Summer is here! Needless to say that your calendars are filled with fun summer activities. And to enjoy them to their fullest, you must be at your best. Being at your best means being able to maintain your energy levels and feeling great all summer, and it all starts in the gut. A healthy gut microbiome - the community of microorganisms living in your digestive system - is of utmost importance to your health. These sets of healthy bacteria are essential for a healthy metabolism, energy levels, digestion and much more. However, they can also be potentially harmful due to the change in their composition when the gut ecosystem undergoes abnormal changes due to the use of antibiotics, illness, stress, ageing, bad dietary habits, and lifestyle.
Check out the list of foods that you must feed these bacteria to optimise your health during summers.
Summers are all about fruits and fruits that are high in fibre serve as the easiest way to maintain a favourable pH balance in the colon. The colon must be slightly acidic to support good bacteria and to prevent harmful bacteria from thriving. The pH value of the colon should range from 6.7 to 6.9 for good gut health. Fruits like pears, raspberries, apples, kiwis and blueberries are all rich in fibre and hence are the best foods to eat for a healthy gut during scorching sunny days.
The skin of pears is particularly beneficial as it has three to four times as many phytonutrients as the flesh while the fibrous kiwi binds with toxins in the colon and removes them, thus reducing the risk of colon cancer. Kiwis are low in fat but rich in nutrients. Blueberries are a major source of prebiotics like bifidobacteria which improve gut health.
Mushrooms are edible fungi that have numerous prebiotic components like alpha and beta-glucans, chitin, mannans,, xylans and hemicellulose. Mushrooms act as prebiotics, thus feeding the beneficial gut microbes. They further create nutrients like vitamin K and SCFA (short-chain fatty acids) that help repair the cells of the intestinal walls.
Various researchers from Hong Kong conducted a study which revealed that mushrooms can contribute to building our immunity against tumours, and pneumonia. Even simple white button mushrooms are known to increase microbial diversity and change the composition of the gut flora while stimulating local inflammatory responses. Not to miss out on the anti-cancer, anti-allergy and cholesterol-lowering attributes of mushrooms.
3. Green bananas:
Green bananas are very high in resistant starch. A medium-sized green banana has as much as 38 g of resistant starch. Not only are they an excellent source of soluble fibre, but also keep your stomach full during summers while keeping your gut microbiome healthy and well-composed.
Unhealthy gut can lead to several health issues.
4. Chia seeds:
Chia seeds contain several elements that are a part of a well-balanced plant-rich diet. Chia seeds are known to aid weight loss, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, improve digestion, and much more. Add soaked chia seeds to your everyday diet by making summer coolers and healthy drinks for a boost of nutrients.
5. Fermented foods like yoghurt:
Fermented foods like plain yoghurt, Greek yoghurt, raw sauerkraut and kefir are high in probiotics. Probiotics are live microbes that promote a healthy balance of good bacteria. Their intake has been linked to a wide range of health benefits. Hence, such foods are some of the best foods for the gut during summers.
Ghee has a sweet taste and is cool in nature which makes it perfect for the summer season. Eating ghee keeps the mind and the body cool. This is because ghee has anti-inflammatory properties which help in reducing inflammation and keep the body cool.
7. Onion and garlic - Well, these two are the most flavorful ingredients to add to your summer shopping list if they aren't already there. They not only make every dish pop with flavour but are also high in prebiotics.
The prebiotics in both these food items promote the growth of good bacteria in your gut and prevent disease-promoting bacteria from spreading into your digestive system. Onions are rich in fibre and can promote better digestion while garlic can help eliminate any digestive problems such as dysentery, colitis, and diarrhea.
In a nutshell, you are what you eat. So, it is vital that you must eat what serves the best support to your diverse gut microbiota. If you are feeding your gut with processed and unhealthy foods - you are directly feeding bad bacteria, hence inviting them to wreak havoc in your gut and body. If you eat nutritional foods rich in prebiotics, probiotics, vitamins, and minerals, you're strengthening your body to live a healthy life.
About the author: Dr. Surendra K Chikara is the Founder & CEO of Bione. Bione is Asia's first DNA and Microbiome testing company based out of Bangalore established in 2019. Bione is led by Dr. Surendra K. Chikara, a world-renowned scientist with over 20 years of expertise in the field of genomics, the branch of molecular biology that deals with genetic study and mapping.
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