Microbes in your gastrointestinal tract make up your gut biome. The majority of these microorganisms consist of bacteria. Maintaining the good bacteria in your gut and minimizing bad bacteria is key to a healthy, well-functioning gut. The health of the gut also affects the brain and immune system. There is a very strong gut-brain connection, so what is happening in the gut also affects the brain (mood and cognition). In addition, a huge proportion — approximately 70% — of our immune system is in our GI tract.
The right diet is critical in keeping the biome in balance. Board-certified gastroenterologist Dr. Lynne Ahn of Ahn Point Wellness discusses the top nutrients to establish and maintain good gut health.
Fiber is essential for gut maintenance. It keeps the digestive tract moving and normalizes bowel movements. Fiber produces short-chain fatty acids, critical components in colon health.
The best sources of fiber include:
- Whole-grain products
Fruits and vegetables are full of antioxidants. These substances slow down oxidation, a process contributing to the development of cell-damaging free radicals.
Keep in mind that excess fiber has a deleterious effect on your gut. Too much fiber consumption may result in bloating, diarrhea, gas or more frequent bowel movements. The right amount of fiber consumption is reflected in regular, comfortable bowel movements. Constipation is a sign of too little fiber in the diet.
Add more fiber to your diet gradually, over a period of weeks, to ensure your gut biome has time to adjust.
The live organisms known as probiotics are often taken in supplement form to boost gut health. Probiotics generally contain the beneficial bacteria lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, which create a healthy gut microbiome. Consuming fermented foods on a regular basis will also provide the probiotics needed to keep the gut in an optimal state.
Common fermented foods include:
Fried, fatty and sugary foods are terrible for gut health. Red meat from grain-fed cattle is also a culprit, as it can trigger bowel sensitivity.
Lean proteins, such as those found in fish, white-meat poultry and grass-fed beef enhances the microbiome. Sufficient protein is necessary for a healthy body, as it is the primary building block of bones, skin, muscles and more. The USDA defines lean protein as sources with less than 10 grams of total fat and 4.5 grams of saturated fat per 3.5 ounces.
Other lean protein sources include:
- Beans and lentils
- Low-fat cottage cheese
For More Information, Contact Dr. Ahn
If you would like more information about the best ways to improve your gut health, call our center today at (781) 237-1600 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Ahn . She will develop a customized plan based on your unique gut needs.