Your gut is home to trillions of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and yeast, that support basic body functions. These microorganisms support digestion, metabolism, and immunity. They make vitamins, enzymes, hormones, and antimicrobial substances and assist in the development of your intestinal lining and immune system.
Not all of the microorganisms in your gut are good. A healthy gut has the right balance of good and bad microorganisms. An unhealthy gut may put you at risk of developing chronic health problems like diabetes, obesity, or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
At Candid Apple: Nutrition and Functional Medicine, Kerri Rachelle, RDN, LDN, CSSD, and our team of registered dietitian nutritionists understand the connection between gut health and overall health. We use diagnostic labs, nutrition, and functional medicine to help people all over the United States improve their gut health.
Here, we want to share some ways you can improve gut health naturally by making a few changes to your diet.
Have you ever heard the saying: Eat a rainbow? This saying encourages you to eat a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables to improve nutrient intake. Each color provides different nutrients and health benefits.
Red tomatoes are rich in lycopene, orange carrots provide beta-carotene, and purple grapes contain anthocyanins. These nutrients promote heart health, support immune function, and protect against oxidative damage.
Pro-gut foods are probiotics that contain the good microorganisms your gut needs. Fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, kimchi, and kombucha are probiotic foods that can improve the balance of microbes in your gut, benefiting your health.
The good microorganisms in your gut need to eat, too. Feed them the things they love — prebiotics. Prebiotics are the nondigestible carbohydrates in foods like asparagus, leeks, bananas, and beans.
Fiber is the broom that sweeps away waste and toxins in your gut, eliminating them in your stool. Make sure you’re getting an adequate amount of fiber to keep things moving.
Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds are all good sources of fiber and other pro-gut nutrients. Aim to get about 25 to 30 grams of fiber from food every day.
We know how easy it is to get into a food rut. Eating the same things for breakfast, lunch, and dinner day in and day out. But for your gut’s sake, try to mix it up a bit. Eating a variety of whole foods is the best way to make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you and your gut need to stay healthy.
Polyphenols are a type of plant chemical found in berries, apples, red onions, cocoa, and tea. Polyphenols help balance the microbes in your gut by nourishing the good bacteria and eliminating the bad bacteria.
Water is an essential nutrient. It supports digestion by helping move food through at a steady and healthy pace. Drinking an adequate amount of water improves bowel function and bowel health by reducing the amount of time waste and toxins sitting in your gut.
Highly processed foods aren’t going to give your gut the nutrients it needs to thrive. Limiting your intake of foods high in refined carbs, added sugar, and additives benefits your gut and your health.
Making a few changes to your diet can improve gut health. If you’re looking for a more personalized approach, we can help. We can get to the root cause of your symptoms and create a plan just for you.