Gut health matters with various foods that improve gut health
A healthy microbiome is a much overlooked essential for a healthy life. The microbiome is a complex and diverse community of microorganisms that live in and on our bodies, mainly in the gut. It plays an important role in many aspects of our health, including immunity, digestion, metabolism, and even our mental health.
Having a healthy gut microbiome has been linked to numerous health benefits such as improved digestion, better immune function, reduced inflammation, and improved mental health. The microbiome is sometimes referred to as the “second brain” because there is a communication system in the body that links the central nervous system with the intestines called the gut-brain axis (GBA). Dysbiosis is an imbalance in the microbial community that is associated with disease (such as inflammatory bowel diseases and even obesity). An imbalance of certain species of bacteria in the gut microbiome may also affect weight gain in that it can impact nutrient metabolism and energy expenditure. Much is still unknown and research is still being conducted on complexities and effect of the composition of the over 100 trillion bacteria that live in our digestive systems.
Common disruptors to a healthy microbiome are artificial sweeteners, chronic stress, antibiotics, and a diet of primarily highly processed, low fiber, high fat and high sugar foods. There are ways to improve your gut microbiome through diet such as eating more fiber-rich foods like fruits and vegetables and avoiding processed foods.
Some examples of foods that will help improve the microbial community influencing the cognitive and emotional interactions with your brain are: (sweets:) dark chocolate, honey, yogurt, apples, pears, (vegetables:) onions, spinach, broccoli, artichokes, (others:) garlic, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, green tea and fermented foods like sauerkraut, pickles, kombucha and kimchi. Proper sleep, the recommended amount of exercise, and stress relief/reduction techniques have also been shown to improve the balance of the microbiome as well.
The microbiome, or collection of microscopic microbes that live in all of us, contribute to our wellness in a big way!