Best foods for a healthy gut
I want to share with you some of the best foods to eat for a healthy gut. Before we get to the specific foods, let’s talk about why your gut health matters.
Your gut health is so important to the overall health of your body. If you have a healthy gut, chances are you also have a healthy body. However, poor gut health might be the root cause behind some of your other health problems, ranging from physical to mental health issues. So, if you find yourself getting sick frequently and are not sure why, or you have brain fog and trouble focusing, it might be because you have an unhealthy gut.
Factors that affect your gut health
Your gut health is affected by various factors such as the environment, certain medications, and of course, your diet. Because it can be hard to control external factors like the environment, the easiest way to heal your gut is to heal your diet. When it comes to diet, there are two main things I want to talk about. The first one is probiotics. You might have heard of probiotics before. They are the healthy gut bacteria that live in your gut microbiome. Foods that are rich in probiotics tend to be fermented foods. A food is fermented by leaving it out on the counter for a long enough period of time that it’s exposed to bacteria and yeast. Of course, you can’t ferment every single kind of food.
For instance, you can’t just leave a chicken out on your counter and hope that after ten days it’ll be fermented and good for you. It’ll give you Salmonella, so don’t try it. On the other hand, you can ferment lots of vegetables, and that’s why it’s great for a vegan diet. The second part of your diet that I want to talk about is fiber. Dietary fiber acts as food for those probiotics, enabling them to grow.
Healthy gut bacteria
And the reason you want healthy gut bacteria to grow is that the more you have and the more diverse your bacteria are, the healthier your gut will be. This means you are less likely to have chronic illnesses and inflammation.
You can find dietary fiber in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. So, if you are eating a vegan diet, particularly a whole foods-based vegan diet, you will have no problem getting enough fiber.
Foods that contain probiotics
Now that we have talked about probiotics, let’s discuss foods that contain probiotics. Of course, you can take a probiotic supplement, but they can be expensive, particularly the higher-end brands. If you want to heal your gut through food only and save some money, here are some great plant-based foods that are full of probiotics.
A rich source of probiotics is sauerkraut, which is simply fermented cabbage. You might have had sauerkraut on a burger or hot dog before, and my favorite way is actually to pair it with a kale salad, some creamy salad dressing, and a bunch of nuts and seeds. The combination of textures and flavors is really delicious.
The next food on our healthy gut list is kimchi. It’s salted and fermented cabbage, usually Napa cabbage and Korean radishes, and it’s then flavored with chili powder and a bunch of other seasonings. It’s really delicious, and like sauerkraut, you can make it at home and ferment it at home, or you can buy it at the store. Typically, I pair kimchi with some Asian-flavored food like ramen or rice, but you can put it on a sandwich or burger or really anything.
The next food on our list is tempeh, which is whole fermented soybeans. I talked a lot about the nutritional benefits of this superfood in an earlier video on “Where Do Vegans Get Their Protein From?” so if you want to check that out and learn more about tempeh.
Probiotics in Yogurt and Kefir
Our next source of probiotics is plant-based yogurt and kefir. You may have heard that traditional dairy yogurt is a great source of probiotics, and it is, but it’s not the dairy that’s the source of probiotics. It’s the live active cultures that are used to make yogurt. So, most plant-based yogurts and kefirs also have a high source of probiotics.
These are two of my favorite plant-based yogurts and kefirs. One is almond milk-based, and the other is coconut milk-based. If you look at the ingredients, you will see that there are live active cultures in them. Just try to stick to unsweetened yogurts or yogurts with a low amount of sugar because you want to make sure that the bacteria in your gut are feasting on the probiotics, not on the sugar.
Next up on our probiotic list is miso. Miso is a traditional Japanese condiment made of fermented soybeans. Of course, you’ve had miso in miso soup, which is served at Japanese restaurants, but I also like to put miso in salad dressings, marinades, and sauces. I actually put a little bit of miso in my vegan cheese sauce because it adds that extra umami flavor.
What about olives?
Next up on our healthy gut list are olives. Once olives are soaked in brine, which is a solution of water and salt, the healthy bacteria causes them to ferment, making them a good source of probiotics. So, if you love olives as much as I do, take this as your excuse to eat as many as you want. Another salty favorite of mine is pickles. You want to make sure, though, that you’re buying pickles that have been pickled in saltwater, not in vinegar. If they’ve been pickled in vinegar, they’re not going to have the fermentation process, and you won’t be getting any probiotics.
Pickles as a source of probiotics
Saltwater pickles are typically sold in the refrigerated section and may carry a label that says “active cultures”. Vinegar pickles are usually sold in the shelf-stable aisle of the grocery store. Last but not least, my favorite source of probiotics is kombucha.
Kombucha is actually a black or green tea, fermented by a colony of bacteria and yeast. You can buy kombucha at the store or make it at home. Now that we have talked about foods that are rich in probiotics, I want to quickly talk about prebiotics.
As I mentioned earlier, probiotics are live microorganisms and they need food to grow and flourish. The food they eat usually comes in the form of dietary fiber, also referred to as prebiotics. Some of the best sources of prebiotics are onions, garlic, artichokes, asparagus, leeks, sweet potatoes, bananas, legumes, and whole grains.
You get the point: stuff that vegans would eat anyway. But I do want to mention two of my favorite sources of prebiotics because they might surprise you that they’re good for your gut. If you’re like me, you probably don’t need any excuse to eat more chocolate, but here’s just another excuse. Chocolate is actually a probiotic food because when you eat chocolate, the healthy gut bacteria in your microbiome ferment the compounds in cocoa. I don’t know about you, but that certainly makes me feel better about all the times I’ve eaten a dark chocolate bar in one sitting. It happens all the time, like once a week, so I feel better now.
Surprise: Red wine and healthy gut
The last prebiotic I want to talk to you about that might surprise you is red wine. You might have heard that red wine is good for your heart, but it’s also good for your gut. Like cocoa, red wine encourages the healthy gut bacteria to grow in your gut.
Of course, I feel obligated to tell you to drink responsibly and not treat red wine as your sole source of prebiotics. Make sure you also eat vegetables and all that stuff. So, the next time you have a glass of red wine and a piece of dark chocolate, or a few pieces of dark chocolate, give yourself a pat on the back because you’re doing your gut and your health a big favor.
Well, that does it for my video on foods to eat for a healthy gut. If you think this video is informative, helpful, or learned something new, I would love it if you hit that “thumbs up” button as well as that “subscribe” button so I know that you’re enjoying these videos. If you want to talk more about gut health or if you have questions, leave me a comment below, and I would love to talk to you. Alright, I’ll see you guys next week. Thanks for watching. Read More: Plant-Based Keto Vegan | What I Eat In A Day #veganketo.
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