This article is reviewed by a team of registered dietitians and medical doctors with extensive, practical clinical and public health experience.
Superfoods For Gut Health 2023: 6 Foods To Support Digestion
A healthy digestive system is a huge factor in your overall health and well-being. It’s therefore extremely important to find foods and other healthy lifestyle routines to support proper digestion. Whether you’re a gut health guru or the term gut microbiome is a new phrase for you, every superfood you encounter in this article will undoubtedly be beneficial.
Superfoods are all the rage in every form of media, with experts constantly finding or discovering new ones. What they are, in their essence, are foods that contain an abundant amount of vitamins, minerals, and powerful plant compounds that support the health of your body functions.
Many superfoods promote healthy digestion, prevent diseases and conditions like leaky gut, and increase the level of good gut bacteria in your digestive tract. They are an excellent addition to your everyday meals for all these reasons.
6 Healthy Superfoods For Gut Health
Gut health is incredibly important for preventing diseases and promoting optimal digestion. Here are six superfoods for gut health to add to your daily diet.
- Chia seeds
- Jerusalem artichokes
- Camu Camu berry
6 Healthy Superfoods For Gut Health
Some of the most powerful superfoods in the world have a positive effect on your digestive system, brain and mental health, immune system, and hormonal balance. The gut-to-brain axis has been proven to be an important one, which is the strong connection that exists between your digestive system and your nervous system.
The gut microbiome and all the microbes living in it can directly influence your mood, energy levels, and even the health of your neurons. Therefore, feeding your gut properly will also benefit your mental health.
Here are some of the best superfoods you can make a part of your daily diet, whether you eat them in their true form or as a part of a digestion-boosting supplement.
Ginger has been considered a powerful superfood for thousands of years. It contains incredible plant compounds that aid digestion, improve the balance between bad and healthy gut bacteria, relieve nausea and discomfort, and ease bloating and constipation.
One of ginger’s active compounds, gingerol, is directly linked to the improvement of gastrointestinal motility, or the rate at which the food you ate exits the stomach and moves to the next step of digestion.
Additionally, ginger contains a high level of antioxidants whose main role is protecting our bodies from oxidative damage. This can occur when we are exposed to too many free radicals, unstable molecules that increase inflammation and can cause disease.
Many experts believe in ginger’s strong anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, which can help reduce any swelling or inflammation caused by injury or illness. All of this aids digestion replenishes your beneficial gut bacteria and promotes a thriving gut microbiota.
One of the best superfoods that promote a healthy gut and increase the level of healthy bacteria in your gut is chia seeds. These little black seeds are nutrient-rich mostly harvested from the rich Peruvian mountains. They have high levels of omega-3 short-chain fatty acids and fiber, which act as a prebiotic, feeding your healthy gut bacteria and helping them balance out the harmful kind.
The soluble fiberin chia seeds also has a very unique texture once submerged in water. It then turns into a glue-like texture which is incredibly satisfying.
Chia seeds and their nutritional profile promote smooth digestion, increase nutrient absorption, and help support healthy body weight. They may also speed metabolism and the breakdown of food as they push food from the stomach down to your intestines.
Studies show how chia seeds improve the strength and structure of your intestinal muscles and support their function. They also contain high levels of antioxidants, help fight free radicals, and reduce inflammation.
Blueberries are antioxidant-packed and have a powerful effect on your overall health. The stronger the color blue and purple, the more likely they are to be named a superfood. Blueberries have been called so for a very long time now, and they’ve been linked to everything from reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes to neuroprotection and the health of your gut microbiota.
Blueberries are great for your digestive health, and studies show that it’s mainly due to one of their antioxidants, anthocyanin. In particular, it has been shown that anthocyanin reduces the release of toxins into the blood, positively affects insulin and blood sugar levels, and reduces inflammation.
Popularized by social media, this amazing superfood (or super drink) is one of the most gut-healthy foods. Kombucha promotes a healthy gut by supporting healthy bacteria levels. It’s a fermented drink that’s made from black or green tea and a combination of bacterial strains, yeast, and sugar or honey for sweetness.
When this concoction ferments, it acts like a probiotic, providing your gut with healthy bacteria which then need to be fed and maintained to stay alive.
Probiotics are one of the most important nutrients for gut health. They support a healthy gut by reducing gut inflammation, which is linked to digestive diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome. They also strengthen your gut lining.
Kombucha is one of those gut-healthy foods you either love or hate, as fermented foods (or drinks) aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. Kombucha’s benefits, however far outweigh its pungent taste and many brands are finding unique ways to make it delicious.
You might see this food on the ingredient list of many prebiotic supplements, as they contain a high level of inulin, a prebiotic fiber. They also contain high levels of other prebiotic fibers and fructo- and galactooligosaccharides, which help feed the most abundant beneficial bacteria in your gut, Bifidobacteria, and Lactobacillus.
These two bacterial strains are also linked to healthy blood sugar and digestion, with hopes of potentially helping in treating diabetes type 2 and obesity, affecting your body’s lymphatic tissue of the digestive system.
Additionally, Jerusalem artichokes may support healthy blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels, aid in weight loss and healthy body composition, and even improve calcium absorption.
Camu Camu Berry
There is scientific evidence behind this incredible super berry and the role it plays in promoting gut health. It positively reduces overall inflammation in the human body and promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria for optimal gut health.
It promotes a healthy gut microbiome and increases the growth of good bacteria, supports healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels, land promotes a healthy weight. It may even assist in healthy blood sugar management
Camu Camu berry is mostly known for its extraordinarily high levels of vitamin C, containing over 60 times more of this vitamin than oranges. This berry is also rich in potent antioxidants. There are currently important studies underway about its anti-inflammatory potential and how it may play a role in managing human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Foods To Avoid For Better Digestion
Every coin has two sides, and just as there are incredible superfoods that optimize gut health and promote healthy and regular bowel movements, there are foods you should avoid if you’re looking to prevent or better manage digestive disorders.
Excess intake of sugars can negatively impact the balance between the harmful and good bacteria in your gut and cause gut dysbiosis. This is when you have an unhealthy balance of bacteria in your gut, which can lead to unpleasant symptoms or other conditions such as leaky gut syndrome.
A leaky gut occurs when all the toxins and inflammatory molecules are able to pass the gut barrier and enter your bloodstream, increasing inflammation throughout the body. Additionally, sugar can feed the bad bacteria, causing their overgrowth and impairing the function of your immune cells.
Processed foods should also be limited to protect your gut. Not only are they taxing on your entire system and your immune function, but they’re also known to cause chronic inflammation and damage to your cells. This impairs your gut health and increases intestinal permeability, negatively impacting gut health.
Things to Know About Superfoods
The term superfood was coined by the United Food Company in 1917, during World War I, as a major part of their food marketing strategy to promote bananas and their nutritious characteristics. Even though the term was created for marketing purposes, medical experts soon endorsed it after researching and studying the advertised health benefits of bananas.
Their studies showcased positive results in the management of celiac disease and diabetes, and that’s how the superfood trend started.
Superfoods may now be overly popularized and overused, but these foods deserve credit when credit is due. It should be coined a superfood when it has a high nutritional value and powerful health benefits.
Unfortunately, there are plenty of labeled superfoods for marketing purposes that are driving sales, and that’s why you hear how every single fruit and vegetable has at least once been named a superfood.
When trying to figure out whether something should be called a superfood, check its nutritional profile and look at the number of vitamins and minerals. Then cross-reference that with the recommended daily value (DV) established by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If those numbers align or the micronutrient levels in your superfood surpass the recommended values, you know you’ve discovered a superfood.
The Bottom Line
Optimal gut health is extremely important for overall health and longevity. Through superfoods and other healthy lifestyle choices, you can support your gut.
Most of these superfoods are easy to find in your local supermarket and even easier to add to your daily meals. Delicious recipes can be found at every turn, with popular catchphrases like “gut health superfoods” and “superfoods to improve gut health.”
So, choose smarter foods and arm your body with the tools to fight off toxins and diseases, even the ones we can’t fully control.
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