Why is Gut Health So Important?

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Why is Gut Health So Important?

Gut health has become an increasingly popular topic among the health conscious, and in medical research. We already know that the millions of “helpful” bacteria, living within your intestinal tract, contribute to proper digestion. But more and more research is uncovering links between gut health and conditions such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes, mood disorders, heart disease, developmental disorders like autism, and asthma.

Most relevant to our work, and this blog, is the potential link to obesity. For that reason, balancing your gut health might be helpful to your overall weight loss plan (and at the very least, could help prevent those other conditions listed above).

We’re not yet at the point that we can identify whether you need to boost more of a certain gut bacteria, or reduce the numbers of another. But we do know that a balanced diet, rich in probiotic and prebiotic foods, will support your overall gut health.

Probiotics. You can actually obtain these via a supplement, but food sources might offer better diversity. Include these foods in your diet (they’re healthy in other ways, too):

  • yogurt (avoid excess sugar)
  • sauerkraut (fresh, not canned)
  • kombucha
  • kefir
  • kimchi
  • miso
  • tempeh
  • fermented grains
  • fermented pickles (these are different from the vinegar-based kind)

Prebiotics. In order to flourish within your intestines, and do their helpful work, those probiotic bacteria need to eat, too! Prebiotics are fiber-rich plant foods that help probiotics thrive. Some good examples of prebiotic foods include:

  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Apples
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Garlic
  • Leeks
  • Onions
  • Shallots
  • Oats
  • Bananas

Remember, the above are just examples. Any fiber-rich plant food will boost your gut health. If you can eat them raw, and avoid peeling them, you’ll be doing even better.

What are signs of improving gut health? You might notice that your mood is improved, your immune system seems to function better, and yes, your weight loss plan might be more effective. In the future, you might enjoy knowing that you worked to prevent serious, chronic diseases.

For more information on balancing your gut, or to get started on a weight loss plan, give us a call. We can answer all of your questions on nutrition, and help you decide how to change your diet for the better.