This post will give you advice on how to restore and improve your gut bacteria for a healthy gut and to balance a healthy digestion. Both of which will help you gain control over your body and boost your immune system.
HEALTH ISSUES RELATING TO AN UNHEALTHY GUT:
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Digestive issues (constipation, diarrhoea, cramps, bloating)
Skin conditions (inflammation, eczema, acne)
Mental health issues (anxiety, depression)
Women’s issues (yeast infections, candida)
When the bacteria in your gut become imbalanced, you can experience health + digestive issues, so here are a few easy tips to improve your gut health.
EASY TIPS FOR GUT HEALTH:
- Eat a variety of plant-based foods. A healthy gut with a varied community of microbes thrives on different plant-based foods. So by eating a range of plant-based foods (nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes, and fruit + vegetables) you can increase your microbial diversity and therefore improve your gut bacteria.
- Eat foods high in antioxidants. Just by eating a variety of plant-based foods, you will be getting a range of antioxidants in your body.
- Eat foods rich in prebiotics (almonds, bananas, artichokes, leafy greens, blueberrries, onions, garlic, mushrooms, legumes, wholegrains, asparagus, kiwi)
- Focus on fibre because it feeds the healthy bacteria that lives in your gut. Legumes are perfect for increasing your fibre intake as they are not only high in fibre, but they also contain prebiotics which aid in gut health. Aim for about 30g of fibre a day, if not more.
- Season your food! Cinnamon, cumin, fennel, ginger, mint, nutmeg, cardamom + turmeric are all great for gut health.
- Avoid processed foods completely. Processed foods are full of sugar, fat and contain no fibre, which is ideal for the bad bacteria in your gut, and not so good for your health.
- Eat less sugar and use a stevia sweetener instead of artificially sweeteners.
- Take a probiotic supplement + focus on probiotic foods.
- Antibiotics kill all bacteria (good and bad), so if you need to take antibiotics then make sure you focus on a plant-based diet while you’re taking them to increase your microbes. Birth control pills can be harmful to your gut bacteria too.
- Stay hydrated and drink more water!
SUPPLEMENTS TO SUPPORT YOUR GUT:
- DIGESTIVE ENZYMES – The role of enzymes is to break down the macronutrients (protein, fat + carbs) in your gut to get as many nutrients in your body as possible. Proteins are broken down into amino acids, fats into fatty acids and carbs into fibre and sugar. If your body is can’t make enough enzymes then your body will struggle to digest food and absorb the nutrients in your food. You can get enzymes from foods like pineapple, papaya, mango, bananas, avocado + tempeh.
- PROBIOTICS – Probiotics are living bacteria that support your immune system and a healthy gut. If you eat a lot of processed and unhealthy foods, your gut can contain too many “bad” bacteria and not enough “good” bacteria which can give you severe digestive issues. You can get probiotics from fermented food like kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut, dairy free kefir, soya probiotic yogurt (preferably unsweetened) + a probiotic supplement. If you are struggling with IBS symptoms then I would 100% recommend a probiotic supplement as it’s the only thing that managed to cure my IBS.
If you’re going to take either of these supplements then remember to never take them with a hot drink as it will make them completely useless as probiotics and enzymes are both heat-intolerant
If you want more info on probiotics then head over to this post >> How To Cure Your IBS & Heal Your Gut Naturally On A Plant-Based Diet
FOODS TO INCLUDE IN YOUR DIET:
- Fresh vegetables (preferably seasonal)
- Fresh fruit (preferably seasonal)
- Fresh herbs and spices (including apple cider vinegar + miso)
- Unsweetened plant-based milk (rice, almond, soya, coconut)
- Dairy free fermented foods
- Gluten-free whole-grains
- Nuts + nut butters (no salted nuts)
- Legumes for plant-based protein
FOODS TO AVOID IN YOUR DIET:
- All meat products
- All fish products
- All dairy products
- White pasta, white rice, white bread
- Processed foods – anything with a long list of ingredients on the back of the box
- Alcohol, coffee + fruit juices
GUT HEALTH SAMPLE MEAL PLAN
Breakfast: Blueberry overnight oats made with Alpro soya light milk + unsweetened Alpro probiotic soya yogurt + 1 tbsp flaxseeds + topped with pecans + sunflower seeds + desiccated coconut
Lunch: Kale salad mixed with cooked quinoa, shredded beetroot, roasted red peppers, red onion, + edamame. With a tahini dressing – 1 tbsp tahini, juice of 1 lemon, 1 medjool
date + a dash of water mixed in a blender.
Dinner: Tofu + roasted vegetables pitta pockets. Roasted veg of your choice (broccoli, carrots, peppers, onions) with firm tofu cooked in a soy sauce, ginger + miso marinade + mixed greens (spinach, kale, lettuce). Add hummus + lemon juice as your dressing.
FOODS THAT SUPPORT GOOD BACTERIA IN YOUR GUT:
- Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, goji berries)
- Medjool Dates
- Bell peppers
- Bok choy
- Brussels sprouts
- Butternut squash
- Mustard greens
- Romaine lettuce
- Sweet potatoes
- Swiss chard
- Bean pasta
- Brown rice
- Legumes: Kidney beans, pinto beans, chickpeas, butter beans, black beans, peas, lentils, tofu, tempeh, edamame
- Gluten free oats
- Wild rice
Spices + Herbs:
- Apple cider vinegar
- Black pepper
- Miso paste
- Tamari/Soy sauce
Nuts + Seeds:
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Macadamia nuts
- Sesame seeds
- Sunflower seeds
Probiotic Fermented Food:
- Diary free kefir
- Unsweetened soya yogurt