We don’t give much thought to our gut health until it starts acting up and making us unhappy. Gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, or acid reflux are all symptoms of an unhappy digestive tract.
The best part is that diet can often play a significant role in maintaining gut health. Starting with fibre, probiotics, and water is a good place to start. If your digestive problems are caused by your diet, you will most likely find some relief.
What are the “big three” that matter for gut health?
Digestive issues frequently occur when these three nutrients are deficient or out of balance in our bodies. That makes sense given how important these three are in daily digestive health.
Our digestive tracts crave balance, and getting the right nutrients is always the best way to achieve it. That is why it is critical to do this with food rather than supplements because supplements can often provide too much of a particular nutrient, which can sometimes be harmful to one’s health.
Getting the necessary fiber content
Though there are two types of fibre, soluble (digested) and insoluble (not digested), insoluble fibre is important for keeping food rolling through the digestive tract and aiding in regularity because it is not digested by the body. Most fiber-containing foods contain both types, so you don’t have to worry about which to eat. Vegetables and fruit, as well as whole-grain starches like whole-wheat bread, brown rice, bran cereals, potatoes, and corn, are high in fibre. Beans and lentils are also excellent sources.
That is why, with a little foresight and planning, reaching the recommended daily amount of 25 grams is simple. While that may seem like a lot, it equates to about five fruits and vegetables per day, or a combination of whole grains and legumes. It is not difficult to meet that goal with five to seven servings of a variety of fiber-containing foods. There are some good shortcuts, such as 1 cup of blackberries or raspberries, which has about 8 grams of fibre, which is about one-third of your daily requirement!
Unless you’ve checked with your doctor first, aim for foods rather than supplements or fortified foods (such as bars) to meet your needs. Real foods contain value-added nutrients that promote optimal health.
Why probiotics is essential for gut health?
Your gut is thriving with beneficial bacteria that aid digestion and keep your intestinal tract healthy. The keyword for locating probiotics in the diet is “fermented.” Healthy bacteria are produced in foods during this process and remain alive to do beneficial work in your gut when you eat them. Yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, miso, and tempeh are excellent sources. And you should eat them daily, not just occasionally, to ensure that your gut is well-supplied.
When it comes to probiotics, stick to real food rather than supplements unless your doctor approves. It’s easy to get too much of a good thing, which can aggravate your symptoms. According to recent research, even people with lactose intolerance can usually tolerate a daily serving of yoghurt or kefir, because yoghurt contains natural “lactase” (the enzyme that digests lactose in dairy) that is produced during the fermentation process from milk to yoghurt
Do we need prebiotics?
No, that is not necessary; there is a work called “prebiotic.” Simply put, probiotics (healthy bacteria) require fuel to survive and thrive in your gut. This fuel is prebiotics. The good news is that if you eat fruits and vegetables daily, you will get enough prebiotics from foods without needing to take supplements. Blueberries, strawberries, apples, watermelon, onions, and leeks are high in prebiotics.
Why water is so important for gut health?
To avoid constipation, you should drink plenty of water, especially if you eat a fiber-rich diet. Staying hydrated aids digestion and allows food to pass more easily through your digestive tract. Stick to water and other low-calorie liquids.
Remember that fruits and vegetables are composed of 90% water — and these counts! Drink an extra 1 cup of water for every 5 grams of fibre you add as you increase your fibre intake. And it’s simple to determine how much fluid your body requires — simply drink to thirst and look in the toilet bowl after you’ve gone. It’s time to drink if your urine isn’t pale (the colour of lemonade).
What are the foods to avoid?
While many foods can help with digestion, there are a few triggers that can aggravate or contribute to issues. Learn your triggers, eliminate the offending foods, and see if your symptoms improve. You are the best judge of that! Here is a list of the most common irritants:
- Oranges and grapefruit are examples of acidic foods (acid reflux)
- Spicy foods, such as hot pepper sauce (acid reflux)
- Sugar alcohols, such as sorbitol, mannitol, and xylitol, are commonly found in sugar-free foods (gas, bloating stomach pains, diarrhea)
- Soda/seltzer (gas, bloating)
- Foods that have been processed or refined (gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation)
- Foods high in fat (diarrhea, bloating)
- Pasta made from legumes (gas, bloating, stomach pains)
- Tortillas with a low carbohydrate count (gas, bloating, stomach pain)
When to see your doctor:
If you’ve made some dietary changes for a few weeks and your symptoms haven’t improved, it’s time to see your doctor. You’ll already have your lifestyle modifications in hand for discussion (you’ve already taken the first step by changing your diet), and your doctor can track down the problem and set up the best treatment plan for you with an examination and blood work. There is no reason to live in pain. When you require assistance, it is available.