Good gut health is essential for overall physical and mental wellbeing. The human gut is home to a complex network of microorganisms that scientists refer to as the gut microbiota. The microbiota interacts with its environment, made up of food, drinks, environment, etc, and can be impacted by the diet and lifestyle, both of which can have an effect on overall health.
Gut microbes influence activities such as digestion, absorption of nutrients, elimination, immunity, metabolic processing and the creation of neurotransmitters. Having a balanced diet, or high-quality nutrition, is one of the most important factors that influences the health and wellbeing of our gut.
Nutrients and Supplements to Support Gut Health
It is important to get the required level of macronutrients and micronutrients from your diet. Focusing on high-quality, nutrient-rich whole-foods will help to maintain a healthy gut. Supplements can be used to boost the gut microbiome’s defence system and help promote the good bacteria in the gut. Vitamins B, A, D, E and K, as well as minerals like magnesium, zinc and iron are important for good gut health.
Foods to Include and Exclude
Consuming a well-balanced diet is essential for maintaining good gut health. Some of the best gut-friendly foods include yogurt, fermented foods (such as sauerkraut, kimchi and kefir), legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, chanterelle mushrooms, plant-based oils (such as flaxseed and olive oil), green leafy vegetables and cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli and cauliflower).
It’s also important to avoid processed and sugary foods, as they can upset the gut balance and increase inflammation. Other foods that can cause gut issues include artificial sweeteners, trans fat, processed meats and some dairy products. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet may help reduce inflammation in the gut.
The Connection between Gut Health and Overall Health
If the gut microbiota is out of balance, it can lead to issues in the rest of the body. A healthy gut helps the body to absorb and utilize micronutrients and macronutrients from food. It also helps to prevent infection and inflammation, and to regulate the immune system. Research suggests that gut bacteria may also play a role in neurological conditions such as autism and depression.
Maintaining good gut health is essential for overall physical and mental wellbeing. Eating a nutrient-rich, whole-food diet, including probiotic-rich fermented foods, getting adequate exercise and reducing stress are all important for keeping our gut microbes happy and healthy. Supplements can be used to help maintain gut health and reduce inflammation, but should be used with caution and monitored by a medical professional.