The Gut Health Boosters

Posted by Pavithraa G on Tue, Jul 18, 2023  
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Human well-being completely depends on a healthy gut, as it prevents the occurrence of various diseases. The gut refers to the entire digestive system, beginning from the mouth till the colon. In this fast paced world, we tend to consume lots of unhealthy foods loaded with processed ingredients, causing harm to the gut in the long run. To cope with this, some nutrients or foods are very crucial in tackling the above said scenario. 


The prime nutrients or functional foods that aid in gut health are Dietary fiber, Prebiotics, Probiotics, Vitamin B12, Selenium and Magnesium. Consuming these gut health boosters daily will keep us away from lifestyle diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cardiac diseases etc.These are recommended only in smaller quantities, but their role is vital for the proper functioning of the gut. In order to achieve this, a balanced diet is said to be providing these super nutrients as per the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs). Adequate hydration is also needed to balance the normal functioning of the gut and the other organs.


Regular intake of processed or refined foods will lead to missing out on key nutrients that are needed for the gut’s functioning and maintenance. These foods, when consumed in the long run, deprive essential nutrients from the body. Living a sedentary lifestyle without engaging in any physical activity will also affect the gut health, as it will hamper the normal functioning of the body. Any kind of activity for a shorter duration will also keep us active and helps to flush out the harmful toxins.


Dietary fibers are of two types namely Soluble and Insoluble fibers. The former dissolves in water and the latter doesn’t, thus the name soluble and insoluble fiber. A diet; rich in adequate fiber ensures flushing out the excess nutrients that are not needed by our body. Soluble fiber present in food sources like psyllium, barley, beans, quinoa, peas, fig etc. forms a gel like material and helps to reduce excess glucose and cholesterol levels in our body. On the other hand, insoluble fiber is present in beans, lentils, nuts, oilseeds, whole grains etc. helps to add bulk to the diet and relieves irregular bowel habits and constipation. Fiber helps in improving gut health by excreting the excess nutrients and toxins out of our bodies. Consuming a variety of foods from each food group will help us to achieve our dietary fiber needs. 


Prebiotics are functional compounds that serve as a food for the beneficial gut microbiota. They are found in bananas, apples, mushrooms, onions, oats, garlic etc. Regular intake of these foods will nourish the beneficial microbiota in the gut, which in turn helps to regulate and maintain a healthy body and mind.


Probiotics contain live microorganisms which when consumed replaces or alters the defected microbiota in the gut and also acts as a food for them. Fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, kombucha, buttermilk etc. are known to have enough quantities of these beneficial microbial strains. So, consuming any of these ensures a healthy gut.


Micronutrients such as Vitamin B12, Selenium and Magnesium are as equally important as the above listed nutrients or functional foods. Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) present in food sources like Salmon, Spirulina, nutritional yeast, goat liver, chicken liver etc. enhances the gut’s ability to absorb iron, thereby improving the gut health. Both selenium and magnesium guards the gut from inflammation and helps it to function effectively. Some of the Selenium rich foods are Brazil nuts, tuna, whole egg, shrimp, chicken liver and Magnesium is present in Cacao powder, Rice bran, Seaweed, Basil, Hemp seeds, Wheat bran, Pumpkin seeds, Watermelon seeds etc.


Thus, regular intake of all the six key nutrients or functional foods will help the gut to act as a barrier to toxins, reduce inflammation, enhance immunity, improve overall health and maintain a healthy digestive system.


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