Hola Happy Eaters,

Today, I want us to go on an exploration of your gut (aka our intestines). Actually, taking care of your gut health is one of the single most important mindful living habits that you can adopt. In the Mindful Nutrition Blog, I will post a 5 part series on Gut-Health that will explore in-depth the key components for achieving gut health and well-balanced digestion. Why is gut health so important?

Our intestines are lined with millions of bacteria (mostly good, some bad). The good bacteria are called Probiotics. The bacteria in our gut not only affect our bowel movements and digestion, but they can also affect our skin, mood, and energy level. If you want to feel super-strong and energized, then I recommended that you put your gut health first.

Tell-tell signs that your gut health/good bacteria is out of balance:

  • Abdominal bloating and cramps associated with excess gas
  • Frequent diarrhea or soft stools
  • General indigestion
  • Constipation
  • Skin Irritations (breakouts and acne)
  • Eczema (studies are not conclusive about this, but a well balanced diet is key for supple and hydrated skin)
  • Low Energy
  • Depression or Anxiety
  • Diagnosis of IBS, Peptic Ulcer, Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative and (C-. Difficile) Colitis, H. Pylori, Pancreatitis
  • Frequent Urinary Track and Yeast Infections

Illustration created by: https://www.behance.net/gallery/24677767/Digestive-System-Infographic

It is mind-blowing to think of how much your gut health affects your overall health and sense of well-being. The great thing about your gut is that you are in control of what you put in it.

To have a healthier gut and better digestion, I recommended that you have a diet that is:

1.High in fruits and vegetables

Eat AT LEAST 3-5 portions of vegetables every day. What counts as a portion vegetable?

  • 1 cup of leafy greens
  • ½ a cup of sautéed or steamed vegetables ( squash,sweet potato, bell pepper, broccoli)

2. High in soluble/insoluble fiber

What are some foods that are high in fiber?

  • Fruits & Vegetables
  • Whole Grains ( oatmeal, millet, quinoa, barley, buckwheat, amaranth, brown rice, wild rice)
  • Pulses & Legumes ( beans, chickpeas, sprouts)
  • Seeds & Nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds)

3. Low in highly processed food/added artificial sweeteners

If you can’t read it, don’t eat it

I always recommend that you look at the nutrition label of all the foods you purchase. If it contains a long list of ingredients that include chemicals or artificial colorings/sweeteners, then you don’t want to be eating it. Most of the ingredients on a food label, should be made from whole foods.

Here are some examples of foods that claim to be healthy but are  filled with artificial ingredients that do not support your health! The ingredients highlighted in red are not health supportive. I recommend that you limit or eliminate them from your diet.

Lean Cuisine is not health supportive

 

Protein Bars from NutriSystem are not health supportive 

Weight Watchers Cereal contains some great ingredients but it also contains many artificial ingredients that are not health supportive!

Skip the artificial, processed foods. Eat whole foods that support your digestive health! 

4. Rich in probiotic/prebiotic foods  

What are some foods rich in probiotics?

  • Yogurt ( organic dairy, cashew, almond, or coconut milk yogurt)
  • Kefir ( cashew or organic dairy)
  • Kimchi ( Korean fermented cabbage)
  • Miso
  • Kombucha

5. High in anti-inflammatory foods

Photo by Chinh Le Duc on Unsplash

What are some anti-inflammatory foods?

  • Berries (blueberry, raspberry, blackberry)
  • Green leafy veggies
  • Cruciferous vegetables (like cauliflower or broccoli)
  • Turmeric and ginger
  • Foods that are not deep fried
  • Healthy Fats ( avocado and extra-virgin olive oil)
  • Papaya

In our next post, we will dive into Part 1 of the Digestive Health Series, where we will explore probiotics and their health benefits!

As always, if you have any questions or feedback feel free to reach out to me in the comments section. You can also connect with me via twitter, facebook, instagram or email.  I love hearing from you.  Don’t forget to tag your foodie adventures #aliceinfoodieland. Thank you for your support!

Cheers to Happy Eating+ Mindful Living

Alice