In recent years, there has been a lot of research done on gut health and how it affects your overall well-being — from your heart to your muscles. Although there is much more research to be done, we do know that there are certain foods you can eat that can help your gut health. Here’s a rundown of seven gut healthy foods and why they should be on your shopping list.
A Look at the Human Gut
The human gut has about 100 trillion microbial cells, which is about 10 times more than the rest of the human body. These microbial cells include bacteria, viruses, fungi, archae, and eurokaryotes, and are collectively known as the microbiome. Researchers are studying these microbes to see how their genes may affect human health.
Your microbiome starts to develop after you’re born. By the age of 3, a toddler’s microbiome is similar to an adult’s. Your gut is composed of helpful and harmful microorganisms, specifically bacteria. Some of the bacteria are good, helping to breakdown food and some are harmful, causing illness. The digestive tract can handle a certain number of microorganisms at a time. By eating foods with live, active cultures that act as probiotics, you can add gut-friendly bacteria and reduce the number of harmful bacteria. Probiotics are fueled by prebiotics that are derived from carbohydrates that can’t be digested by humans. To maintain gut health, you should eat a combination of foods that provide both prebiotics and probiotics.