Our health should be our top priority, but sadly, we all tend to overlook our health and take it for granted. Especially our digestive health or gut health!
Our gut health has a direct impact on our overall health. The gut is also known as the digestive tract or the gastrointestinal tract. It refers to a group of organs, which includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, intestine, and rectum.
Importance of gut health
The gut is responsible for breaking down the foods we eat and absorbing nutrients essential for our body’s functions. Our gut microbiome affects the functioning of almost all the organs in our body. Bacteria living in the gut play a significant role in digestion, immunological function, and weight control. What we eat supports not only our health but also the gut microbiome in our digestive system.
The gut and brain connection
Eating a balanced and healthy diet makes us fit and influences our mental health. Our gut is directly related to our brain. The vagus nerve connects our gut and brain through the face and to the abdomen. This often means that what is going on in our brain can influence what is going on in our gut and vice versa. Therefore, what we eat is not only for our gut health but also for our brain.
Here are four vital things to improve Gut Health:
Loads of fibre in diet: Fibre is a crucial ingredient for a healthy gut microbiome. It is vital for helping our digestion and preventing constipation. Good gut health lowers the risk of conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and bowel cancer. One must increase one’s fibre intake; one can include green sources of fibre like berries, oats, chia seeds, lentils, and even dark chocolate.
Plants, plants, and more plants: It is not just fibre we need to eat; we also need plant-based foods. This is because plants contain thousands of phytonutrients, bioactive compounds that our gut microbes thrive on. To achieve optimal health, one must include great food across all the plant groups: vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices. The simplest way to improve gut health and resilience is to eat a more varied plant-loaded diet that supports more diverse microbiota in the gut. One must, therefore, try to have a serving of plant-based food in almost every meal.
Fermented foods: Another most crucial thing to have a good gut is adding fermented foods to our diet. Adding kimchi or kombucha to our diet can boost our gut health. This is because fermented foods are made by adding microorganisms such as yeast or bacteria to products, including vegetables, tea, or milk, which work wonders on the gut. They contain probiotics, which are highly beneficial for our gut health. Yogurts are a good choice to add to our daily diet to improve our gut health.
Mindful eating: It might sound strange, but having a healthy gut is not just about what we eat. Paying close attention to how we eat and what we experience can also help maintain a healthy gut. This is known as mindful eating. When we engage with all the sensations while eating and drinking, including sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste, the food we eat benefits our gut. Focusing on chewing, for example, has been shown to help with digestive symptoms such as bloating. One must sit at the table, minimize distractions while eating, and just enjoy the meal.
Improving our gut health can help us improve our health substantially. One must practice these four things to boost gut health. In case of any digestion-related issues, one must consult a gastroenterologist.