Today we’re talking about the gut. Not your uncle’s beer gut, but the anatomical structure.
The gut is the GI tract, the digestive system, the processing plant of your body. It’s made up of several organs including the mouth, esophagus, stomach, liver, intestine, colon, and rectum. These internal systems all work in tandem to ingest food and absorb its essential components to hydrate and fuel your body.
Your gut also fights off harmful diseases through acidic sterilization and friendly bacterial fauna. The gut communicates with your brain directly over how much food and water to consume, as well as certain stress signals, making it a core component in mental health as well.
Since the gut is intrinsically connected to both physical and psychological wellbeing, taking good care of your GI tract through proper diet and exercise is essential to personal health. Studies have shown that even moderate exercise has a positive effect on gut operation, but what does recent research say we should be eating to tune up our tummies? If you guessed probiotics, you’re only half right.
What goes on in the gut?
Don’t wig out, but you have billions of living organisms residing inside you. The multiple organs composing the gut are covered in “microbiomes,” entire internal ecosystems of simple-cell life-forms.
These are natural communities of healthy bacteria that humans, have evolved with in tandem over millennia. Each bacterial colony plays its own role or function, and as such your diet can directly affect the balance of these biomes.
To help keep gut bacteria in proper order, there are two specific groups of foods that GI experts recommend: probiotics and prebiotics.
Pick out probiotic foods
You’ve almost certainly heard some buzz surrounding probiotics, as they’ve been a nebulous media darling for a few years. We’ve even talked about them before here if you need a refresher.
Probiotic foods naturally contain live bacterial cultures, usually due to fermentation for either preservation or flavor transformation purposes. These live bacteria match the strains already present or meant to be present in the human gut, both replacing dead cells and supporting live ones.
There’s little evidence that probiotic foods provide support to those with healthy GI tracts, but people experiencing IBS or going through antibiotic treatment have experienced reduced symptoms with probiotic support.
Here are some great probiotic foods you can grab! Some brands of these items may remove live cultures through pasteurization during processing, so be sure to check their labels carefully:
Fill up on prebiotic foods
The lesser-known sibling of probiotics, prebiotics are special strains of fiber that the human body can’t naturally break down. Instead, they pass through the gut and feed the healthy bacterial biomes in our stomach and colon, which in turn produce nutrients that our bodies can and do need.
Prebiotics are common in many fruits and vegetables. These contain complex carbohydrates and encourage gut production of short-chain fatty acids like butyrate, acetate, and propionate.
Here are five professionally prebiotic foods for gut health. Prebiotics are essential to probiotic regimens, as it won’t matter how many bacteria you have if you’re not feeding them anything!
5. Whole Oats
While the markets for both pre and probiotic supplements continue to grow, the evidence surrounding them does not.
The best foods for gut health are still those occurring naturally that promote the growth of friendly GI bacteria.
Eating a diet rich in prebiotics and probiotics can help balance gut issues, support healthy internal functions, and improve mood! Get your GI going!
Farm to Fit Meals
Our signature mix of savory roasted nuts and flakes topped with seasonal fruit and creamy, natural Greek yogurt. Good morning! (Emphasis on Good.)
Tangy, tender marinated chicken served on mashed parsnips, bacon-seared chef’s vegetable and topped with spicy-sweet Asian pear salsa. That’s a lot of flavor fit on to one plate.
Prime Rib & Sweet Potato Hash
Who could have trouble getting out of bed when they know you have a hearty hash like this waiting? Topped with a folded egg and house-made hot sauce.
Meticulously marinated beef, rich red wine cabbage, and roasted parsnip-apple mash. Prost!
Farm to Fit Kitchen Salad
Color us impressed! Roasted chickpeas, edamame, cucumber, red bell pepper, rainbow carrots, grilled chicken, blue cheese, and baby spinach — all tossed with roast Walla Walla onion dressing.
What People are Saying
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both have their advantages and drawbacks, but there’s no reason to think you should have to choose between one or the other. We took a look at cardio vs. weight training to try and understand what the difference really is.
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