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“Good health begins in the gut and plays a key role in natural immunity”- Rick Rockhill
In the past couple of decades, there have been multiple studies that show an undeniable link between gut health and the immune system. Our digestive system is an essential part of our body, which affects our health, mood, anxiety, hunger, and various other functions. Only a healthy and proper functioning digestive system or gut can perform all these functions correctly. Our body has 40-100 trillion bacteria and microorganisms. It means that there are almost 100 billion bacteria in every gram of your intestinal content. These microorganisms can weigh around 2 kilograms (4 lbs.).
There are good bacteria and harmful bacteria. The balance between both good and bad bacteria and this balance refers to gut health. The type of food you eat directly affects the type of bacteria in your gut. There must be a diversity of bacteria in your body, which is only possible by eating a variety of foods. To ensure a healthy digestive system, we need to eat functional foods which promote the good microbes in our digestive tract. These good microorganisms are responsible for our mental and physical health, as well as our immune system.
In today’s fast-paced life, we regularly eat processed and high-sugar foods. These foods can damage our gut health and affect good microbiota in our bodies. Different symptoms tell you that you have gut health. You can face the issue of upset stomach, unintentional weight changes, constant fatigue, disturbed sleep patterns, food intolerance, autoimmune diseases, and skin diseases such as eczema.
To ensure a proper functioning digestive system, we need to eat a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, meats, legumes, beans, pulses, dairy items, and whole grains. We need to take a balanced diet comprising of equal amounts of all essential nutrients. The only right type of foods is natural and organic foods. In addition to eating organic food, we should stay away from junk food containing high amounts of fats, carbohydrates, bad cholesterols, and sugar. But unfortunately, our diet comprises mostly of sugars and fats. This is why the majority of people are facing stomach and digestive problems. The secret to the health of villagers and rural people is that their food is rich in different plant and animal sources. Diversity in food is the only thing that results in diverse microbes that are beneficial for health.
There are two types of foods that promote gut health. Prebiotic foods are those foods that boost and encourage the bacteria that are already existing in our gut. It helps in developing a diverse community of these microbes. It includes a diet with complex carbs such as whole grains and vegetables. On the other hand, probiotics are foods that contain live bacteria that we eat. These include cheese, yogurt, and fermented foods. In simple words, prebiotics promotes the growth of already existing bacteria, which probiotics contain bacteria themselves. Many foods are rich in probiotics.
Yogurt is the most common and excellent source of probiotics that contains a high amount of gut-friendly bacteria. You should eat sugar-free, understandable, and natural yogurt every day in your breakfast. Yogurt drinks are even better and provide a higher amount of these bacteria. In addition to yogurt, you can also eat other fermented foods such as kefir, kimchi, Sauerkraut, and sourdough.
Leafy green vegetables such as kale, spinach, and cabbages are also an excellent source of fibres, vitamins, folate, and other minerals. According to a study, leafy greens contain a particular type of sugar, which boosts the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut. Other foods include almonds, olive oil, garlic, bananas, peas, etc. Almonds are good prebiotics that contains a high amount of fibre, fatty acids, and polyphenols. Olive oil is also rich in polyphenols and fatty acids, which reduce the gut inflammation as well as eases the indigestion problems. Bananas also contain fibre which acts as fuel for the good bacteria.
The good gut bacteria need a high amount of fibre to flourish and grow. The primary and most crucial component of your food should be foods that are rich in grains. Fibre is a kind of carbohydrate that improves digestion as well as other body functions. It provides constipation and regularizes our bowel movement. Therefore, you must eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains that are a rich source of fibre.
Our body needs 20-25 grams of fibres every day, as per the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Several foods are rich in fibres which you can eat. It includes broccoli, artichoke, raspberries, chickpeas, lentils, beans, and whole grains. But it is not humanly possible to eat fibre-rich foods in bulk because we need these foods in large amounts to meet our daily fibre requirements.
This problem can easily be solved by taking high fibre supplements. Probiotic supplements are a great source of getting all the required ingredients. There are plenty of over-the-counter (OTC) supplements available in the market. The market of dietary supplements has grown into a multi-billion dollar market. Probiotic supplements are becoming widely popular among people due to increasing awareness. These supplements reach the intestines where they are entirely absorbed by the good bacteria. They change the overall composition of microbiota in your gut and also supports metabolism.
You can quickly get these dietary supplements from any drugstore. But the majority of these supplements are sold by substandard companies that use chemicals instead of natural and organic sources. They use different preservatives, colours, sweeteners, and artificial flavours. Therefore, you should always buy your supplements from authentic and ethical brands that use 100% organic and natural ingredients. Right supplements are made with rich organic herbs and whole foods. They are free of any pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, and harmful chemicals.
Right dietary supplements are vital for the overall health of your body. But before using any nutritional supplements, always consult with your physician or healthcare professional, especially if you are pregnant or taking any medication.