Easy To Follow Gut-Healthy Diet Plan
Why Gut Health Matters
Did you know that there are billions of tiny organisms living inside you?
It might sound crazy, but it's true! You've got a little ecosystem inside of your body called your gut microbiome. Full of bacteria, your gut plays an integral role in regulating your immune system, your skin, your moods, your digestion, and more.
The connection between your gut, your body, and your mind is a subject that continues to be intensely researched. While we don't know everything there is to know about the role that your gut plays in your overall health, we do know this – your gut health may have a significant impact on the functioning of the rest of you.
Below are just a few of the ways that your gut microbiome may impact your body as a whole.
- Immune Health: A thriving gut microbiome has been linked to a more functional immune system. Amazingly, a large portion of your body's immune system resides within your gut. If you want to take the best possible care of your body, caring for your gut is absolutely essential!
- Skin Health: Research continues to show that your gut health may have an impact on your skin. Caring for your gut through a healthy, probiotic-rich diet can help you support your skin.
- Mood Regulation: As is the case with your immune system, a large portion of your body's serotonin receptors are found within your gut. Serotonin is the hormone that plays the biggest role in stabilizing your mood and allowing you to feel happy and content. When your gut health is off-balance, the bad bacteria growing within your microbiome may negatively impact your body's ability to produce serotonin.
Follow These Simple Steps To Support Gut Health
Now that you know why gut health matters, it's time to find out how to care for your gut microbiome with the foods you eat and the supplements you take.
Nutrition and supplements may have a major impact on gut health. Healthy, whole, nutrient-dense foods, the sorts that a plant-based diet should revolve around, are a great way to support your gut.
In this post, we'll cover some of the helpful steps you can take to support gut health – adjusting your diet and supplement regimen to give your gut the nutrients that it may need. Through making simple, practical changes, you may support your gut microbiome, immune system, skin, and mood.
Include Probiotic Foods In Your Diet
When you think about a gut-healthy diet, you might be picturing fermented drinks like kefir and kombucha or foods that contain live cultures like sauerkraut and kimchi. If so, you're on to something – these foods and drinks are full of beneficial bacteria, and they're good for your gut!
Probiotic foods and drinks can help to promote gut health by introducing good bacteria into your gut microbiome.
Below are a few of the best probiotic foods and drinks to include in your diet. Bear in mind that some of these foods are plant-based and some are not. If you're sticking to a 100% vegan diet, make sure to stick with the dairy-free items on this list!
- Yogurt: A fermented dairy product, yogurt is made from milk that is introduced to live cultures from lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria. While yogurt is not a vegan food, it has probiotics and can still be eaten on a vegetarian diet. If you do choose to eat yogurt as a source of probiotics, stick with yogurt that has minimal added sugar!
- Kefir: Another fermented form of dairy, kefir is made by introducing lactic acid bacteria, the same form of bacteria used to ferment yogurt, into milk. The result is a probiotic-rich drink that can fit into a vegetarian, but not a vegan, diet. Research suggests that kefir may be higher in probiotics than yogurt. However, the fermented milk drink is far less popular than its creamier counterpart.
- Kombucha: One of the most popular fermented drinks on the market, kombucha has live cultures and tastes delicious. Be warned, though – many brands of store-bought kombucha contain lots of added sugar. Stick with kombucha that is minimally sweetened whenever possible.
- Pickles: Made by fermenting cucumbers and soaking them in brine, pickles are yummy, crunchy, salty, and full of beneficial bacteria. However, many of the pickles that you'll find on grocery store shelves are made with vinegar and are not fermented. Make sure to opt for homemade pickles or a brand that contains probiotics to reap the benefits of these tasty fermented cucumbers.
- Kimchi and Sauerkraut: Two different forms of fermented cabbage, both kimchi and sauerkraut, may add a healthy serving of probiotics to your diet. Sauerkraut may be more readily available at grocery stores in the United States than kimchi, which is a traditional Korean food. However, you can still find kimchi at a local health food store or Asian market in many cases – you just need to know where to look!
Prebiotic Foods May Be Beneficial For Gut Health
In addition to probiotic foods, prebiotic foods may also be essential components in a gut-healthy diet. Prebiotic foods don't contain live bacteria, but they are full of nutrients that your gut microbiome needs to stay healthy and thrive. Below are a few prebiotic foods that are right at home in a plant-based diet.
- Legumes: Beans, peas, lentils, and other legumes are all sources of fiber. Your gut needs fiber to continue cultivating beneficial bacteria, and legumes provide you with plant-based protein alongside their fiber content.
- Unripe Bananas: Greenish bananas contain resistant starch, which has prebiotic effects within your gut microbiome. Ripe bananas still contain fiber, which is also beneficial for your gut.
- Asparagus: This green, slender vegetable contains fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
- Oats: The perfect base for a plant-based breakfast, oats contain fiber, protein, and several important vitamins and minerals.
What Foods Should I Avoid To Support Gut Health?
There are two categories of foods that you'll want to keep to a minimum if you are trying to support your gut health – processed foods and added sugar. Lots of junk food and sugar can harm your gut microbiome over time.
Research has shown that the standard American diet (SAD for short), with its high levels of processed junk food and sugar, is not good for gut health. Eating food that is high in refined sugar and low in nutrients may leave your gut without the nourishment that it needs to keep producing good bacteria.
Likewise, studies of the impact of sugar on the gut have shown that too much of it can dramatically alter your microbiome. When your gut doesn't get enough nutrients from high-quality food, your immune system, skin, mood health, and digestion may all suffer.
To avoid bad bacteria from running wild in your gut, minimize added sugar and junk food intake. Instead, focus on getting plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and other nutrient-dense, plant-based foods on your plate each day.
What About Probiotic Supplements?
Taking probiotic supplements may play an essential role in supporting gut health. While probiotic and prebiotic foods can be highly beneficial, it can be challenging to get enough of these foods each day. Taking a high-quality probiotic supplement may help to compensate for any lack of probiotics in your diet.
MaryRuth's probiotic supplements come in either liquid probiotic or probiotic capsule form, and we have probiotics for you, your children and infants, and even your pets! Our Complete Gut Health+ capsules are also unlike other supplements, as they are a pre-, pro-, and postbiotic all in one! They may just be the perfect addition to you and your family’s gut-healthy diet plan!