Change Your Diet to Improve Your Gut Health
The average Western diet has become one of the worst diets for gut health.
With a high proportion of processed foods, artificial sweeteners, refined sugars and corn syrup and a lack of fresh fruit and vegetables, it's not surprising that your gut is complaining and causing problems for you.
Bloating and wind are just two of the symptoms. You could be suffering from poor sleep patterns, high-stress levels, mood swings, reduced mental capacity and poor skin, hair and nail condition.
Because your gut health has such a huge impact on your physical and mental well-being, it makes sense to look at your diet to see if you can help improve your gut health.
Whilst your body has microorganisms inhabiting every square centimetre, it's in your gut that the largest collections of these microorganisms are found and these are a major part of your microbiome.
An imbalance in your microbiome or a complete lack of a specific strain of microbe can lead to the symptoms you are suffering from.
Fortunately, you can affect the balance and strains of your gut microbes quite easily through your diet.
To improve your gut health and to help restore the balance of the bacteria in your gut that play such an important role in digestion and overall health, you can avoid or limit the amount you eat of the following foods:
These are often packed with sugars, preservatives, additives, colouring, chemicals, and a lot of empty calories that can lead to an imbalance in your gut microbiome.
Chlorine is often added to tap water to help kill bacteria or harmful substances that are in the water. However, too much chlorine can kill the good bacteria in your gut.
High levels of meat intake have been linked with increases in higher numbers of less desirable species of gut bacteria. Additionally, the use of antibiotics in the rearing of commercial animals can also have a huge, detrimental impact on your microbiome.
Whilst this is a food source for bacteria, eating too much of it can cause an imbalance in the normal bacterial levels in the gut. Additionally, it can cause yeast to flourish in your system, which, when combined with reduced levels of "good" bacteria, can lead to Candida and Thrush.
High fructose corn syrup:
This is a major ingredient in much of the junk food and beverages we consume today and is linked to diabetes, fatty liver disease, and other inflammatory conditions. And these begin in your gut microbiome.
Artificial sweeteners are known for causing blood sugar and insulin levels spikes, increasing your risk of insulin resistance and weight gain.
A protein found in wheat, gluten can trigger the production of zonulin, a biochemical that opens up the tight junctions of your intestinal wall. This can lead to leaky-gut syndrome.
Dairy can be responsible for an imbalance of gut flora leading to bloating and cramps.
Whilst soy is often considered to be a healthy alternative to milk and meat, it can be bad for the human gut as it can be extremely difficult to digest. However, if properly prepared and fermented as they do in Asian cultures, soy may be a tolerable option.
In my next post, we'll be looking at the role fermented foods play to help improve your gut health.