Bloating, pain, heartburn, just a few signs of bacteria out of balance. Learn how to increase your health by improving the microbiome of your gut in just 7 easy steps.
The bacteria that reside within us are responsible for a variety of our health. We need to have a balance of “good bacteria” and “bad bacteria” to oversimplify it. A microbiome in balance helps to digest our food, increase immune response, lowers heart disease risk, brain health and so much more.
So you understand the importance of keeping your bacteria balance in check but you may be wondering HOW. I have 7 helpful tips listed below to get started.
1. Fermented Foods
Get friendly with Korean food because they have figured out the tastiest way to eat their gut loving fermented food, Kimchi. Maybe kimchi isn’t your thing but there are so many other fermented foods to try:
sauerkraut, slow pickled vegetables, tempeh and miso.
Fermented foods increase the numbers of “good bacteria” in your gut to help crowd out the bad guys. You can start by enjoying just a single serving of your favorite each day.
2. Increase your Fiber
Remember this, fiber is your friend. The importance of fiber is closely tied with your gut microbiome. Fiber not only increases the amount of “good bacteria”, it increases the variety of bacteria.
Aim for at least 30 grams of fiber a day. But just a heads up if you aren’t used to eating a diet rich in fiber the side effects can be some mild discomfort such as gas and bloating. To ease this, slowly increase your daily fiber intake.
3. Whole Grains
Yes, we just mentioned fiber but to make it more specific let’s talk about those insoluble fibers. Luckily these can be found in my favorite food group, carbohydrates.
I don’t mean sugar, white flour, white pasta, or any other junk food. I am talking about potatoes, oats, brown rice, whole wheat and any other food with complex carbohydrates.
The insoluble fibers found in these foods work as a prebiotic or a food for the probiotics that are in your system. We hear so much about probiotics and introducing more through dietary sources but let’s not forget that they need food to survive in us as well.
On the subject of probiotics you can increase your gut bacteria by eating them directly. Many people take probiotic supplements and there is a large variety to choose from on the market.
If you are looking for a better way to take your probiotic pill each day then try some homemade coconut yogurt. As easy as 2 ingredients and three steps, in as short as a couple days you will have your own plant based yogurt.
I like this Coconut Yogurt Recipe from Minimalist Baker https://minimalistbaker.com/easy-2-ingredient-coconut-yogurt/
5. Artificial Sweeteners
Everything on the list so far has been about adding good things to your diet. You should also consider the foods in your diet that you can remove to improve gut health.
Found in diet soda, baked goods, packaged sauces, canned foods, candy, jams and jellies. This sneaky ingredient makes its way into more than you imagined.
Artificial sweetener consumption has been found to cause gut problems. Try making the swap to better sweet sources such as honey, agave and maple syrup. Eating whole foods will also help eliminate consumption of artificial sweeteners found in packaged products.
Wine lovers can celebrate this one. The compounds found in some fruits and vegetables called polyphenols can help to treat digestive issues. They have a prebiotic like effect enhancing the growth of “good bacteria” while inhibiting the “bad bacteria”.
Tea, dark chocolate and red wine are the most popular sources of polyphenols. The list of foods that contain high levels of the nutrient includes most fruits and vegetables, spices, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds.
7. Plant Based Diet
Want to improve your gut health? A plant based diet is the easiest answer. Eating a whole foods plant based diet helps incorporate all these tips into one solution.
You will be eating fiber rich foods high in polyphenols and getting your gut microbiome back in check effortlessly. Plus it is delicious way to have an overall healthy diet.
For more information on how to start a plant based diet check out our services https://macaroniandpeas.com/services/