‘Your gut is your second brain’ – as exaggerated as this statement sounds, it is, in fact, the truth. Keep aside the science part of it – but we’re sure you must have come across the phrase ‘butterflies in your stomach’ very often. Now, what is this phrase all about? It talks about how you feel when you’re nervous. The signals of this nervousness are transmitted from your brain to the gut – and that’s where you feel the tingly, butterflies!
So what does this indicate? In simplest words, there’s a connection between your brain and your gut – what happens in your brain can affect your gut and vice versa. And this brings us to the importance of gut health – because if your gut isn’t in prime health, your brain would suffer.
An unhealthy gut not only results in different digestive ailments but also leads to mental ailments such as depression and anxiety. There are many over-the-counter pills that claim to be excellent gut health boosters – but these pills are a temporary solution. Instead, what we need to do is look for a healthy, sustainable way to maintain our gut health. And the only way we can go about it is to include healthy, gut-friendly foods in our meals.
Let’s run you through some of the best foods that can help you maintain optimal gut health:
A breakfast staple across the world, oats work wonders for gut health. This is primarily because of the presence of beta-glucans in oats, which are a form of soluble fiber. Unlike tough fibers, soluble fibers are easier for our bodies to digest. They also form a gel-like substance that helps to get rid of toxins easily. The beta-glucans also help to stabilize blood sugar levels and maintain energy levels for a longer time.
Bananas are rich in prebiotics, which boost the production of healthy bacteria in the gut. They are the go-to food in case you’re suffering from digestive ailments such as diarrhea or constipation. The discomfort caused by these ailments is instantly alleviated by bananas, boosting the overall health of your mind and body immediately.
These tangy and sweet fruits are loaded with soluble fibre, vitamin C, and prebiotics. Thanks to their impressive nutritional profile, berries help deal with gut inflammation and related symptoms. The best part about berries is that you can add them easily to your meals for that instant burst of flavour and freshness. Whether it’s a fruit salad, smoothie, or any other dessert – berries are a welcome addition to your meals.
Yogurt is a powerhouse of probiotics and one of the best (and most suggested foods) to boost gut health. The probiotics in yogurt feature live microorganisms, which keep your gut happy and healthy. Yogurt is the perfect remedy for the simplest of digestive ailments like bloating. Even for more complex ailments such as irritable bowel syndrome or prolonged constipation, yogurt works wonders.
Apart from being rich in essential vitamins and minerals, green leafy veggies are loaded with fiber. So when they say ‘eat your greens’ – you actually need to take it seriously and ensure you have a lot of greens in your diet. The presence of gut-friendly nutrients in leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and broccoli make them apt for boosting gut health.
Well – water had to make it to this list! Because no matter how many gut-friendly foods you consume, none of it will be of use if your body is not amply hydrated. Drinks lots of water, as your body requires it to keep different parts functioning optimally – and your gut is one of them! Water also helps in better absorption of gut-friendly nutrients, and contributes to keeping your intestines clean and toxin-free.
The best part about all the foods we’ve listed above is that they are super easy to incorporate into your meals. You need to make conscious efforts to include these gut-friendly foods in your meals – and if you have three meals a day, try adding these foods in at least two of them in reasonable quantities. Overdoing anything isn’t going to help – so while you watch what you eat, you also need to be careful about the quantities in which you consume them. Good luck, or should we say, “gut luck” with being more mindful of the foods you consume!