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Gut health has been increasingly recognised as a critical component of overall wellness. Research shows that a healthy gut contributes to a strong immune system, heart health, brain health, improved mood, better sleep, and effective digestion. In this post, we'll explore six simple yet effective ways to improve your gut health.
1. Embrace a fibre-rich diet
A diet high in fibre supports gut health by providing nutrients for beneficial bacteria to thrive aka probiotics. Whole grains, such as barley, oats, and quinoa, are excellent sources of fibre. Incorporate a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and legumes into your diet to promote a diverse gut microbiome. A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrated that higher fibre intake was associated with improved gut health (1).
2. Prioritise oral hygiene
Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial for gut health. Brushing and flossing regularly, as well as having dental check-ups, helps prevent harmful bacteria from entering your digestive system. Research from Cornell University and Swedish studies shows a link between poor oral hygiene and compromised gut health (2).
3. Enjoy fermented foods
Fermented foods are rich in probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that promote gut health. Some popular fermented foods include sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, kombucha, tempeh, and plain, natural yoghurt. Including these foods in your diet can help maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria.
4. Indulge in polyphenol-rich foods
Polyphenols are plant-based compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Dark chocolate, red grapes, almonds, onions, green tea, blueberries, and broccoli are rich in polyphenols. Consuming these foods can benefit your gut health by providing fuel for beneficial bacteria (3).
5. Spice up your meals
Incorporating spices like garlic, turmeric, and ginger into your meals can help support gut health. These spices contain antimicrobial properties that target harmful bacteria without affecting the good bacteria in your gut.
6. Limit artificial sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, have been linked to negative effects on gut health. Research on rats and humans has shown that consuming artificial sweeteners can lead to increased blood sugar levels and impaired insulin function (4).
Improving your gut health is essential for overall well-being. By adopting a fibre-rich diet, maintaining good oral hygiene, consuming fermented foods, enjoying polyphenol-rich foods, adding spices to your meals, and limiting artificial sweeteners, you can promote a healthy gut microbiome.
If you're interested in diving deeper, check out the following sources:
- Carbohydrate quality and human health.
- Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota.
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