There’s a reason why you’ve been hearing more and more about the importance of gut health. It’s because, well, gut health is important! A growing body of research supports the variety of positive health benefits you enjoy when you keep your gut in tip top shape, including enhanced immune function, improved absorption of nutrients and reduced bloating.
What makes your gut healthy?
Gut health is about nurturing the intestinal bacteria or flora that are naturally present in your gut – also known as the microbiome. How do you do that? Making good food choices is essential – but it’s slightly more nuanced than salads and green smoothies. Here are the basics of achieving and maintaining a healthy gut:
ACHIEVE A HEALTHY GUT
Give your diet a foundation of nutrient-dense, minimally processed foods. Striving for a well-balanced diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean proteins is a great place to start. It’s no coincidence that diets associated with heart health, healthy weight maintenance and lower risk of many chronic conditions are also solid springboards to gut health. In general, these foods naturally contain many of the nutrients that are good for your gut.
Choose specific foods and nutrients that have been directly associated with gut health. Particular foods and nutrients have been shown to have particularly positive impacts.1Try to include some of these in your daily diet:
- Fiber from whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables. Go for the whole fruits and veggies here because juicing them removes most of their gut-friendly fiber. Smoothies maintain the fibrous goodness from fruits and veggies – add some chia seeds or bran to your next one for an extra fiber boost.
- Prebiotics, which are carbohydrate compounds in foods that promote the growth of good bacteria in the gut. You can get prebiotics from a range of fruits, veggies and other foods. Bananas, honey, onions and leeks are a few examples.
- Probiotics are live bacteria that flourish when they enter the gut and support other healthy bacteria in your microbiome. Many think of yogurt as the go-to food for probiotics, and indeed, cultured foods like yogurt and kefir are good sources. Other delicious fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi provide probiotics too.
MAINTAIN A HEALTHY GUT
To maintain any healthy practice, it’s key to include it in foods and activities you enjoy. Because we’re only human! Forcing unpleasant choices day in and day out is nearly impossible.
Love Pre? Us too. And we also love eating for gut health! That’s why we created these delicious meals and snacks with grass fed and finished Pre beef and gut-friendly food boosts – dishes that will make your gut just as happy as your taste buds:
Try them out, and let us know what you think!
Sollid, Kris, RD. Eat this for: Optimal Gut Health [INFOGRAPHIC]. International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation website. Updated Oct 2017. https://www.foodinsight.org/eat-this-for-gut-health-fiber-prebiotics-probiotics