We may be human, but we’re really only one-tenth human. That’s right, we’re 90% microbial and only 10% human. And because our diet impacts our microbes, we really are what we eat. While you might be accustomed to eating lots of junk, it’s not good for your body, specifically your gut. But, in just one day you can develop new microbiota, once referred to as gut flora, by changing your daily diet. Bacteria living inside your intestinal tract, a.k.a. gut bugs, thrive off vibrant, plant-based foods. Inside your intestinal tracts, the healthy gut bugs are the sheriffs in town. They run the show and keep things in control, helping your body digest and absorb needed nutrients, create vitamins and unite against the bad guys, i.e. toxic carcinogens. Microbiota boosts your immune system, while also sending messages to your brain to help monitor your metabolism. Throughout your lifetime, microbiota molds internal colonies that fight against autoimmune disease, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and even certain types of cancer. Basically, the more diverse your gut bacteria is, the healthier and longer life you’ll live. So start putting your life on the healthy highway by adding these seven best foods to your diet.
This delicious yellow fruit is the peacemaker of foods. Its goal is maintaining harmony amongst the microbes in your little bacterial community, also known as phyla, and restoring the health of said community. Bananas are also rich in potassium and magnesium, which make them great at reducing inflammation and are why they’re suggested as the food to eat when you have an upset stomach.
Beans claim to fame is their ability to feed good gut bugs, which then accelerates your immune system. In fact, beans give you the most nutrition when calculating calorie for calorie. They’re overflowing with B vitamins, fiber, folate and of course protein, all of which play a part in regulating a healthy gut and brain. Another fun (and beneficial) fact, all legumes help release short-chain fatty acids that reinforce your intestine cells and aid with losing weight.
Studies have proven that blueberries can help improve a person’s memory and immune system, by modifying the microbiota, while diversifying gut bacteria. Blueberries are filled with antioxidants, fiber and vitamin K compounds, and this boldly blue-colored fruit is something humans are naturally drawn to because of anthocyanins, which is the pigment giving blueberries their striking color.
Cruciferous Vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale)
These super veggies are rich in sulfur-containing metabolites, called glucosinolates. Microbes break these down to release substances that lessen inflammation and your risk of certain cancers, like bladder, breast, colon, liver, lung and stomach. They do this by latching onto carcinogenic trespassers inside your colon and then help them on their way out. So be sure you’re loading up on these tasty leafy greens every day!
What makes these specific artichokes worthy of our best foods list? They’re high in inulin and have strong prebiotic potential. Inulin is an insoluble fiber that moves through our bodies, working its way from the small intestine to the large intestine. Once it works into the colon, it brews into healthy microflora. If you’re looking for other good sources of inulin, then add more asparagus, onions and bananas to your diet. And noteworthy to those of you who have sensitive digestive tracts, you want to ease into eating Jerusalem artichokes because too much too quickly can cause distress to your body.
Polenta is a carbohydrate that’s high in fiber and is also corn-based, and the corn is what gets the credit for nurturing a healthier gut. Its insoluble fiber moves straight to the colon and then ferments into numerous strands of gut flora.
Fermented Plant-Based Foods (kimchi, sauerkraut, soy sauce, tempeh)
Unhealthy bacteria live in your gut, and fermented foods protect your gut with healthy live microorganisms that push out the unhealthy bacteria. They also improve how your body absorbs minerals, immune function and the health of your intestinal cells as well as decreases allergies and your risk of colon cancer. Really these fermented plant-based foods, which you can easily buy at your local grocery store or make at home, just improve your overall health. So if you want a healthy gut and an overall healthier you—and who doesn’t—be sure to add these seven foods into your daily diet.