Gut health may not be a top priority when planning your meals and food choices, but it should be because: According to experts at the Pennsylvania Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “Your gut microbiome is important to your overall health. “Your digestive system is home to trillions of microscopic living things – mostly bacteria, but also fungi, viruses and other microorganisms
While this doesn’t sound good, most of the bacteria that live in your gut are actually beneficial to your health. Their presence can even help reduce the risk of chronic diseases. “Maintaining a healthy balance of good bacteria in your gut will help reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, anxiety, depression, and autoimmune diseases,” says the Pennsylvania Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.1
Learn more about the importance of gut health and how it can affect weight loss at the link below:
The key to a healthy microbiome is maintaining the correct balance of bacteria in your gut. What you eat is directly related to this balance, as well as your health. To promote good gut health, you need a combination of pre- and probiotics in your healthy eating plan
You’ve probably heard of probiotics – these are foods that are normally fermented and actually contain live microorganisms. They are used to promote a good bacterial balance. On the other hand, prebiotics act as nourishment for the bacteria in your intestines. They are generally high fiber ingredients that help maintain and stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria that are already in your gut
Before scouring the supermarket shelves for any strange ingredients that contain pre- and probiotics, check your refrigerator and pantry. Some common foods that you likely already have on hand are beneficial for colon health. Here are 10 foods that can help keep your gut healthy and keep weight loss on track:
It’s the first choice for gut health for good reason: it’s high in probiotics. According to The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, yogurt is made when the lactic acid in milk goes through a fermentation process.3 Heat treatment can destroy active probiotic cultures and enzymes. Therefore, look out for “living” or “active” cultures on the label. 4th
Choose a brand of yogurt with the least amount of added sugar. Just eat it, toss in a few berries, or try one of these parfait recipes perfect for every palate! >
These whole grains are loaded with prebiotic fiber, which promotes the growth of healthy gut bacteria.5 The type of fiber in oats has been shown to slow digestion, suppress appetite, and help you feel full longer
Prepare a power breakfast Overnight Oats, satisfy a sweet tooth with one Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Shake or try your hand at the morning zoats! (Never heard of it? This is a breakfast trend not to be missed. Find out all about it here! >)
Raspberries provide prebiotics to nourish your gut microbes.7 However, these bright pink fruits are also low in calories, high in fiber (8 grams per cup) 8, and full of potent antioxidants
Raspberries are delicious fresh, but just as healthy when frozen. Throw them in your yogurt, oatmeal, or granola; Mix them into a smoothie (try this) Recipe for raspberry and almond smoothie); or do this spicy raspberry chia jam to spread on yours Nutrisystem honey-wheat bagel.
The literal translation of sauerkraut is “sauerkraut”. It’s made from cabbage and salt, and the fermentation process creates probiotics. In fact, sauerkraut is one of the richest sources of probiotics.10 Cabbage is also rich in bone-building vitamin C and vitamin K.11
Combine sauerkraut with sausage in this simple stew or give an adult spin to a childhood favorite Tomato and sauerkraut on a grilled cheese sandwich.
Bananas are high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and they also contain inulin – a type of soluble fiber that helps good bacteria grow.12,13 And if you like bananas on the not-so-ripe side, your gut is in luck: green bananas are rich Resistant starch, a type of indigestible fiber that feeds the microbes in your gut. 14
Sure, you can just peel them and eat them. However, if you are looking for creative ways to enjoy this versatile fruit, Here are 10 banana recipes that you will be using bananas for! >
6. Garlic and onions
You know they add flavor and nutrients to your dishes, but what you may not know is that both garlic and onions contain the prebiotic inulin, which promotes helpful bacteria in your intestines.1 This makes them wonderful and delicious foods for the intestinal health!
Read more about the size of Garlic here, then take a look how to cut an onion – without crying.
7. Cottage cheese
Your taste buds love when mixed with fresh fruit, your bones appreciate the extra dose of calcium, and your gut is grateful for the probiotics it supplies.15 (Check the food labels to make sure it says live or active cultures – Code for probiotics.
Try every cottage cheese in a pita? Check out this light sandwich that’s perfect for lunch. But if cottage cheese isn’t your thing, don’t worry: some matured cheeses also contain probiotics, like Swiss, Cheddar, and Gouda.16 Just stick to the right servings to keep your weight loss on track.
Serves as a nice accompaniment to chicken or salmon, provides good nutrients, and contains the prebiotic inulin to promote gut health.13 One cup only contains about 27 calories.17 Here are six fresh recipes using these fancy green spears! >
9. Jerusalem artichoke
Very different from the green ball artichokes you may be more familiar with, these Jerusalem artichokes – also known as Sunchokes – are a root vegetable that comes from the sunflower family. 18
If you’re lucky enough to see them at your grocery store, give them a try: they’re super high in fiber and fortified with inulin to nourish your gut. 19 sunchokes can be eaten raw or cooked.
10. Green tea
From cancer prevention to weight loss benefits, there are so many reasons to drink green tea.20 Ohio State University research has also found evidence that green tea is beneficial for gut health. “This study provides evidence that green tea promotes the growth of good gut bacteria, and this leads to a number of benefits that significantly lower the risk of obesity,” says the study’s lead author.21