Have you ever really stopped to think about what it takes to keep your body healthy? I usually end up taking it all for granted until I have issues. The second I experience bad digestive issues, bloating, stomach pains, headaches, or ailments like the common cold, I find myself running for healthy gut fixing foods!
If you haven't considered what goes into keeping all of those trillions of friendly gut microbes happy, skip the probiotic supplements and feed your body some good food instead. Researchers have found that eating the foods highlighted in these 7 recipes can be super helpful for your gut health. Why not make it a little bit easier to be a good host? Yup, that's right - you're constantly hosting those beneficial bacteria by feeding them what they need to keep your immune system healthy.
So let's dig in and take a look!
1. Stock up on fermented and cultured foods.
A healthy gut needs a steady supply of probiotics, most popularly found in fermented foods. It's as easy as popping sauerkraut or kimchi onto your favorite sandwiches or salads or adding them to soups or stir-frys. If you're not into the tangy, slightly-sour character of these types of foods, opt for a yogurt for breakfast or swap Greek yogurt in instead of mayonnaise in your favorite salad dressings or dipping sauces.
If you've never made sauerkraut before, start with this simple recipe. All you need is cabbage, salt, and a little patience! Say goodbye to bad bacteria and hello to a healthy gut.
2. Eat lots of plant matter.
Being an omnivore is a great thing - we get the best of both worlds when we consume protein-rich meats and nutrient-dense plants. It's easy to focus a lot on the meat component of your plate, but do make sure you have lots of produce to balance out that plate. Your fruits and vegetables are not only filled with vitamins and minerals, but they're chock full of fiber. A healthy gut definitely needs a lot of fiber to feed it!
Don't be afraid of cooking by the rainbow and feeding your body a variety of fruits and vegetables. In particular, good bacteria really seem to love leeks, avocados, broccoli, leafy greens, and asparagus. So whip up this recipe for broccoli and asparagus stir fry, and maybe top it off with a few slices of avocado for good measure!
3. Healthy grains and other fiber-rich foods.
Produce isn't the only thing a healthy gut loves - they also love fiber-rich healthy grains. This means oats and whole grains should definitely be on the menu to feed your gut bacteria. In addition to grains, nuts and beans also make your healthy bacteria really happy, so load your meals up with a variety!
I've found the best way to get these foods into my diet is with really robust salads, like this recipe. This proves that oats aren't just for breakfast! What a great way to get steel-cut oats, garbanzo beans, and fresh vegetables like red peppers, onions, and zucchini into your diet. This salad would make me super happy during lunchtime.
4. Don't overcook your vegetables.
It's so easy to let those veggies cook until they're soft and mushy, especially if you don't like the flavor of the raw veggie itself! But, eating tender-crisp vegetables is a great way to heal an unhealthy gut. The vitamins and minerals in vegetables are best preserved when they're not overcooked because it gives the microbes more time to absorb all those nutrients.
Check out this recipe for steamed vegetables dressed in sesame oil. Steaming is the perfect way to cook vegetables while allowing them to keep all their water-soluble vitamins. It's good for your gut microbiome and it's also an incredibly healthy way to cook, so it's a nice way to cook for weight loss, too!
5. Cook with coconut oil.
Coconut oil has so many healing benefits, including disrupting the coating on bad bacteria. This means it targets the bad bacteria so there's more room for beneficial bacteria. So by eating coconut oil, you can create an environment in your gut that is hostile towards viruses. Talk about winning the war!
You can do almost anything with coconut oil, including baking cookies and making granola. We really like using it for this recipe for lemon coconut lentil soup. It's warming, it's savory, and the coconut flavor goes perfectly with the fiber-filled lentils.
6. Hail the healing powers of apple cider vinegar.
Apple cider vinegar not only helps regulate your blood sugar and enhances weight loss, but it also provides a boost to gut health. It really helps your body digest foods to increase nutrient absorption, which means those microbes will get the most vitamins and minerals possible out of your food. Just make sure you look for a raw, organic apple cider vinegar with the "mother" to get the most healing effects.
All you need to do is incorporate a few tablespoons into your daily diet to get the most out of apple cider vinegar's effects. I like keeping a jar of this recipe for apple cider vinaigrette on hand. It's not only good for making salads, either - you can dress grilled vegetables or quinoa in this dressing, too.
7. Drink kombucha.
Drinking kombucha can lead to so many health benefits, but the major one is maintaining a healthy gut. During the fermentation process, naturally occurring probiotics are created. So ditch the probiotic supplements and just drink kombucha instead. It can be flavored in any number of ways, so it's usually pretty delicious, too.
You can buy kombucha, or you can give it a try at home. Before you get overwhelmed at the idea of making kombucha at home, just know it's so much easier than brewing beer or other at-home projects. This recipe walks you through the process step-by-step. All you need is a SCOBY started to get going, and it's reusable so you can use it over and over again.
We hope these recipes will help you improve your digestive tract health, prevent obesity, and maybe heal some health problems like constipation, heartburn, or acid reflux or other digestive diseases. These recipes are all about the health benefits of improving your overall health by feeding those healthy gut flora with good sources of vitamins and minerals and improving nutrient absorption, so heal away!