Maintaining robust gut health is fundamental to our overall well-being. To optimize your gut health, it’s essential to adopt a balanced diet that features fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Plant-based diets, renowned for their nutritional value, have gained remarkable popularity.
Dr. Yogesh Gupta, who is a Sr. Consultant Physician, at Sterling Hospitals, Gurukul said, “Remember almost 70 to 80 percent chronic disease like autoimmune disease, diabetes, blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome, inflamatory bowel disease are all related to gut. Better is your gut chances of prevention and control is very high.”
Strategies To Incorporate Nourishing Elements Into Your Meals:
Dr. Yogesh Gupta went on to list several effective strategies to incorporate these nourishing elements into your meals:
Diversify Nutrient Intake: Broaden your dietary choices by including a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Each type of plant food contains distinct fibers and nutrients that contribute to gut health.
Embrace Fiber-Rich Foods: Fiber plays a pivotal role in maintaining a healthy gut. It regulates bowel movements and supports the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. Include foods like oats, brown rice, whole wheat, lentils, and beans in your daily fare.
Explore Fermented Foods: Fermented foods are replete with probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that aid digestion and promote gut health. Plant-based options such as kimchi, tempeh, and miso are excellent choices. You can even try making your own fermented foods at home. Those who have joint pain and bad acidity issue should not try this.
Incorporate Prebiotic Foods: Prebiotics are indigestible fibers that nourish beneficial gut bacteria. They act as a “microbial fertilizer,” stimulating the growth of good bacteria. Many fruits like berries and bananas, as well as foods like garlic, onions, leeks, and asparagus, are rich in prebiotics. Curd and butter milk are excellent choice
Include Whole Grains: Whole grains like quinoa, bulgur, and barley provide both fiber and nutrients that support a healthy gut while helping maintain stable blood sugar levels. Even multi grain is a good choice
Add Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, chia seeds, flaxseeds, and walnuts are rich sources of healthy fats, fiber, and antioxidants that promote gut health. Incorporate them into smoothies, salads, or snacks. Adding chia seeds and fennel is an excellent choice to prevent and treat gastritis.
Prioritize Leafy Greens: Greens such as spinach and kale are packed with essential vitamins and minerals. They also contain specific nutrients like folate, vitamin C, vitamin K, and vitamin A, which foster a diverse gut microbiome and reduce inflammation.
Proper Preparation Matters: Cooking and preparing plant-based foods appropriately can improve digestibility and enhance nutrient absorption. Techniques like soaking, sprouting, or fermenting certain foods can boost their nutritional value.
How to enhance gut health with plant-based food
Vedika Premnani, who is a clinical dietician at Sir H.N. Reliance Foundation Hospital, Mumbai shared tips on how to enhance gut health with plant-based food:
- Include plenty of fibre-rich foods: Plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts are excellent sources of dietary fibre. Fibre aids in digestion, promotes regular bowel movements, and supports overall gut health. Aim to consume a variety of these foods daily.
- Eat fermented foods: Fermented plant-based foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, and miso contain probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that support gut health. Including these foods in your diet can help populate your gut with healthy microbes, enhancing digestion and nutrient absorption.
- Consume prebiotic-rich foods: Prebiotics are types of fibre that feed the good bacteria in your gut, promoting their growth and activity. Foods like onions, garlic, leeks, bananas, asparagus, and artichokes are rich in prebiotics. Including these foods in your meals can help nourish the beneficial bacteria in your gut.
- Incorporate fermented drinks: Consuming fermented plant-based beverages like kombucha, kefir, and coconut-kefir can introduce beneficial bacteria and yeasts into your gut, supporting a healthy microbiome.
- Focus on whole and minimally processed foods: Choosing minimally processed, whole plant-based foods ensure that you are getting a nourishing array of nutrients, antioxidants, and phytochemicals that promote gut health. These foods also tend to be higher in fibre, which is crucial for a healthy gut.
- Limit refined sugars and processed foods: High levels of refined sugars can disrupt the balance of bacteria in the gut, potentially leading to an imbalance in the microbiome. Minimize your intake of sugary foods, refined grains as they can negatively impact gut health.
- Experiment with fermented plant-based alternatives to dairy: If you follow a plant-based diet and cannot consume traditional fermented foods based on dairy due to dietary restrictions; explore fermented plant-based alternatives like tofu, non-dairy yogurt made from plant milks such as oat milk, coconut milk and even plant-base cheeses such as cashew cheese.
- Stay hydrated: Drinking adequate water throughout the day is essential for maintaining optimal gut health. Water helps with digestion, nutrient absorption, and the overall functions of the gastrointestinal tract.
Tips To Keep Gut Healthy:
Varsha Krishna Gade, who is a Consultant Dietitian, at Motherhood Hospitals, Kharadi shared tips to keep gut healthy
- The health of our gut plays a crucial role in our overall well-being, from digestion to immunity. While many of us understand the importance of a healthy gut, we may not always know how to keep it in optimal condition. One key tip is to incorporate fiber-rich foods into your diet. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes are a good option for you.
- Stress can disrupt the balance of bacteria in our gut and impair digestion. Engaging in stress-reducing activities such as yoga or meditation can help alleviate this negative impact on our digestive system. Additionally, exercising daily and getting enough sleep is essential for maintaining a healthy gut. Lack of sleep has been linked to an imbalance in the gut microbiome and increased inflammation in the intestinal tract.
- Avoiding processed foods and sugar will greatly benefit your gut health. These types of foods can promote the growth of harmful bacteria while hindering the growth of beneficial ones. Instead, opt for whole foods that are rich in nutrients and promote a diverse microbiome within your gut.
- It’s easy to overlook the basics, like staying hydrated. Everyone should make a point to replenish their electrolytes and minerals regularly. Additionally, drinking enough water can help prevent overeating and manage weight gain. So, it should be your top priority to protect the gut.