Spring is here! A time of birth, growth and most importantly, spring cleaning. Just as we clean out our homes of dirt and grime, we must do the same to our bodies.
There are around 40 trillion bacteria in your body, most of which are in your intestines. Collectively, they are known as your gut microbiome, and they are hugely important for your health. Your microbiome affects numerous bodily functions such as health, weight, digestion, disease prevention and more. When your microbiome is healthy, you feel your best! However, after a long winter of being cooped up indoors, fighting off colds and reaching for warm comfort foods, your microbiome can really get thrown out of whack. Here are some helpful tips on ways to improve your gut health though the power of food!
1. Eat a diverse range of foods
Each species of bacteria in your gut plays a specific role in your health and requires certain nutrients to function. A diet consisting of many different food types leads to a healthy and diverse microbiome. An array of vegetables, legumes, beans and fruit is the best choice when it comes to improving gut bacteria.
2. Avoid inflammatory foods
Start by limiting foods that don’t have functional health benefits, like alcohol and processed sugar. Then, think about what foods might be causing inflammation for you. Foods that inflame the gut can differ with each individual, however, the main culprits usually include foods such as gluten and dairy.
3. Eat probiotic foods
Probiotics are live microorganisms that have numerous health benefits when consumed. Probiotic rich foods, such as grass-fed whole milk yogurt, miso, kimchi, kombucha, and kefir, add to the array of bacteria in your gut, providing a healthier and happier microbiome. Eating probiotic rich foods is one of the most important steps you can take in maintaining gut health.
4. Eat prebiotic foods
Prebiotics are the foods that promote the growth of beneficial microbes in the gut. They are mainly fiber or complex cards that cannot be digested by human cells. Instead, certain strains of bacteria break them down and use them for fuel. Some of my favorite prebiotic foods are greens, mushrooms, squash, garlic, onions, berries and apples. However, any high fiber foods such as veggies, fruit and whole grains, will provide the food for the good bacteria in your gut.
5. Consider a probiotic supplement
Ultimately, spring cleaning your microbiome is really quite simple. Make sure to stay hydrated and listen to your body as you go through the process to see how it reacts to any new foods and supplements. Happy spring cleaning!