Foods to Restore your Intestinal Flora
The human gut has over 40 trillion bacteria collectively known as the gut microbiome. These bacteria play essential roles in supporting the immune system, cardiovascular health and many other aspects of health. Bacteria are the most studied among the different types of microbes.
The gut microbiome is also known as gut flora that helps control digestion. It can boost the immune system and affect other bodily processes. You can support the growth of your gut microbiome by eating a wide range of fruits, vegetables, and fermented foods. A diverse diet can lead to a more varied gut microbiome.
An imbalance of unhealthy and healthy intestinal microbes may lead to weight gain, high cholesterol and high blood sugar. It can impair your body’s ability to absorb nutrients and store fat. Looking after your gut health helps you maintain the right balance of your gut microbiome. Consider consuming these food sources:
Linseeds/ flaxseedsSeeds such as linseeds and flaxseeds are a great source of fibre. Fibres help create an environment within the gut in which healthy bacteria can thrive. You can get most of the benefits of linseeds by grinding your linseeds freshly. Store the ground seeds in an airtight container in the fridge.
KefirKefir is known to be a more potent source of probiotics compared to yogurt. It makes a great addition to smoothies and soups. Kefir also makes a good base for salad dressing. This fermented dairy is a great source of vitamins and minerals that supports the immune system, aids digestive problems, increases bone health. Adding kefir to your diet may even fight chronic diseases like cancer. Consuming kefir can increase your energy, reduce stress, nourish the skin and prevents muscle cramps.
MisoThis fermented bean offers tons of benefits and can be used in a variety of dishes, including soups or broths, salad dressings, glazes and marinades. Miso is a staple food source that can support gut health, enhance immune function and support brain health.
SauerkrautDue to the sauerkraut’s fermentation, this cabbage makes a great source of probiotics, fibre, and vitamins. Unpasteurised sauerkraut has beneficial bacteria that serves as the line of defence against harmful bacteria and toxin buildup. Sauerkraut has enzymes that can help the body absorb nutrients much more easily. Consuming this fermented cabbage improves digestion, supports the immune system, maintains brain health and reduces stress. Sauerkraut also promotes heart health and contributes to stronger bones.
This traditional Korean fermented vegetable helps balance your gut flora. Kimchi is loaded with vitamins, fibre and probiotics that strengthen your immune system. A certain Lactobacillus strain in kimchi may boost the immune system although further research is needed. Kimchi is found to slow down the aging process as it prolongs cell life. It may also lower the risk of heart disease by minimising inflammation, suppressing fat, and reducing cholesterol levels.
Besides its probiotics content, Kombucha also contains antioxidants. The benefits of kombucha include killing harmful bacteria and may help fight several diseases. This fermented tea drink has a sharp, vinegary taste that can be mixed with fruit and spices. Kombucha may minimise the risk of diseases including heart disease, obesity, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. Kombucha improves bad LDD and good HDL cholesterol levels in the rat.
Make oats a part of your breakfast for healthy gut flora. Oats have a unique type of fibre that nourishes and restores a healthy gut microbiome. Consuming oats can help in weight loss, lower blood sugar levels, and minimise the risk of heart disease. Due to the soluble fibre beta-glucan, eating oats may increase insulin sensitivity. It may help lower blood sugar levels, preventing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Prebiotic help healthy bacteria grow in the gut to support digestive function. It feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut to help produce nutrients for colon cells. As prebiotic foods help increase the friendly gut bacteria, they boost the immune system and metabolic health. Consuming prebiotic foods help prevent certain diseases. Considering eating raw prebiotic foods since the fibre content of these foods may be changed during the cooking. Among these prebiotic foods include garlic, onions, bananas, tempeh, natto, buttermilk, apples, artichokes, barley, berries, chicory root, cocoa, Asparagus, dandelion greens, flax seeds, and bran. When your gut bacteria eat these food sources, they maintain the gut lining and prevent inflammation.
The Bottom LineBesides consuming these food sources to restore the balance of your gut flora, you can also do the following to support your gut microbiome:
Exercise – Living a sedentary lifestyle means having a less diverse microbiome. Hence, working out is one way to promote gut microbiome diversity.
Reduce stress -Stress negatively affects aspects of your health such as physical, mental and digestive health. Your microbes can be stressed out if you’re feeling stressed. Stress can minimise the abundance of probiotic bacteria such as Lactobacillus. Meditating, going outdoors, and journaling are just a few ways to manage stress.
Steer clear from junk foods – Eating junk foods can upset the balance of bacteria in your gut.
Consider Colonic Hydrotherapy – Also known as colon irrigation, colon hydrotherapy is a safe method that removes the waste and toxin buildup in your colon. It is done by flushing water into the rectum, left to sit in the colon for a short period before being released.
Your diet can affect your gut microbiome. Incorporating these food sources and adjusting your diet can help restore the healthy bacteria in your gut for holistic health.