Gut health has been a hot topic recently, creating a divide amongst those who believe in its importance, and those who don’t, and those who are either undecided or unaware of gut health in general.
Researchers from Lund University in Sweden found that mice suffering from Alzheimer’s had a different composition of gut bacteria, compared to that of healthier mice with no Alzheimer’s.
Meanwhile, research from a separate study from the University of Alabama in the USA showed Parkinson’s disease and medications to treat it can affect the composition of the trillions of bacteria located inside the gut.
Research is still continuing at the University of Alabama, as the studies have not been able to determine whether Parkinson’s disease changed the gut composition, or if it was bad gut composition that caused the Parkinson’s.
The gut is the gastrointestinal tract that starts from your mouth, runs through the oesophagus to the liver, gall bladder, pancreas and stomach, then into the small intestine and large intestine. Constantly busy, it takes in food, digests it and provides the body with energy and nutrients, then removes any waste.
And more recently, it’s the study between the connection of the brain and the gut that has researchers paying close attention to how much of our health in general is reliant on a healthy gut.
There’s still a lot of research to be done before there is a full understanding of how much of the body’s general well-being is related to gut health. However, there is no doubt our health and happiness is dependent on healthy functioning of this incredibly busy digestive organ.
Here are 6 foods to help you maintain a healthy gut:
Tumeric is a powerful antioxidant that helps with indigestion and reduces inflammation. It has also been used for centuries in both Ayurvedic (Indian), and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Nowadays, Tumeric teas are becoming very popular in coffee and tea houses, as a replacement for your traditional Chai Latte.
This is a traditional spicy Korean dish, which is made by fermenting vegetables like cabbage and radish, loading up the body with a healthy dose of lactobacilli (healthy bacteria). Easily made at home, this dish can be served on rice, or try it as a topping on a baked potato or scrambled eggs.
Beans, peas and lentils are one of the best sources of resistant starch, meaning that they’re high in fibre. Research from the Monash University in Victoria recommends slowly introducing legumes into the diet on a stage by stage basis, so your body has time to adjust to the high fibre content.
These three pungent-tasting prebiotic foods contain natural insulin, which is a starchy carbohydrate that feeds good bacteria to the gut. And new research has now shown you can add asparagus, fennel and beetroot to the list as natural-based insulin vegetables to help the gut.
Apples are loaded with natural pectin, which is a form of soluble fibre known to draw water from your digestive tract and form a gel-like paste in the body, helping slow digestion for better processing of foods in the gut.
Made from fermented soy beans, both miso and tempeh have been known to provide the body with a natural source of probiotics for the gut. Make sure you choose an unpasteurised miso, which you will need to store in the fridge. Tempeh can be used just is, or stir fry with your favourite veggies and rice.
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