We often hear about how bacteria are bad for our health, but the truth is not all kinds of bacteria are. Good bacteria are essential for the health of the human body, and some reside in our gastrointestinal tract. Yes, gut bacteria are responsible for many essential bodily functions, such as the harvesting, digestion and utilisation of nutrients.
Due to the significant role gut bacteria play in the digestion and absorption of nutrients, it’s important to know how to improve gut health. And one way you can do so is through your diet. Now, eating a diverse range of food is essential for a healthy and diverse gut microbiome. And some foods, in particular, can have positive effects on gut health.
Fruits and Vegetables
Parents and nutritionists cannot stress enough the importance of including a variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet. And that is partly because they are some of the best sources of nutrients for a healthy gut.
In particular, fruits and vegetables high in fibre are great for stimulating gut bacteria growth. Legumes and beans are also excellent sources of fibre.
Since whole grains contain nondigestible carbs and fibre that the small intestine cannot absorb, they instead find their way to the large intestine. There, they can promote gut bacteria growth. Some examples of whole grains include oats, brown rice, and popcorn.
Prebiotics are special plant fibres that help make the digestive system work better. This is because prebiotics help promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria.
Like the other foods listed in this article, prebiotics contain a high amount of fibre and complex carbs. Since the gut bacteria break down the fibres and carbs in prebiotics, prebiotics can help stimulate gut bacteria growth. Prebiotics is found in many fruits and vegetables, such as apples, bananas, berries, asparagus and artichokes.
In simple terms, fermentation is a process in which a substance is broken down into smaller or simpler substances. Bacteria, yeast, and other microorganisms are usually involved in this chemical breakdown.
In food, fermentation often involves the conversion of a carbohydrate, such as sugar or starch, into an acid or alcohol. But fermentation can also occur in our very own digestive system.
Many foods we enjoy today are actually a result of fermentation. Alcoholic beverages are the ones most associated with the process of fermentation. However, since not everyone can consume alcohol and it’s not exactly that good for you, it’s best to seek other types of fermented foods.
In terms of beverages, there’s cultured milk, cider and kombucha. Other fermented foods good for gut health also include yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi. You can also try creating your own naturally fermented foods by pickling some vegetables. Just make sure you use live organisms and not just vinegar, like regular pickles.
Healthy gut bacteria are important for the digestion and absorption of nutrients. To stimulate the growth of gut bacteria, it’s best to eat a diverse range of foods and lots of fruits and vegetables. Look for foods that contain prebiotics and high levels of fibre. Whole grains and fermented foods can also promote the growth of gut bacteria.
Improve your gut health with the help of Unichem Greenhithe Pharmacy. We are a health and wellness clinic in New Zealand that offers a range of treatments and options for you to achieve the best health solutions. Our pharmacists completed training at the Australian College of Nutritional and Environmental medicine, so we truly understand medicine. Book an appointment now!