Why Are Superfoods So Important for a Gut Healing Diet?

Gut health is a form of wellness that many people do not pay nearly enough attention to. Unfortunately, poor gut health can seriously impact your quality of life. This is especially true if you have to constantly deal with diarrhea, bloating, nausea, constipation, and more. That is why you need to consume more superfoods for gut health.

The fiber, antioxidant properties, and anti-inflammatory abilities of superfoods can help rebuild gut flora in the long-term. So, what exactly are superfoods, and how do they help with your digestion of food and gut health?

What Are Superfoods?

superfood bowl
A bowl o’ superfoods

Superfood is a buzzword that many people use to talk about just about every fruit and vegetable under the sun. However, some fruits and vegetables add a far stronger kick to your diet than others do.

That’s because superfoods contain more vitamins and minerals than most other foods.

According to Livescience.com:

“Superfoods are foods — mostly plant-based but also some fish and dairy — that are thought to be nutritionally dense and thus good for one’s health. Blueberries, salmon, kale, and acai are just a few examples of foods that have garnered the “superfood” label [1] .”

LiveScience

That’s a pretty generic definition for a food group that reaches the hundreds. While you can’t go wrong eating any superfoods in your healthy gut diet plan, not all foods are created equally. Therefore, some are better than others for rebuilding gut flora and easing gastrointestinal issues.

Which Superfoods for Gut Health Should You Eat?

When you are consuming a superfood, you are getting quite the balanced meal. However, if you are looking toward healing a Leaky Gut, restoring gut flora, or are wondering how to get rid of bad bacteria in the gut, then you need specific superfoods.

You want to consume superfoods that are rich in:

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Healthy Fats to Repair Gut Lining)
  • Complex Carbs (Prebiotics for Probiotics, Full of Micronutrients)
  • Lean Protein (Low Cholesterol, Efficient Energy Like Medium-Chain Triglycerides)
  • Antioxidants
  • Probiotics

That sounds like a lot of ground to cover. However, when you have an open map like a grocery list of superfoods, you can cover all that ground.

Best Superfoods for a Healthy Gut Diet Plan

Here are some of the best superfoods for gut health that check all the boxes we’re looking for to rebuild gut flora and ease gastrointestinal distress.

Gut Health and Superfruits
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While there is no scientific or dietetic classification for what is a superfood and what is not, we can assume that all foods that have a fantastic nutritional profile are a superfood.

Nutrients in Superfoods for Gut Health

One thing that our bodies need to thrive is nutrients. Luckily for us, superfoods tend to be full of them. For instance, kale has very few calories but has 2 grams of protein per cup of chopped greens.

superfood kale

This smoothie regular also has 200% of your daily Vitamin A content, 700% of your regular Vitamin K, as well as a ton of Vitamin C, Calcium, Manganese, Iron, and more!

This not only makes kale one of the best superfoods for gut health but for skin care too! Want glowing skin and a happy stomach? It all starts with a healthy gut diet plan.

Superfoods are crucial to the prosperity of beneficial bacteria in your gut biome. Some studies on rats have shown a beneficial effect of consuming blueberries on gut microbiome [2].

Diet Choices and Gut Biome

Blueberries aren’t the only superfood that shows promising results in altering the diversity of intestinal flora. Studies on other foods like kale and lentils show that consuming the best foods for gut health can improve the diversity of intestinal flora in your microbiome. As a result, your body should benefit from better nutrient absorption altogether [3].

nuts and seeds plant protein
So healthy, yet so painful for some. Learn about letctins

What’s so unique about superfoods for gut health is that each one of our microbiomes is different. While lentils are considered one of the best foods for gut health for some, they may be a hindrance for others. That’s because lentils contain unique phytochemicals known as lectins.

For people who have gastroenterology diseases like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), lentils may trigger an inflammatory response. Therefore, what may cause one’s microbiome to flourish can cause the intestinal flora in another to become inflamed.

IMPORTANCE OF MICROBIOME TESTING

If you believe your gut flora is under attack from inflammatory responses, you should test your stomach bacteria. With the Thryve At-Home Gut Health Test Kit, we can determine which gut flora is causing your gastrointestinal distress.

With that information, we can then create a healthy gut diet plan to help rebuild gut flora that will fight off harmful bacteria. During this process, we can help you figure out if lentils are a superfood in your corner or one that’s causing GI problems.

Superfoods, Antioxidants, and the Immune-Gut Axis

Superfoods are some of the richest sources of antioxidants you will find. Antioxidants play a pivotal role in not just our gut health, but overall well-being. They are responsible for clearing out free radicals that can spring inflammatory responses or the growth of cancerous cells [4].

Research indicates that 80% of our immune cells are created from our gut flora [5]. Therefore, consuming superfoods not only boosts your antioxidant level, but it puts less strain on your gut. By consuming superfoods for gut health, you naturally help your immune system in two ways!

Anti-inflammatory for Gut Flora

When your body deals with inflammation, it can negatively affect your gut health. Poor gut health can also boost inflammation in your body. Prolonged inflammation may cause problematic gastrointestinal issues such as Irritable Bowel Disease (IBS) [6].

superfood salmon for gut health
Superfood and Super Delicious

Eating foods such as salmon, spirulina, blueberries, quinoa, and mushrooms may help decrease inflammation in your body. Without the inflammation raging, your gut biome becomes more susceptible to the growth of beneficial bacteria.

Junk Food and Poor Gut Health

Junk foods are known to be inflammatory [7]. By consuming more superfoods and fewer junk foods, you will be on your way to rebuilding gut flora in no time.

This is a difficult task. Our lifestyle is set up for convenience. With convenience comes easy access to junk food.

Try to avoid these foods if you are following a healthy gut diet plan:

Ultimate Guide to Weight Gut Axis
Read The Ultimate Guide to Weight-Gut Axis

By decreasing the presence of these foods in your life, will notice a vast improvement with GI issues. The more you cut these junk foods out, the less you will crave them.

In fact, you will feel so revitalized that when you revert back to these foods, the GI problems may appear intensified. This is even more fuel to the fire that will have you committed to a healthy gut diet plan.

TIPS FOR FOLLOWING A HEALTHY GUT DIET PLAN

We know that sounds like a lot to take in. So, here are a few tips for cutting out these inflammatory foods.

Eating a variety of superfoods that run the spectrum of colors will provide your body with balanced vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.

Fermented Foods That Are Superfoods for Gut Health

While fermented foods are their own niche in the world of gut health, they also bleed over into the superfood category. That’s because the source of these fermented foods is rich in nutrients. This is especially true for fermented fruits.

Foods that have been fermented not only have the antioxidants and minerals of their sources, but they grow probiotic bacteria from the fermentation process. Fermented foods, such as yogurt, kombucha, and kefir, are filled with probiotics that can benefit your gut health over time.

You should not rely on probiotics foods to fix all of your gastrointestinal problems. However, having them as a staple in a healthy gut diet plan can help you with many symptoms of gut inflammation, such as nausea, bloating, and diarrhea.

Prebiotic Fiber for Probiotics

Fiber is awesome for your gut health, and plant-based superfood has a lot of it! You can find plenty of prebiotic fiber that will feed your beneficial bacteria in:

Prebiotic Foods for Gut Health
  • Dark Greens
  • Whole Grains
  • Quinoa
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Seeds
  • Nuts
  • Berries
  • Lentils
  • Avocados

In addition to being ideal for feeding the probiotics in your gut biome, fiber helps flush it out!

Fiber and GI Problems

Unfortunately, most Americans do not consume even the lower end of our recommended fiber intake [8]. Combining a low-fiber diet with an excess of macronutrients is a recipe for gastrointestinal disorders.

Consuming great sources of fiber helps boost the probiotic bacteria in your gut, which aids in the digestion of food. By consuming fiber, you will go to the bathroom regularly and not experience painful symptoms of gastrointestinal distress such as cramping or bloating.

TOO MUCH FIBER AND IBS

That Fiber Feel

Like most things in life, there’s always too much of a good thing. The same is true for fiber…especially if you have gastroenterology diseases such as IBS or Leaky Gut Syndrome. Fiber loosens up feeling constipated. So, if you have GI problems like diarrhea, excess fiber will only add to the gastrointestinal distress.

While fiber is suitable for a healthy gut diet plan, consuming 50 grams or more can cause stomach pain and indigestion. This is especially true if you increase your fiber intake too quickly. [9]. So, make sure you consume enough but don’t go overboard.

Adding Superfoods for Gut Health to Your Diet

All-in-all, superfoods are foods that we should be adding to our diet regardless of gut health benefits. They are rich in antioxidants and micronutrients that many miss out on following a Standard American Diet (SAD).

Whether it is kale, collard greens, Acai, or Kombucha, these superfoods can be vital when it comes to healing your gut and improving your quality of life. Just make sure you getting a variety of colors on your plate to ensure a balanced intake of nutrition.

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Resources

[1] Wanjek, C. (2019, March 18). What Are Superfoods? Retrieved April 15, 2019, from https://www.livescience.com/34693-superfoods.html

[2] Lee, S., Keirsey, K. I., Kirkland, R., Grunewald, Z. I., Fischer, J. G., & De La Serre, C. B. (2018, February). Blueberry Supplementation Influences the Gut Microbiota, Inflammation, and Insulin Resistance in High-Fat-Diet-Fed Rats. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29490092

[3] Migliozzi, M., Thavarajah, D., Thavarajah, P., & Smith, P. (2015, November 11). Lentil and Kale: Complementary Nutrient-Rich Whole Food Sources to Combat Micronutrient and Calorie Malnutrition. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4663599/

[4] Griffiths, K., Aggarwal, B. B., Singh, R. B., Buttar, H. S., Wilson, D., & De Meester, F. (2016, August 01). Food Antioxidants and Their Anti-Inflammatory Properties: A Potential Role in Cardiovascular Diseases and Cancer Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5456284/

[5] “II. The Intestine as a Sensory Organ: Neural, Endocrine, and Immune Responses.” American Journal of Physiology-Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology, www.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/ajpgi.1999.277.5.G922.

[6] Bhandari, S., MD. (2018, May 20). Your Gut Bacteria and Your Health. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/what-your-gut-bacteria-say-your-health#1

[7] Giugliano, D., Ceriello, A., & Esposito, K. (2006, August 15). The effects of diet on inflammation: Emphasis on the metabolic syndrome. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16904534

[8] Quagliani, D., & Felt-Gunderson, P. (2016, July 07). Closing America’s Fiber Intake Gap: Communication Strategies From a Food and Fiber Summit. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6124841/

[9] Dietary Fiber. (2019, February 07). Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/dietaryfiber.html