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All that you need to know about Superfoods and GI health!

Do you suffer from bad gut health or the sudden pangs of aches? Maybe they are accompanied by constipation, bad digestion, nausea, bloating, low energy levels, or even blood in the stool. But why does that happen? And how can you heal a bad gut naturally without pumping chemicals into your body? Do these superfoods actually work wonders in actively healing your gut health? Let’s find out.

GI or your Gastrointestinal tract is also commonly referred to as the digestive tract or the gut of your body. It includes all the body parts required to intake, digest and excrete the foods. Like, the mouth, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, intestines (small and large), and anus. All these organs have their unique sets of properties and functions. However, there are a few common features of all these organs – the presence of bacteria. There is a mixture of bacteria, viruses, and fungi in your body that can count up to 40 trillion. This is known as the microbiome.

And no, this is not something to be wary about. There are good bacteria and bad bacteria as well in your GI. Let’s get a bit into it for a better and clearer understanding. Our body consists of more bacteria than cells. The count of bacteria exceeds that of body cells by ten trillion. This growth of bacteria starts multiplying from the very moment we are born. The beneficial gut bacteria help in breaking down the food particles and non-digestible dietary fibers, to induce the process of digestion. It further helps the body in maintaining good health by releasing digestive enzymes which help boost nutritional absorption. Furthermore, they also help in – boosting immune health, reducing diabetes, improving metabolism, rejuvenating skin health, and maintaining the health of the brain and nervous system. These healthful bacteria assist in maintaining a healthy gut flora which helps ward off infections and harmful pathogens.

There are numerous good bacteria that help benefit your body. Most common of them are the bifidobacteria and lactobacilli. This is what the gut microbiome consists of.

What are the symptoms of gut problems?

Symptoms of gut health problems generally include signs of bloating, abdominal pain, digestive problems, nausea, constipation, and sometimes even chest pains. Sometimes, untreated gut problems can lead up to severe symptoms like severe fever, unbearable stomach pains, heavy vomiting, blood in the stool, pain while swallowing, sleep disturbances, unhealthy weight gain or loss, etc. 

Try to look out for all these symptoms which might indicate a problem in your gut. And if it is not treated quickly, it can lead to energy depletion, burnout, sleep loss, and other health problems.

What is the role of food and its effects on gut flora?

Ever since our birth, whatever we consume shows a direct effect on the gut microbiota. Starting with breastmilk that we consumed as a child. It is not only a nutrition-rich diet for babies, but it also helps the gut microbiome to flourish and strengthen. Thus, helping the infant develop a strong immune system and gut health to fight off infections, asthma, bowel problems, neurodevelopmental issues and other chronic diseases.

Similarly, the contaminated or processed foods that we consume on a regular basis also leads to a negative effect on our bodies. Causing an influx of harmful bacteria and viruses that disturb the healthful gut flora. These bacteria and germs cause the body to react harshly, inducing fever, belly aches, vomiting, nausea, and all the symptoms that come with an unhealthy gut microbiome. Your diet can thus influence your gut microbiome. And these changes are mostly temporary and your body’s immunity tackles the bacteria and virus influx with the help of safe probiotic-infused supplements. At the same time if you don’t treat your gut health problems sooner, then these alterations to your gut microbiota would shift to a more permanent state. Causing severe damage to both your mental and physical health. However, even in the temporary state, it is still risky and may have an adverse impact on your immune health, energy levels, and stamina. 

So, what sorts of foods should you consume to establish a thriving intestinal flora and good digestive health? The gastrointestinal health of the body is very important as we have discussed earlier and it needs proper nutrients, prebiotics, and probiotics to function better. And the best way to ensure proper nourishment to the gut is through nutrient and prebiotic + probiotic-rich superfoods.

Why are some foods categorized as superfoods for the gut?

Superfoods are classified according to their high nutritional values and beneficial anti-inflammatory properties within them. They also have antioxidant characteristics and don’t contain too many calories. We can say that all superfoods are natural and many of them are plant-based.

What do these foods have in common?

All of these foods are well-known superfoods with scientific research-backed backgrounds. Most of them are plant-based but all of them are naturally produced and have no additives, allergens, or chemical impurities. All of their properties are extremely helpful in boosting the body’s immune health and strengthening the body’s defense to ward off harmful bacteria, germs, and viruses. Hence, they provide high nourishing nutrients to promote healthy gut bacteria. All these aspects of superfoods are what they all have in common.

What are the benefits of superfoods?

However, to be included under the term ‘superfoods’, these food products must have all these beneficial qualities:

  1. Nutritionally rich with a lot of minerals and vitamins in them.
  2. High antioxidant properties to neutralize free radicals in the body.
  3. Rich density of probiotics and prebiotics.
  4. Energizes your body by utilizing and boosting mitochondrial health. This helps in the production of ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) in the cells and increases your clean natural energy levels.

What are the top 7 superfoods that can boost your gut health?

Here are the top 7 scientifically-backed superfoods that can help immensely in building up your GI health.

1. Fiber-rich foods

This includes foods that have high fiber content and have healthy carbs. Certain foods that contain healthy dietary fiber, prebiotic fibers, etc. are whole grains (not the gluten-containing grains like barley, wheat, or rye), fennel, chia seeds, and beets.

Benefits –
Nutritional makeup –
How to consume?
How do they aid the process of digestion?

2. Prebiotic foods

Prebiotic foods are also high in fiber and act as healthy nutrition for gut flora or healthy gut bacteria. This includes a wide range of food products like – chicory roots, artichoke, garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus, oats, apples, flax seeds, seaweed, and unripe bananas.

Benefits –
Nutritional makeup –
How to consume?

Prebiotic foods can be prepared following numerous delicious healthy recipes. Prebiotic supplements are also helpful in providing the same benefits.

How do they aid in the process of digestion?

3. Polyphenol Rich Foods

Polyphenol is a compound found naturally in plants. This phytochemical is found abundantly in a lot of fruits (apples, pears, pomegranate, most berries, and citrus fruits), vegetables, tea, dark chocolates, wine, extra virgin olive oil, etc.

Benefits –
Types of polyphenols –

There are over 8000 types of polyphenols found in plants. However, some of the most commonly known are –

How to consume?

Foods rich in this compound can be consumed normally.

How do they aid in the process of digestion?

4. Probiotic foods

Probiotics are healthy to live microorganisms that boost our gut health by improving gut flora. Examples of probiotic-rich foods include – fresh fruits, yogurt, kefir grains, tempeh, kimchi (a dish of Korean pickled cabbage), sauerkraut, buttermilk miso, and a variety of cheeses. However not all fermented foods are probiotic-rich foods and vice versa.

Benefits –

The many benefits of probiotics include –

How to consume?

All of the probiotic-rich foods mentioned above can be eaten in any regular way. However, if you are allergic to any of the above-mentioned dietaries or are lactose intolerant then it’s best to settle for probiotic supplements. Choose the best high-quality probiotic supplement for gut health that suits your diet.

How do they aid in the process of digestion?

It helps the process of digestion by utilizing and boosting the entire gut flora. That means Probiotic bacteria are helpful in maintaining healthy intestinal flora and digestive system.

5. Fermented foods

Fermentation is a process in which food products are broken down by yeast or bacteria. They provide you with probiotics and a lot of benefits that positively affect your entire body. Examples of good sources are – apple cider, kombucha, and all probiotic fermented products like fermented milk, fermented cabbage, etc. Fermented foods provide you with the impressive health benefits of probiotics. And alongside that, fermentation allows these products to have other health benefits, immunity-boosting agents, and better shelf life.

Benefits –
How to consume?

There are numerous mouth-watering recipes for probiotic-rich food products. Fermented foods can also be consumed in a similar fashion.

How do they aid in the process of digestion?

Their vast beneficial properties help clean and refurbish gut flora.

6. Glutamine rich foods

Glutamine is one of the many naturally-forming amino acids found in the human body. However, when there is a shortage or deficiency of glutamine in the body, it can lead to IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), inflammatory bowel disease, and other gut problems. In such cases, we need to consume glutamine-rich foods to make up for that deficiency. Some sources of glutamine are chicken, fish, lentils, beans, tofu, cabbage, spinach, beets, peas, seafood, nuts, and foods that are rich in protein.

Benefits –
How to consume?
How do they aid in the process of digestion?

Glutamine aids the digestive process by enabling fast breakdown and absorption of nutrients. It is also a source of energy for the cells in the small and large intestines of the gut.

7. Ginger and healthy herbs and spices

Healthy spices and herbs include ginger, garlic, cayenne pepper, peppermint, cumin, turmeric, and cinnamon.

Benefits –
How to consume?

You can make ginger tea, garlic paste to accompany your meals, stews and broths rich in flavor with all these healthy herbs and spices, hot cocoa with peppermint and so many other delectable flavorful dishes.

How do they aid in the process of digestion?

They have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Along with that, they are also packed to the brim with vitamins and healthful compounds that are anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and have detoxifying properties.

Does switching to digestive superfoods actually help?

Superfoods are an absolute necessity to add to your diet if you want to heal your gut and optimize your health. It helps your gut to strengthen and nurture healthy gut bacteria. It also assists in strengthening your immune system to fight off disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and protozoa.

The question now leads to – how do they work?

Healthy diet plans that include superfoods

Sometimes simply including certain superfoods in your diet might not do it for you. The reasons can be – if you have an unhealthy and nutrition deficient diet or if your daily food intake doesn’t meet the minimum nutritional needs of your body. However, this does not mean that you have to give up on every delicacy and food you like. A balanced diet is what leads to a well-balanced life and good health. Try to find a diet that suits your body’s vitamin and mineral needs. Such diets must contain some of the superfoods mentioned to provide the basic needs of gut nourishment. And in addition, throw in some protein-rich foods, food sources of collagen, fruit and green leafy vegetables, fresh herbal teas, seeds and grains, and a whole lot of water.

Do not limit yourself to only buying superfoods from over-expensive organic brands. Any good enough branded products from the local grocery will also serve the purpose. But remember to clean them evenly with hot water before eating.

When it comes to supplements and multivitamins, try to incorporate high-quality products into your diet.

Try to buy products that are allergen-free and safe to use, without any side effects.

Smart wellbeing tips for your diet plans:

  1. Include nutriments in your meal that have antioxidant properties, like leafy green vegetables, fruits, etc.
  1. Have healthy snacks like almonds, green grapes, blueberries, cocoa or dark chocolates, varieties of health-benefiting nuts and seeds, berries, etc. Or you can put them in meals as well in a variety of delicious recipes.
  1. Try to limit your consumption of red meat. Instead, prepare hearty meals made of high fiber and probiotic items like – salmon, tofu, broth, cruciferous vegetables, kimchi, and tempeh.
  1. Replace your regular tea with green tea or a variety of other herbal teas that provide antioxidant benefits.
  1. Spice up your meals with ginger, cloves, turmeric, cumin, and oregano. Limit using chili flakes and other such spices that can cause stomach aches.
  1. Try new interesting recipes with lots of berries, veggies, and healthy snacks! This is so that you don’t bore yourself by only eating vegetables. Try acai bowls, fruit smoothies, berry baked cakes, oatmeal with fruits, miso soups, dishes with spirulina, and a lot of fun vegetable dishes.
  1. And most importantly, drink lots of water! You need to flush the toxins out and hydrate yourself. This also ensures better working of the probiotics, prebiotics, and multivitamins in your body.
  1. Use a trusted supplement for gut health and better immunity. Use safe multivitamins for better nourishment, physical performance and natural energy production.

Overall Conclusion: How to improve digestive health?

Including superfoods in your diet is important and highly beneficial for your body to thrive. However, alongside consuming such nourishing food, you should also try to incorporate healthy hygiene routines into your daily life.

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