From a study conducted, it was revealed that 56% of Indian families suffer from some kind of problem in the digestive system. Most of the time, it so happens that we ignore our gut health until we start to face some type of problem. From constipation, diarrhea, gallstones, irritable bowel syndrome to gastrointestinal cancer, negligence of digestive health can lead to severe health problems. Don’t wait for something to happen and start taking measures to improve your system for your overall well–being.
What is gut health and why does it matter?
Our body has trillions of microorganisms living inside and on our skin. Most of these microorganisms are found in the gut and are called gut micro biomes. They consist of bacteria, parasites, viruses, etc., but bacteria are the most studied. There are two types of bacteria: beneficial ones and harmful ones. When there is a balance between the two, you have a healthy gut. When the balance between the two is disturbed, it can lead to various problems.
Your gut is the foundation for the perfect functioning of the body. Its primary function is to break down nutrients in food into simple substances that can be absorbed by the body to fuel the functioning. It also plays an important part in removing toxins from our bodies. An unhealthy gut cannot efficiently digest food or remove toxins, leading to various problems, chronic illness, and inflammation.
Lifestyle choices and food habits have the most impact on an individual’s gut health. Here are some foods you should add to your diet and foods you should avoid for
Best foods for gut health
Fruits and vegetables: – These foods are rich in fiber. Eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables nourishes the body with different fibers and boosts good bacteria that feed on it. This can prevent the growth of bacteria that cause diseases. Eating many fruits and vegetables can help increase a particular type of bacteria that can prevent inflammation in the intestine.
Yogurt: – It consists of probiotics that are essential for a healthy gut micro biome. It is also rich in lactobacilli, which is very beneficial for health and maintains the balance of bacteria in the gut. This can also help in boosting the count of beneficial bacteria. While choosing to buy yogurts in a store, make sure to avoid flavored and sweetened yogurts.
Nuts: – They are rich in healthy fatty acids. Fatty acids help to keep the bacteria in the gut healthy. Try to incorporate almonds, chia seeds, cashews, etc., in your diet.
Worst foods for gut health
Red meat: – A compound found in red meat called carnitine affects the bacteria in a way that leads to the production of a substance TMAO. High levels of this substance are associated with an increased risk of heart attacks. Studies also suggest that a high intake of red meat can increase the risk of inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer. Limit your serving of red meat to one or two servings per week.
Alcohol: – Research found that drinking too much alcohol causes inflammation in the intestine, a sign of an unhealthy gut. This can throw off the balance of the bacteria in the gut. Too much alcohol also causes gastritis.
Processed food: – Refined and processed food contains artificial flavors, sweeteners, and coloring, which may negatively impact gut bacteria. Moreover, these foods are low in fibers which are essential for the growth of bacteria.