Is your gut in need of healing? What you eat can drastically impact the health of your gut. Your microbiome is very important for your overall health because it works to support immune function, digest food, control bad bacteria levels, create vitamins, and break down and absorb medications. Here are some things to prioritize if you are looking to start your gut health journey!
If you are looking to have a healthy gut, food sources high in probiotics are something you should look out for. Probiotics are live organisms that live inside your digestive tract and work to help your body function. They are good bacteria that eliminate extra harmful bacteria in your body. Probiotics are commonly found in fermented foods. Some vegan foods that are excellent sources of probiotics are sauerkraut, kimchi, pickled vegetables, kombucha, tempeh, sourdough bread, miso, and fortified dairy alternatives.
Prebiotic consumption is another thing you should prioritize if you are working to heal your gut. Prebiotics are fibers that feed probiotics, so they work hand-in-hand to grow and improve the balance of the healthy microorganisms in your gut. Some vegan foods that are excellent sources of prebiotics are Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, onions, raspberries, legumes, asparagus, garlic, bananas, pears, and watermelon.
Polyphenols are a plant chemical that promotes healthy digestion. This plant chemical promotes the growth of healthy gut bacteria and eliminates harmful ones. Recent evidence has come out that suggests that polyphenols help probiotics thrive, but more research is needed. Polyphenols are found in many fruits and vegetables. Some specific vegan foods that are high in polyphenols are tea, dark chocolate, red wine, berries, apples, artichokes, black beans, oats, onions, and apricots.
What to avoid
While it is important to know what foods to prioritize for a healthy gut, it is also beneficial to know what to avoid. Try to avoid artificial sweeteners because it negatively changes the composition of your gut microflora. Artificial sweeteners are typically found in zero-calorie beverages and foods. You should also try to limit your intake of processed and refined foods. Processed and refined foods often lack nutrient diversity and fiber, which our microbiome thrives off of. While moderate alcohol consumption, especially red wine, can benefit your microbiome, excessive alcohol intake can negatively impact your intestinal microbiome.
Overall, a healthy and balanced diet high in fiber will benefit your gut health. But, if you’re trying to prioritize your gut health, focus on the consumption of probiotics, prebiotics, and polyphenols for a happy gut!
Sources: Eating Well and Healthline
Vegan Foods to Support a Healthy Gut