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7 foods that improve gut health
Did you know that gut health plays a major role in your ability to lose weight? Having an unhealthy gut can sometimes prevent you from losing weight, and can even trigger further bloatation and obesity. Each one of us has a unique bacterial population known as a microbiome, which is comprised of billions of both good and bad bacteria. Recent medical studies have shown that the state of our microbiomes’ health can impact whether or not we go on to develop health conditions such as Crohn’s disease, colitis, allergies, obesity, and even psychological problems such as depression and anxiety.
There are a number of factors that can cause you to have an unhealthy gut, or gastrointestinal tract, such as a diet high in sugar, excessive alcohol consumption, and even certain prescription medications. Over time, poor gut health can even hinder your body’s ability to absorb certain nutrients from the foods you eat, which can lead to worsened overall health.
If you’ve been working hard to lose weight and still find that you’re failing to drop those unwanted pounds, it’s possible you may need to kill off your bad gut bacteria and improve your gut health. Here are seven foods you can eat more of that will help balance your level of good versus bad gut bacteria.
Most fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, are rich in the type of healthy, living bacteria (also known as probiotics) that can improve the state of your microbiome. Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage, and is best in quality when freshly made. Look for refrigerated sauerkraut, and not those that are canned, which have little to no remaining healthy bacteria as a result of the pasteurization process.
Traditional Korean kimchi is comprised mainly of spicy fermented cabbage, and some mixes contain radishes, cucumbers, scallions, and other vegetables and spices that have been shown to improve and maintain good gut health. Eat kimchi plain, or serve with rice and chicken.
Eating fresh garlic can help promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria. Consult with your doctor or bariatric surgeon prior to consuming garlic, since those with irritable bowel syndrome may have difficulty with digesting garlic since it is high in fructans.
Kombucha is a type of black tea that has been fermented with a mixture of good bacteria. In addition to improving gut health, kombucha is also a source of antioxidants that can help ward off inflammation and contribute to weight loss.
5. Jerusalem artichokes
These types of artichokes are high in an indigestible fiber known as inulin that feeds our healthy gut bacteria. Inulin is fermented in the colon and produces a type of fuel source known as butyrate, which lines our gastrointestinal tract and helps promote good gut health.
6. Whole oranges
Just like Jerusalem artichokes, whole oranges help our bodies produce butyrate to promote healthy digestion. When eating oranges, make sure you eat the membranes, as they contain the soluble fiber needed to produce inulin and butyrate.
7. Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate that contains a minimum of 70 percent cacao content offers anti-inflammatory benefits that can promote good heart health and a healthy gut. Our gut has the ability to ferment dark chocolate as long as cacao is 70 percent of higher — leading to overall better digestion.
*Karen Eisenbraun writes original content for MyBigLife.com as well as many other quality sites on the web.