato chips slow down digestion, create stomach discomfort and often lead to constipation.

Refined sugars and artificial sweeteners

Research shows that artificial sweeteners such as saccharine, sucralose, and aspartame may alter gut bacteria in a way that can increase glucose intolerance. In addition to raising the risk of type 2 diabetes, zero-calorie sweetened drinks may also disrupt the microbes contained within our digestive system.

Foods that contain gluten

Those suffering from Celiac’s disease know that adapting a gluten-free diet in a necessity, but this lifestyle change can also benefit those with chronic inflammation. While it doesn’t lead to being symptom-free, cutting the gluten out of your life is just one step you can take to promote gut health.

Alcoholic beverages

Consuming alcohol on a regular basis has been shown to raise rates of alcohol-induced oxidative stress and dysbiosis, which leads to gastrointestinal tract inflammation and intestinal hyperpermeability, also known as leaky gut syndrome.

Dairy products

Many people go through life with a dairy sensitivity or allergy without being aware. Between being lactose intolerant, suffering from a dairy allergy, and having irritable bowel syndrome, there are many ways consuming dairy may be hindering your life. With so many dairy-free options available today, why not try cut it out of your diet to see if there’s any improvement?

Monosodium glutamate (MSG)

MSG helps promote the colonization of microbes related to energy extraction in gastrointestinal tract, which can lead to obesity and further health issues.

Deep-fried foods

Since many fried foods contain corn, soy, safflower oils, and hydrogenated fats, eating such foods can cause chronic inflammation when they are processed by the body.

While getting on track with a healthy diet is a sure-fire way to start feeling better, you’ll really feel the benefits if you change other aspects of the way you eat as well. Remember to chew thoroughly to ensure your food is digested properly, aim for smaller meals and snacks throughout the day, and drink plenty of water. Taking proper supplements are also an effective way to get your gut feeling like new again.

References:

Li F, Hullar M, Schwarz Y, et al. Human Gut Bacterial Communities Are Altered by Addition of Cruciferous Vegetables to a Controlled Fruit- and Vegetable-Free Diet. J Nutr.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2728691/

Hill D. 6 Fruits To Boost Gut Bacteria For A Healthier Digestive System. Lifehack. https://www.lifehack.org/489223/6-fruits-to-boost-gut-bacteria-for-a-healthier-digestive-system

Egerton S, Culloty S, Whooley J, et al. The Gut Microbiota of Marine Fish. Front Microbiol. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5946678/

Valdes A. For better gut bacteria, eat more oily fish. The Conversation. http://theconversation.com/for-better-gut-bacteria-eat-more-oily-fish-83513

Herr L. 3 Foods to Ditch for a Healthy Gut. EatingWell. http://www.eatingwell.com/article/290445/3-foods-to-ditch-for-a-healthy-gut/

How Alcohol Affects Gut Bacteria. Bio-K Plus Blog. https://www.biokplus.com/blog/en_US/gut-health/how-alcohol-affects-gut-bacteria_1

Feng ZM, Li TJ, Wu L, et al. Monosodium L-Glutamate and Dietary Fat Differently Modify the Composition of the Intestinal Microbiota in Growing Pigs. Obes Facts. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25791341


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