Increasingly, research is finding that our “gut” functions as almost a second brain. It has also been found to be an important site for immune health. Despite this, many people over look their intestinal health. But there are simple and easy ways to make sure you boost your immune health every day!
Food for Gut Health
A healthy diet full of fiber rich foods that is low in sugar and light on meat-based proteins offers the best mix for a healthy gut. Avoiding all fats is not necessary or recommended; just make sure you are getting the healthy fats and not processed ones. There are specific foods that help to bolster gut health:
Getting probiotics from a supplement source or foods like yogurt or kefir can help to support a healthy gut. You should look for a shelf-stable probiotic supplement or opt for plain yogurts. Here is a good run down of probiotics for every need.
Fermented foods offer probiotic benefits, as well. Sauekraut, kombucha and kimchi are some of the most common ones that you can find ready made in the store. When it comes to sauerkraut, not all are fermented, so you will need to read the label. You can also make your own at home. Find out how here.
Prebiotics are fiber-rich foods that help to encourage the growth and proliferation of the good bacteria in your gut. Onions, artichokes and asparagus are some foods that contain prebiotics. You can eat them raw or cooked and get the benefits. Some foods and supplements also contain prebiotics like inulin.
Bone broths are an excellent compliment to a healthy diet. They add nutrients and minerals and amino acids that help soothe and protect the digestive tract. While you can purchase ready-made versions, it is always best to make your own.
Lifestyle Changes for Gut Health
One of the biggest lifestyle changes that you can make to improve gut health is to add more exercise into your daily routine. Many of us have sedentary lifestyles due to work, etc. Make time each day for some vigorous exercise (a brisk walk, 12 Sun Salutations, etc) and you will benefit your digestive and lymphatic systems. Move either an hour before or after you eat. Exercise and a full stomach do not mix. Here is a yoga practice dedicated to improving digestive health.
Increasing hydration can also help with digestion. It keeps your digestive tract supple and moving freely. Hydration is also key to helping to remove toxins from your system. Some of our digestive problems also stem from tendencies to overeat. The body often shows its want for water by signals more common to hunger. Rather than a snack, reach for a glass of water. If you are still hungry after, a simple snack of fruit or nuts can help you with your digestive health goals.