Did you know your gut health is critical for overall good health? That's right! If your digestive system is not well, neither is your immune system and the rest of your body. It is important to keep your gut healthy by eating foods that help keep your digestive tract in tip top shape. Before I share with you gut-friendly foods to incorporate into your routine, here is how you can tell if your gut is not healthy.
Not having a daily bowel movement. That's right! You should poop at least once a day, ideally within 2 hours of waking. If this is not happening, your gut is not healthy. When you eat enough fiber daily, you will have a bowel movement daily. This means eating 25 - 30 grams of fiber per day. How do you get fiber? Fruits and vegetables and beans.
Stomach disturbances such as gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea and heartburn. If you have any of these disturbances frequently, it is an indication that there isn't enough good bacteria in your gut to help process food that you've eaten.
Insomnia. Really? Yes, insomnia. Turns out our gut produces serotonin, which is the hormone that affects mood and sleep. If the gut is not healthy, it can't produce serotonin to help you sleep. (Source: Healthline)
In addition to the above, when your gut is unhealthy it can cause inflammation through-out the body. When there is inflammation in the body, the immune system tries to resolve it. If the immune system is busy trying to reduce inflammation, it will become tired and weak, leaving it unable to help fight disease and infection.
To support a healthy gut, eating specific foods and taking a probiotic daily, is recommended. Probiotics contain good bacteria that keeps the gut bacteria balanced and healthy. Probiotics will help your body fight any bad bacteria that is present. It can take your body a couple of days to get used to taking a probiotic, so start with a product that has between 3-5 billion colony forming units (CFUs). Look for a product that contains Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, the most populous species of good bacteria in our gut. What is the best probiotic for gut health? The one that works for you! This means it is a product that doesn't give you excess gas or upset your stomach. Below are a few products I like:
SoliMo Probiotic 5 Billion CFU
Nature's Bounty Probiotic 10
Philips Probiotic 1.5 Billion CFUs per capsule
Eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and limiting meat intake is one of the easiest ways to support your overall digestive health. Here are some guidelines to follow daily:
Eat something green. Green vegetables will help keep your gut healthy by providing chlorophyll, which helps lower inflammation in the body, including the gut. Think broccoli, spinach, green beans, arugula and celery.
Eat Fiber. The average person only gets 10-15 grams of fiber daily. Recall that we need 25-35 grams daily. This means eating more fruits, vegetables and beans.
Eat fruit. Fruit can make a really easy mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack. Fruit can be included in recipes for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Think bran cereal with blueberries or an arugula salad with strawberries.
Drink plenty of clean water. Water is necessary to keep things moving. If waste is allowed to stay in the body, it can help promote bad bacteria growth. Drink half your weight in ounces everyday. For example, if you weigh 150 lbs, drink 75 ounces of water daily. Herbal tea counts towards this total.
To help you achieve the above guidelines, I've included recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner below. But before we go to the recipes, if you liked reading this post, there is a way to get healthy living tips and recipes for free! Follow my blog on Bloglovin.
You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram to see what I am up to.
RECIPES FOR BREAKFAST
Green Breakfast Smoothie from The Endless Meal. Spinach is the main star in this smoothie! Click here for the recipe.
Ultimate Gut Health Smoothie from Hello Glow. This smoothie adds aloe vera juice, known for gut healing properties. Click here for the recipe.
Best Overnight Oats 8 Ways from Life Made Sweeter. Overnight oats are a huge time saver for busy mornings. Here are 8 ways to make them. Click here for the recipes.
Spinach Kale Chia Muffins from The Healthy Chef. Think muffins are always about fruit? This recipe proves vegetables are great for breakfast. Click here for the recipe.
RECIPES FOR LUNCH OR DINNER
Chicken and Broccoli Stir-fry from Dinner at the Zoo. If you or someone in your family has to have meat, this is a great compromise. Why? If you would like to try a vegetarian version, simply cook the chicken in a sperate pan and then put it on top of the veggies and rice. This recipe is ready in 30 minutes. Click here for the recipe.
Mexican Cauliflower from Vegan in Freezer. I love this recipe because it is so versatile. Use it to add more veggies for a meatless stir-fry or use it as the meat substitute in tacos. Click here for the recipe.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts from The Food Charlatan. Another great option for a meatless meal, lunch or a side dish. Click here for the recipe.
Lemon Pasta with Arugula from Proud Italian Cook. I throw arugula in almost everything! It has a great peppery taste and wilts quickly, like spinach. Click here for the recipe.
Chickpeas and Turmeric Basmati Rice from Oh My Veggies. A dish that can easily be lunch or dinner option. With the very popular spice turmeric. I would add in some frozen chopped spinach to add a green food to it. Click here for the recipe.
Chopped Kale Power Salad from She Likes Food. A great way to get in greens and lots of fiber! Click here for the recipe.
Mexican Grilled Chicken Salad from A Spicy Perspective. This salad has the key elements of greens, vegetables and chicken for those who prefer to eat meat. Click here for the recipe.
Grilled Chicken and Portobello Mushroom Salad from The Spruce Eats. Chicken and mushrooms, need I say more? Click here for the recipe.
I hope you enjoyed this post on eating for gut health! If you try any of the recipes above, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram as @heather_lee_donahue and use the #heathershealthhabits hashtag. I love seeing your takes on the recipes I share.