Written by Nick Murillo Deluz
When it comes to the “Gut” we automatically associate that with food and hunger, but what if I told you it goes deeper than just having signals to eat? What if I told you that what you put in your gut will change your mood, focus and your energy flows throughout the day?
If you ever grew up looking at a certain car that caught your eye and ended up with your dream car, what did you do to take care of it? You made sure it looked clean, you changed the oil, and put gas in it when you knew it was almost empty! You knew it was something you had to do to keep the car lasting long. Just like our cars, we have to keep our bodies clean and change the fluids to maintain optimal health.
The Gut-Brain Axis
Gut health affects literally everything in your body. The gastrointestinal system is the main system for processing nutrients, but it also serves as a communication center and disease fighter. From your nervous and immune systems to your mental health and digestive function, a healthy gut plays a major role in your overall well-being.
Gut health also has a major effect on the brain. More than 90 percent of our serotonin, the hormone that makes us feel happy, is made in the gut. Food cravings often originate from this connection. And psychological stress can negatively affect your gut health, causing inflammation and emotional eating. Because the gut establishes such a strong connection with so many other elements of our well-being, it’s important to keep a healthy gut.
Eating for Gut Health
The best way to improve your “gut flora” is by choosing a wide variety of fruits and vegetables that contain rich sources of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Nuts, seeds and legumes such as cashews, black beans, walnuts, and lentils, provide a great source of fiber and protein. Whole grains also provided an excellent source of fiber. You can find the best source of fiber in barley, quinoa, oats or brown rice.
Furthermore, prebiotics and probiotics help boost good bacteria in your gut. Foods like almonds, bananas, and apples are awesome probiotics. Fermented foods such as kimchi, kombucha, and tempeh are great sources of probiotics. Eating these types of food will help reduce inflammation in the gut and can also stimulate the gut’s natural immune system. If you don’t consume enough probiotics and prebiotics, a supplement is recommended to help keep the gut healthy.
Making small changes to our diets can have major positive effects down the line. Take some time and analyze what you eat in a day. Writing down your meals in a food journal, and making any adjustments necessary along the way will help you optimize your digestive health.