Gut-Friendly Food You Should Try This January
Caring for your gut is essentially important in one’s health. And did you know that a plant-based diet can improve health and prevent disease by feeding the good bacteria in your digestive tract? I created this blog post to give you an idea of what gut-friendly food you should try this January. Give your gut a fresh start of the year too!
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Food that's high in fiber helps cleanse your system. Not only that, but fiber also helps lower blood glucose levels and cholesterol. High-fiber foods include:
Oats are very nutritious and are among the healthiest grains. Oats and oatmeal have a lot of health benefits; They are high in beta-glucan, a soluble fiber
that helps in digestion. They're also rich in antioxidants and can be filling — a great substitute for carbs especially when you're trying to
lose weight. Apart from reducing sugar levels and cholesterol, oats also promote healthy gut bacteria.
Green Leafy Vegetables naturally improve our metabolism and keep the production of our red blood cells at a healthy rate. They are a rich source of vitamins
A, C, and K, and minerals such as iron and calcium.
Research suggests that the nutrients found in dark green leafy vegetables may prevent certain types of cancers and promote heart health. It’s recommended
that people eat at least 3 cups of dark green vegetables per week, or about ½ a cup every day. Since you need a little dietary fat to absorb these
nutrients, add olive oil or some salad dressing to your veggies.
Some of the healthiest greens include Kale, Collard Greens, Microgreens, Romaine Lettuce, Spinach, Cabbage, Beet Greens, Swiss Chard, Watercress,
Arugula, Bok Choy, and Turnip Greens.
Legumes are a high satiating food which means with a relatively low amount of calories, you feel fuller longer. This prevents you from ultimately snacking
and eating when you really don't need to. A great addition to any diet plan, especially if you're looking to lose some weight or managing diabetes.
High in soluble fiber, legumes help lower cholesterol levels. They are also high in protein, making them an ideal base for vegetarian meals. Including
them in your main protein source can help bring your grocery bills down, too. Apart from the said benefits, legumes stabilize digestion, regulate glucose
levels, and fight/treat allergies.
Whole Grains reduce the risk of some chronic diseases. These are important sources of many nutrients, including fiber, B vitamins, and minerals. Fiber
is a big reason to eat whole grains. An average adult will need about 25-35 grams of fiber each day. It's health benefits include lowering bad cholesterol,
controlling blood sugar, and reducing the risk of colon cancer.
Did you know? Whole grains don't really help you lose weight. What they actually do is redistribute fat.
Prebiotics help beneficial bacteria grow in the gut. They work with probiotics, which are healthful bacteria or yeasts, to improve health.
Prebiotic-rich foods include:
Chicory Root is a rich source of inulin, a water-soluble fiber can be used to replace dietary fat or sugar in some processed and functional foods.
Jerusalem Artichoke or Sunchoke is a superstar in intestinal health. Like Chicory Root, sunchokes are packed with inulin. These prebiotic properties help care for gut health and play a role in preventing colon cancer.
Garlic – high in nutrients, low in calories! It contains a little bit of almost everything; it comes with 42 calories, 1.8 grams of protein and 9 grams of carbohydrates.
Leeks, apart from having anti-cancer compounds, also has folate which helps pregnant women and newborn babies. Leeks loosen phlegm and relieve a sore throat too!
Onion, a pantry staple for most households, is low in calorie but high in vitamins and minerals. Fact: The medicinal properties of onions have been recognized since ancient times when they were used to treat ailments like headaches, heart disease, and mouth sores.
Probably the most common in gut health is probiotics. These are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for you, especially your digestive system.
Did you know that Miso, Kimchi, and pickled vegetables are also great sources of probiotics?
Here's a quick pickle recipe you can try making yourself:
- ½ cup sliced red radishes
- 2 cups sliced cucumber
- Two carrots, thinly sliced
- One big carrot piece cut to the width of your jar to fit snugly inside (this will push all of the vegetables down under the brine to make sure they are submerged)
- 1 ¾ cups water
- ⅓ cup ume plum vinegar
- 2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
- Place all vegetables except the big carrot pieces in the jar.
- In a glass bowl mix together all of the brine ingredients.
- Pour the brine over the vegetables. Place the thick carrot piece sideways on top of the vegetables so that it is snuggly against the sides of the jar pressing while down on the vegetables to keep them submerged in the brine.
- Cut a piece of cotton cheesecloth and secure it over the mouth of the jar with a rubber band
- Allow the pickles to sit at room temperature for 24 hours.
- Remove the cheesecloth and cover the jar with a lid. Store in the refrigerator, only removing a tablespoon at a time or however much you want to eat with your meal. The pickles will keep for a month or so.
Equipment: 1 quart glass canning jar and Cheesecloth
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