There’s much talk of gut health swirling in the media, but it can be tricky to make sense of it all. As it turns out, your intestines do hold the key to the health of your entire body. If you’re a victim of tummy troubles, here are some tips to help you go with your gut.
It’s quickly becoming a nutrition buzzword, but what the heck is the microbiome? Basically, it’s any environment where microorganisms live and interact with their surroundings. In simple terms for the gut, it’s the environment within your digestive tract. Keeping your intestines heavily populated with healthy bacteria not only promotes digestive health, but also boosts immunity and protects the entire body. Regularly consuming healthy bacteria in the form of probiotics helps to maintain a triumphant gut microbiome.
Probiotics are found in cultured and fermented foods. Yogurt is arguably the most-mainstream choice, but there are some other tasty options.
Kombucha: Certainly an acquired taste, this fermented tea has become wildly popular and is now available in a wide variety of flavors.
Kefir: Similar to yogurt, with a more drinkable consistency, kefir is a wonderful addition to smoothies, oatmeal, dips and baked goods.
Kimchi: This spicy Korean condiment will help your digestive health, as well as clear out your sinuses!
Pickles and Sauerkraut: No, they aren’t just to quell the cravings of pregnant women. Many jarred and canned products you find on store shelves have undergone processing that destroys the probiotics, so check labels on your favorite brands or try Farmhouse Culture.
Probiotic-Infused Foods: You can now find more and more foods being fortified with probiotics, including infant cereal and protein bars. Attune Chocolate Bars (yes, chocolate!) are infused with a plentiful amount of probiotics and are available in milk and dark chocolate and various other delicious flavors, including coconut and mint.
Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.