You are what you eat is an important saying to remember when you’re aiming to get healthier and feel better. Gut health is one of the pillars of overall body structure, and yet far too many people simply don’t consider it on a regular basis. You eat what you eat and your body then has to deal with the fallout.
Gut health deserves better, and so do you. When you properly care for your gut, you care for your body. The foods that can help reduce bloating and stop issues like indigestion can also help you lose weight and feel better every second of the day. Humans need so many different nutrients and vitamins in order to support themselves, but many just aren’t getting what their bodies need. By focusing on gut health, you can make significant strides toward a happier, healthier tomorrow.
Changing up your diet means more than eating foods you think are healthy. If you have a minor food intolerance, for example, even healthy food can be a bad choice. That’s why it’s important to use 2023 as the start of your journey to better gut health rather than blindly jumping into a new diet. You need to know what works and what doesn’t. You need to give your body time to adjust. It’s a long process, but taking the time to properly understand what foods cause bloating, what ones help you feel better, and understanding the why behind it all can help you lead a significantly happier life.
So, where do you start? Right here, with these tips:
The Importance of Gut Health
Gut health is a critically important aspect of overall wellness that is often overlooked. The gut is home to an ecosystem of bacteria and other microorganisms that play a vital role in our digestion, immunity, and even mental health. Unfortunately, modern lifestyles and diets have resulted in an imbalance in gut flora, leading to various health issues. By understanding the importance of gut health, we can take steps to maintain a healthy gut, which in turn can improve overall health and well-being.
- Proper Digestion: A healthy gut is a pro at digesting. This means you’ll get more bang for your buck out of everything that you eat since your digestive system is equipped with what it needs to extract more nutrients and vitamins. A more efficient digestive system also means you’re less likely to experience indigestion, abdominal pain, and gas.
- Immunity Booster: Your gut does a lot to protect you from illnesses and viruses. A healthy gut is more prepared to fight off issues as they come and is a key part of your immune system. Caring for your gut can mean getting sick less often and also experiencing fewer symptoms when you do get sick.
- Mental Booster: There’s a gut-brain connection that means a poor diet can impact your mental health. Eating healthier, and caring for your gut’s health, can therefore help reduce issues like stress or anxiety.
Start With The Ecosystem in Your Gut
A good place to get started is by understanding gut flora. The gut and digestive system is full of bacteria – but don’t worry, because it’s the good kind that are essential for healthy living.
Your gut and digestive system are alive with bacteria. Before you worry, know that not only are they supposed to be there, but they are the magic workers that make digestion possible. The microbiome in your gut is a delicate ecosystem, however, and processed foods and refined sugars can ruin that balance. That’s why probiotics can help.
Probiotics are live bacteria. You can ingest them either with supplements or by eating fermented foods. You’ve likely heard that yogurt is good for you. The reason why is that many types of yogurt contain probiotics.
Probiotics are living creatures, even if they’re far too small to be seen on anything short of a microscope. Just like any living being, they, too, need to eat. Prebiotics are the foods that probiotics eat to remain active and healthy. Changing up your diet so that you consume more garlic, onions, leeks, bananas, or whole grains is the simplest way to ingest more prebiotics.
Another option is to take digestive enzymes. An after-meal digestive enzyme works to better break down food in the gut, and then aid in the digestion process so that your body absorbs nutrients more effectively. This helps provide digestive discomfort relief and helps minimize gas and bloating caused by overeating. It’s a simple, effective way to help say goodbye to the aches and pains you can feel after a meal.
Taking Irritants Out
Not all foods, even if they are healthy, are going to be a friend to your gut. Many people have intolerances without realizing it, while some foods are just hard to eat, like those that are acidic.
Taking irritants out can help your digestive system calm down and do its job properly. Just a few of the common causes of digestive irritants include:
Some people are intolerant to lactose, a sugar found in dairy products, and this can lead to digestive issues like bloating, gas, and abdominal pain. If you have just a minor intolerance, you can switch to goat’s milk products instead since they contain a lower level of lactose. Otherwise, opting for vegan alternatives will be your best bet.
Caffeine can cause the lower esophageal sphincter to relax, leading to acid reflux and heartburn. Caffeine should always be limited if you’re experiencing other issues like heightened stress or anxiety.
Citrus fruits like lemons, limes, and oranges can cause heartburn in some people due to their high acid content. The same applies to tomatoes, which are a common cause of heartburn. If you love them, of course, taking an antacid is the fastest way to calm your stomach.
Fatty and Fried Foods
High-fat foods can slow down the digestive process, leading to bloating, gas, and abdominal pain. These foods are unhealthy and provide very little nutritional content, making them very hard on your body from start to finish.
Culinary Nutritionist, Contributor
I'm a food lover and wellness pusher. Love to cook super healthy and tasty food, I love to learn and find ways to nourish our body, mind, and soul. My goal is to inspire, through my recipes and stories, other families to a healthier lifestyle.