Confused about what to eat and what not to eat? With so much information online about healthy eating it can be tricky to be sure about what’s best for a healthy gut. So here’s our explainer guide to all things gut health related and some tasty foods that are known to be good for your insides.
What’s gut health?
'Gut health' is a term increasingly used in the medical literature and by the food industry. It covers multiple positive aspects of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, such as the effective digestion and absorption of food, the absence of GI illness, normal and stable intestinal microbiota, effective immune status and a state of well-being.
What leads to poor gut health?
Gut health is connected in one way or another to almost every aspect of your health. There are a lot of lifestyle and medical factors that can lead to poor gut health which can include; stress, diet, medications, hormone imbalances and even autoimmune conditions.
What are There are a number of ways an unhealthy gut might manifest itself. Here are seven of the most common signs:
Stomach disturbances like gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and heartburn can all be signs of an unhealthy gut. A balanced gut will have less difficulty processing food and eliminating waste.
A diet high in processed foods and added sugars can decrease the amount of good bacteria in your gut. This imbalance can cause increased sugar cravings, which can damage your gut still further. High amounts of refined sugars, particularly high-fructose corn syrup, have been linked to increased inflammation in the body. Inflammation can be the precursor to a number of diseases.
Gaining or losing weight without making changes to your diet or exercise habits may be a sign of an unhealthy gut. An imbalanced gut can impair your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, regulate blood sugar, and store fat. Weight loss may be caused by small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), while weight gain may be caused by insulin resistance or the urge to overeat due to decreased nutrient absorption.
An unhealthy gut may contribute to sleep disturbances such as insomnia or poor sleep, and therefore lead to chronic fatigue. The majority of the body’s serotonin, a hormone that affects mood and sleep, is produced in the gut. So gut damage can impair your ability to sleep well. Some sleep disturbances have also been linked to risk for fibromyalgia.
Skin conditions like eczema may be related to a damaged gut. Inflammation in the gut caused by a poor diet or food allergies may cause increased “leaking” of certain proteins out into the body, which can in turn irritate the skin and cause conditions such as eczema.
Medical researchers are continually finding new evidence of the impact of the gut on the immune system. It’s thought that an unhealthy gut may increase systemic inflammation and alter the proper functioning of the immune system. This may lead to autoimmune diseases, where the body attacks itself rather than harmful invaders.
Food intolerances are the result of difficulty digesting certain foods (this is different than a food allergy, which is caused by an immune system reaction to certain foods). It’s thought that food intolerances may be caused by poor quality of bacteria in the gut. This can lead to difficulty digesting the trigger foods and unpleasant symptoms such as bloating, gas, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and nausea. There is some evidence that food allergies may also be related to gut health. the signs of gut health problems?
SoulBia Top Gut Health Food Choices
So, what is sauerkraut? Sauerkraut is essentially fermented cabbage which also contains enzymes that help the body to break down food into smaller, and more easily digestible molecules which in turn helps the body to absorb more nutrients. One tasty way to have sauerkraut is in a buddha bowl or use it to season just about any grain, legume, scramble, or vegetable dish. You can check out our full range of sauerkraut here.
SynerChi is a refreshing flavoured drink that contains kombucha. Kombucha is an ancient fermented drink made by fermenting organic teas with a live culture of yeast and bacteria producing a naturally carbonated and refreshing brew. SynerChi Kombucha is certified organic, naturally free from dairy, gluten and soy, with only 59 kCals per bottle and entirely guilt free; what not to love? Coming in five delicious flavours you can mix and match to find your favourite flavour. To see all available flavours, click here.
This probiotic yoghurt drink is made by fermenting milk and is packed with good bacteria. It originated in the mountainous region between Asia and Europe, as well as Russia and Central Asia. It also makes a great addition to smoothies and soups, or you can use it as a base for salad dressing (add lemon juice and seasoning). While this cultured product is traditionally made with dairy, its coconut or water-based counterparts can be even better. Check out our range of milk and coconut kefirs here.
Coyo is a relatively new brand that has just come on board, it’s offers a refreshingly smooth taste of coconut and combines this with live cultures to produce a dairy-free and vegan luxurious yoghurt... truly heaven in a mouthful! Coyo is also gluten free soya free and lactose free, it really is an all-rounder. You can buy coyo online here, and pick from both natural coconut or strawberry coconut.
Apple cider vinegar has been used for centuries for its amazing health-giving properties which includes gut health. Acid reflux is caused by stomach acid (used for breaking down food), leaking from the stomach and travelling up toward the oesophagus, and can be extremely uncomfortable. Apple cider vinegar is said to relieve acid reflux by introducing more acid into the digestive tract and preventing acid backflow. The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar is said to balance acid production in the stomach, helping to buffer acidity levels, as acetic acid is weaker than stomach acid. Try adding a capful (10ml) of Natural Umber to 200-300ml of water before meals, 1-3 times per day. This could help to regulate stomach acid and prevent acid reflux, bloating and indigestion. To buy apple cider vinegar click here.
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