How To Optimise Your Gut Health for Healthy Living
The human body is designed to handle waste products from natural sources such as respiration, metabolism, and digestion. However, our bodies are not equipped to handle toxins and the dangerous pollutants we are exposed to daily in today’s world.
What’s a toxin? Google defines this as: “A poison of plant or animal origin, especially one produced by or derived from microorganisms and acting as an antigen in the body”
One of the best ways to handle this toxin overload is assisting the body’s natural cleansing ability. To optimise your body’s ability to fight toxins, it all starts in the place that houses over 70 percent of the immune system: your gut.
Calories and Their Connection to the Gut
Together, appetite and hunger create the primal need to eat. Consuming food is about far more than just quelling that feeling of hunger, though. Calories alone are not enough for an optimal existence. Instead, the body needs a wide spectrum of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to function at its best.
Even though food has so much to offer, many people get hung up on the importance of calories. A calorie is defined as “a unit of heat used to indicate the amount of energy that foods will produce in the human body”.
Basically, a calorie is a way to represent energy. It is up to us to choose the quality of the energy we fuel our bodies with.
Take, for example, an avocado versus one of the popular little 100 calorie snack packs from a store. While both have roughly 100 calories, these two foods could not be more different. Whereas the snack packs are simply empty calories, an avocado boasts a host of vitamins, phytonutrients, fibre, healthy fats, and powerful minerals. If eating clean is your goal, your focus should be on the quality of the calories you are consuming, not just the number.
By choosing foods based on how nutrient dense they are versus only caring about calorie content, you can fuel your body and support your gut microbiome. Read on to learn 6 ways to protect your gut, choose the right foods, and optimise your health.
1. Clean Up Your Eating Routine
Some of the biggest offenders to a healthy body include inflammatory foods such as soy, dairy, gluten, refined table salt, and animals products that are nonorganic (eggs, poultry, meat, cheese, milk). These foods promote inflammation and can create allergens and other negative side effects, increasing our chance of experiencing subpar health.
Instead of inflammatory foods, reach for whole foods that nourish the body with a plethora of vitamins and nutrients. Delicious, healthy options include berries, avocados, leafy greens, fresh vegetables, nuts, fruit, and organic, high-quality animal products.
2. Get Rid of Pathogens
Consider finding a functional M.D. you trust to help you determine how to remove the parasites, yeast, and harmful bacteria in your gut. It is similar to weeding a garden before planting the seeds. First, you need to get rid of the harmful bacteria before probiotics and prebiotics can be most effective.
3. Steer Clear of Tap Water
Tap water may be hiding toxins that run the risk of harming your gut health. Instead, opt for filtered water. One of tap water’s biggest offenders is fluoride, a mineral thought by some to have a negative impact on the gut lining, the thyroid, and other organs.
To be on the safe side, use a water filter that removes fluoride and heavy metals from your water. Aim to drink at least 8 to 10 glasses a day.
4. Up Your Intake of Green Vegetables
One of the best ways to feed our gut microbiome is with dark leafy greens. These powerful greens help nourish the gut’s bacteria and keep it balanced thanks to their high levels of fibre and vitamins.
5. Support the Good Bacteria
A high-quality probiotic can provide your gut microbiome with healthy bacteria to support digestion and immunity. Look for a supplement that contains several strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria. Ask your doctor about which particular strains may be best suited to your body.
6. Eat Foods Rich in Probiotics and Prebiotics
Foods and drinks rich in prebiotics and probiotics are essential for healthy gut flora.
Examples of foods packed with probiotics include kimchee, coconut water kefir, organic yogurt, chickpea miso, and fermented vegetables.
Along with probiotics, your body also needs foods containing prebiotics, nondigestible short-chain fatty acids that serve as food for gut flora.
Excellent sources of prebiotics include bananas, onions, asparagus, garlic, dandelion greens, jicama, gluten-free oats, and onions. These nutrient dense foods will help nourish your body’s cells and gut flora.