We are learning more and more how important gut health is and that the immune system, to a large extent, resides in the gut. That's why it's critically important to nurture the gut to maintain optimal health.
Most of us have compromised guts due to a variety of factors including diets high in processed, refined foods, antibiotic use, and chlorinated/flouridated water consumption. Our ancestors ate diets that were naturally supportive of gut health in that the food they ate was fresh, seasonal, home-cooked, unprocessed, whole, and naturally raised. Changing one's diet to improve gut health can address a whole slew of health issues and bring relief from chronic digestive problems.
Here are a few things you can do right away to improve your gut health and be on your way to better overall health.
- Choose whole, fresh, organic or naturally-raised foods..
- Reduce or eliminate processed foods, especially those with refined ingredients such as white flour and sugar or those containing synthetic chemicals.
- Enjoy 3 – 5 servings of vegetables and 2 – 4 servings of fruit daily.
- At meal times, fill half your plate with vegetables.
- Add probiotic foods to your daily diet plan. Probiotic foods include kefir, yogurt, cultured vegetables, kombucha, miso or tempeh.
- Add 2 oz (1/4 cup) of cultured vegetables to any meal of the day. Cultured vegetables are raw vegetables that have been cultured or fermented for period of time. Sauerkraut is a cultured vegetable but you can culture just about any vegetable.
- Add bitter greens to salads such as dandelion or arugula.
- Use coconut oil for cooking and baking rather than highly refined oils.
- Select whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, or millet, and soak them for at least 8 hours before cooking to reduce the phytic acid, a component which interferes with mineral absorption. Our ancestors did this as a matter of course but we have forgotten this important step in grain preparation, to our detriment.
- Use fresh lemons or limes in drinks or recipes.
- Eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly.
- Stay hydrated…drink lots of pure, non-chlorinated or filtered water throughout the day.
- Take a high-quality probiotic supplement.