Your gut is brilliant. It has literally been called the second ‘brain’ of the body. The term “second brain” refers to the ongoing discoveries that intestinal flora, or friendly gut bacteria, influences our mental acuity and health profoundly. But your gut needs some help taking all that stuff from ‘out there’ and making it work ‘in here.’ Your gut needs good food.
Feeding your body the right foods can help this command center work for your benefit instead of struggle. You can help your body boost immunity, manufacture neurotransmitters and other proteins you need for survival, repair cells, and absorb nutrients which allow you to carry out tasks as diverse as running a mile to getting a good night’s sleep.
Instead of eating sugar-laden, chemically-saturated, GM, processed foods, try these 6 foods to help support gut health:
An anti-bacterial and anti-fungal powerhouse, garlic leaves your healthy gut bacteria unharmed, unlike antibiotics. It is known as a pre-biotic for this quality, actually feeding on healthy bacteria and leaving the gut clean like a good housekeeper. Garlic is most effective when consumed raw, not in powder form. You can cut up a few cloves and add them to your favorite recipes for a little kick, or even try making garlic, honey, and lemon tea to boost immunity significantly.
Check out the awesome health benefits of garlic here.
Another prebiotic is asparagus, a tasty vegetable that looks like miniature trees. Widely used as a digestive aid, asparagus is rich in inulin, a type of carbohydrate also known as a poly fructan. It differs from regular carbs because it does not get broken down in the digestive tract. Inulin passes through all the way to the large intestine.
It also acts as a food source for good bacteria, helping them to proliferate and crowd out the bad bacteria. Lastly, asparagus can help the body absorb nutrients as well as improve allergies.
You can use both the red beet and the greens to support digestive regularity. Beets also keep the digestive tract lining and muscles smooth so that they can function their best. Additionally, beets are nutritionally loaded, offering a great source of both potassium and magnesium. The greens offer iron, calcium and beta-carotene as well.
Due to banana’s superfood qualities, this fruit is already a favorite for many to consume. Bananas are a natural antacid that can protect the stomach from ulcers. The fruit triggers cells in the stomach lining to create a thick and protective mucus barrier that keeps stomach acids out.
Additionally, bananas contain soluble fiber to help move food through the intestines, and are an excellent source of potassium.
The old saying that an apple a day keeps the doctor away is actually true. Apples are a great boon to the digestive system, keeping healthful bacteria plentiful. In fact, apples have a positive impact on two bacteria in the large intestine, which creates changes in metabolism in the digestive system.
They also provide a good source of dietary fiber and combine with nutrients that help protect the heart and regulate both blood and fat cells.
6. Sweet Potatoes
Full of important vitamins and minerals like vitamin B6, potassium, and iron, these little tubers are an amazing nutritional base, doing wonders for the digestive tract. They are also another great source of dietary fiber (especially when you leave the skin on.)
In fact, you get more dietary fiber in a single medium-sized potato than in an entire bowl of oatmeal.
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.