When we hear gut health, we might simply associate it with eating foods that won't lead to digestive issues. But gut health is more than just about avoiding acidity, constipation and bloating. It plays a key role in your overall well-being. Apart from digesting your food, your gut also helps regulate hormones and influences other bodily functions. Poor gut health has been linked to conditions including obesity, kidney problems, heart disease, anxiety and more. No need to be alarmed! It is first important to understand the basics of gut health. For that, you need to know about the role of gut bacteria. We often consider bacteria to be something naturally harmful, but these microorganisms are of different types. Know more below.
What Is Gut Bacteria and Why Is It Important?
Innumerable kinds of bacteria are present in your body. Along with viruses and fungi, they form the microbiome. The gut microbiome refers to those which are found along your digestive tract/ intestines. Now, some of these bacteria are indeed harmful, but there are others which help support your body. Hence, it becomes essential to maintain a balance between the two and support the growth of good bacteria rather than bad. It is also considered healthy for there to be diversity in your gut bacteria, and your diet can help in this regard. Gut bacteria aid in the digestion of fibre, and may also impact your immune system, heart health, brain health, blood sugar levels and weight.
Here Are 5 Diet Tips Given By A Nutritionist To Help Improve Gut Bacteria:
1. Choose High-Fibre Foods
According to Lovneet Batra, "Fibre promotes the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, including specific types such as Bifidobacterium." Many fruits, veggies and legumes are rich in fibre. They help keep you filled for longer and can also help promote regular bowel movements. Note that eating fruits and veggies tends to give you more fibre than drinking their juices. Wondering what to start with? Check out this list of common Indian foods that are great sources of fibre. Also, here are a few high-fibre veggies you can add to your diet.
Also Read: 7 Common Indian Foods That Are Rich In Fibre
2. Fermentation Can Help
"Fermented foods are those produced or transformed with the help of microorganisms, such as bacteria and yeast. Fermented foods act as a natural probiotic supplement, populating the gut with beneficial microbes when we consume them," says the nutritionist. She specifically mentions items such as kanji, buttermilk, yoghurt, kefir, kombucha, idli, and dhokla.
3. Add Prebiotic Foods To Your Diet
Lovneet explains, "Prebiotics are foods that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. Prebiotics are found in foods such as apples, artichokes, bananas, barley, oats, chia and flax seeds, garlic and onions, roots vegetables, beans and legumes." On the other hand, probiotics are beneficial bacteria found in certain foods that help in nutrient absorption. They are also said to support skin health, weight loss and immunity. Know more about it here.
4. A Diverse Diet Is Key
According to the nutritionist, "Eating a diverse diet rich in whole foods can lead to a diverse microbiome, which is beneficial for your health." As mentioned earlier, a diverse microbiome is said to be important for gut health and can also provide you with other benefits.
5. Avoid Processed And Sugar-Loaded Foods
"Refined sugar can upset the gut microbiota. A diet high in processed foods and added sugars can decrease the number of good bacteria in your gut and feed the bad ones," says Lovneet. Moreover, such a diet can cause issues such as heartburn, acidity, bloating and others. They may damage the lining of your digestive tract and lead to further problems.
Apart from diet, the nutritionist also recommends "exercising, getting enough sleep, and managing stress," as they "can all have a positive impact on your gut microbes."
Keep these tips in mind to enhance your gut health and your body will thank you!
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.
About Toshita SahniToshita is fuelled by wordplay, wanderlust, wonderment and Alliteration. When she is not blissfully contemplating her next meal, she enjoys reading novels and roaming around the city.