Did you know that there are trillions of microorganisms living and working symbiotically in your body — specifically, the gastrointestinal system — to keep you healthy? Together, these microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, and other microbes) are known as the gut microbiome, which is said to boost immunity, regulate digestion, and even influence mood. And that’s exactly why you need to take care of it.
Although the gut microbiome is a complex system, there are simple things you can do to promote the production of healthy microorganisms in the body. Read on to learn about the best foods for gut health, how probiotic supplements can help, and why staying calm can help keep your gut microbiome in balance. Healthy gut, healthy life.
One of the best things we can do to support a healthy mind, body, and gut is to make wise choices about the foods we eat. Whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and foods that are rich in micronutrients and prebiotics (dietary fibres that boost healthy bacteria) — like artichokes, garlic, and onions — can all help.
To make sure you’re getting the nutrients you need to stay healthy, try to fill your grocery carts with as much color as possible. The bigger variety of plant-based ingredients you can incorporate into your meals the better, as they contain many of the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that our bodies need to thrive. Eating red, orange, yellow, green, and purple fruits and vegetables may help reduce inflammation, increase immunity, and maintain a healthy digestive system.
- Red: tomato, radish, beet, strawberries, raspberries
- Orange: bell pepper, carrot, pumpkin, sweet potato
- Yellow: bell pepper, corn, pear, pineapple
- Green: broccoli, spinach, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kiwi, avocado
- Purple: eggplant, cabbage, blackberries, blueberries, plum, fig
What do kimchi, kombucha, and kefir have in common? They’re all fermented and are therefore some of the best foods for gut health. Along with miso, sauerkraut, and yogurt, these foods contain high amounts of colony-forming units (CFUs), which is a measure of bacterial or fungal cells.
While you can buy fermented foods right from the grocery store, they taste even better when you make them at home. To make a batch of sauerkraut, all you need is some thinly shredded cabbage and salt. Simply chop the cabbage, mix in the desired amount of salt, and let it sit for 15 minutes. Next, massage the cabbage to release some of its liquid; you can use this as a brine. Finally, throw everything into a mason jar — making sure that all the cabbage is fully submerged in the brine — cover with cheesecloth (use an elastic band to secure it tightly), and store in a cool dry place. The cabbage will slowly ferment into what we know as sauerkraut — an amazing (and delicious) food for gut health. One batch will keep for a few months in the fridge, depending on how often you reach into the jar.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Cottage Cheese
- Natto (fermented soybeans)
- Tempeh (fermented soybeans)
The microbes in our intestinal tracts — which aid digestion and fight against harmful bacteria — can sometimes be out of sync, leading to a host of health problems. When you feel like your body needs a little extra boost, try probiotic supplements to get your system back in balance. Taking them regularly can help improve digestive health and immunity, and promote a healthy gut environment. Look for a daily probiotic with a good quantity of CFUs for best results — ours contains 10 billion CFUs and 12 bacteria strains to support your wellbeing.
The gut microbiome interacts with the central nervous systems (consisting of the brain and spinal cord), which influences brain function and behavior. The relationship between the two, known as the brain-gut axis, is defined as a two-way communication system between the gastrointestinal tract and the brain. In other words: a healthy gut microbiome is crucial for regulating interactions along the brain-gut axis.
What does this have to do with staying calm? Our gastrointestinal tracts are highly sensitive to emotion — whether it be stress, anger, or excitement — and can trigger symptoms in our guts. Staying calm can help to minimize any negative effects from this; try following a daily routine, meditating, exercising regularly, and getting a good night’s sleep to keep your body healthy.
Taking care of your gut microbiome may seem complicated — but it’s actually quite simple. Eating a colourful plate of healthy fruits and vegetables, making or purchasing fermented foods, exercising regularly, getting enough rest, and managing stress are all things you can do to boost gut health, improve digestion, and become a better you.
Does your gut need a reset? Try our 7-Day Herbal Cleanse Kit to eliminate waste, promote regularity, and support overall digestive wellness.
Not intended as medical advice. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. If you have specific healthcare concerns or questions about the products displayed, please contact your licensed healthcare professional for advice.
Photos: casanisa / Shutterstock, Suresh Designer / Unsplash, Brandless