Commonly known as the ‘second brain’ of the body, the gut is one of the most important organs that you should take care of in order to achieve optimal health. While gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms such as constipation, stomach pain and diarrhea are common of an unhealthy gut, it is also just as common for neurological symptoms such as anxiety, depression and poor concentration to occur. Research has shown that poor gut health can lead to poor brain health because these two organs are connected and communicate through the gut-brain axis. If you’re interested in reading more about the gut-brain axis, check out this article.
How can you achieve a healthy gut?
Firstly, there is more to maintaining a healthy gut than just taking probiotic tablets. Even though they are critical, they are just the beginning of the story.
One way you can fuel the benefits of probiotics is by taking prebiotics, which are dietary fibers that feed the friendly and beneficial bacteria (probiotics) in your gut. Prebiotics are essential for probiotics to produce the short chain fatty acids needed to boost anti-inflammatory activity in the gut and reduce the risk of cancer. Consuming foods such as apples, green bananas, asparagus, garlic and onion will increase the amount of prebiotics in your system and will help to maintain a healthy gut environment. Find more foods that contain the prebiotics your gut will love right here.
In addition to incorporating prebiotics into your diet, increasing your intake of soluble fibers is another way to increase the production of short chain fatty acids, which are the main fuel for the cells found in your colon. Examples of soluble fiber include oats and chia seeds.
Another easy way to feed your gut with healthy strains of bacteria is to consume fermented foods. These include kimchi, sauerkraut, fermented beets, fermented pickles as well as fermented salsa. To maintain a good balance, eating 2-3 tbsp of prebiotic-rich foods 1-2 times a day can be very effective and will put you on the correct path to having a healthy gut.
If you haven’t already, read our post about how to make fermented brown rice!