5 Foods to Support Your Friendly Bacteria
Did you know that in just 24 hours you can completely change and revive gut flora, just by changing what you eat?
You’ll be surprised to know that supporting the variety of microbes in your gastrointestinal system could significantly change your health for the better. Studies show that you can cultivate the right kinds of gut flora (or microbiota), by eating colorful, plant-based foods like the ones we mention below.
Besides helping you absorb nutrients and synthesize a variety of vitamins, the right kinds of gut bacteria can also help boost your immune system and regulate your metabolism. Those friendly gut bacteria deserve more credit for the key role they play in your health.
It is very important to create a diverse and healthy gut micro biome by eating a variety of foods that offer a wide range of benefits. Since 90 percent of our immune system exists in the gut, having healthy gut flora is often the answer to fewer sick days and feeling better year-round.
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Here are five of the best foods for a healthy gut:
1. Fermented Foods: Kimchi or sauerkraut? Take your pick! Fermented foods pack a punch of live microbes to crowd out the bad guys. Whether you make your own fermented foods or buy them at the store, you’ll benefit from the increased health of your intestinal cells, plus they also serve as a natural treatment for diarrhea.
2. Beans: While beans are notorious for their other, shall we say digestive contributions, legumes of any kind help feed the good guys in your gut. Packed with B vitamins and fiber, beans can help both your gut and brain, stay healthy. Legumes help release a specific kind of fatty acid that makes your intestinal cells stronger. Power up!
3. Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts and Kale: Together, these veggies form a group called cruciferous vegetables which are famous for containing gluconsinolates. That compound, once broken down by your gut microbes, reduces inflammation and can reduce the risk of various cancers by latching onto carcinogens in the colon and kicking them out. Looking for a delicious way to get all three at once? Check out this recipe.
4. Blueberries, pomegranates and goji berries: Beyond being exotic these three little gems all contain anthocyanins which give these berries their bright coloring. They also act as prebiotics by feeding the healthy microbes in your gut.
5. Bananas: Have you heard of the BRAT diet as a remedy for upset stomach? Bananas, the B in BRAT, work to reduce inflammation and provide the body with electrolytes like potassium. Think of them as the gut patrol that keep things running smoothly.
Carlene Thomas RD,LD is a registered dietitian nutritionist who specializes in weight loss and wellness. She provides nutrition guidance to the public in a variety of ways including corporate wellness, private clients and contributes an expert nutrition voice to a variety of media.