The gut is home to trillions of bacteria that not only help us digest our food but actually play a massive role in a number of things that have seemingly nothing to do with digestion, from impacting mood to boosting immunity. In fact, researchers have found that 70 percent of the immune system resides within the gut, which is formally known as the gastrointestinal (GI) system.
The bacteria and other microorganisms that reside in the gut make up your microbiome, and by feeding the microbiome a healthy, clean diet, you can strengthen your gut health and reap the benefits. Without further ado, here are four simple ways to improve your gut health.
Eat a variety of plants
When we eat a wide range of vegetables, fruits, and other plant-based foods, we give our microbiome a diverse range of good bacteria that promotes good gut health. It’s a good idea to follow the mantra “eat the rainbow,” as each color of food holds different phytonutrients and antioxidants that our microbiome will love.
Eat more prebiotic food
Prebiotics are fibers that aren’t digestible by your body but can help good bacteria grow in your gut. Since your body doesn’t digest these plant fibers, they travel to your lower digestive tract to be a food source for the healthy bacteria in your gut. Good examples of prebiotic foods include garlic, onions, bananas, apples, oats, lentils, and beans.
Stay away from refined sugar and artificial sweeteners
The problem with artificial sweeteners is that they can alter gut bacteria by inducing glucose intolerance, according to a study in the National Library of Medicine. Instead, opt for fruits if you want something sweet.
Eat more probiotic foods
Unlike prebiotics, probiotic foods are microorganisms naturally present in the digestive tract that aid in digestion and reduce inflammation. Probiotics are said to help prevent bad bacteria from spreading in our guts while boosting the good bacteria. Good examples of probiotic foods include kimchi, tempeh, kombucha, and miso.
Additional sources: National Library of Medicine – Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota