The microbiota that resides in your gut shapes the intestinal immune responses to certain situations. Immunological dysfunction is found to be the cause of many diseases such as autoimmune disorder, allergies, and cancer. And the gut is the primary site of interaction between the host immune system and pathogenic organisms. Unfortunately, it is also the most underrated organ in the body.
There’s no denying that we all eat a lot of junk food, which causes inflammation and damages the digestive system. Healthy, gut-balancing superfoods are the way to go if you want your immune and digestive systems to function properly. So, let’s look into the natural superfoods that can heal your gut, aid digestion, and enrich your body with the desired nutrients.
1. Bone Broth
Bone broth is considered a natural superfood with amazing benefits for gut health. Gluten-containing foods are known to cause inflammation and a leaky gut. But, bones contain collagen, which is found to increase the utilization of protein in wheat, oats, and barley, all gluten-containing grains. And the cartilage is capable of healing leaky gut syndrome. The cartilage nourishes both the gut and the immune system. This way, a bone broth will boost your digestion and prevent any discomfort in the gastrointestinal tract.1
Probiotics such as yogurt and kefir that are rich in friendly bacteria should be an important part of your diet. They help maintain a healthy microflora balance in your gut. When increased intake of fermented foods or probiotics, the microflora in your gut exhibit anti-pathogenic and anti-inflammatory capabilities. This enhances the ability of the intestine to resist harmful pathogenic organisms.2
The friendly bacteria in yogurt promote gut health by improving the intestinal integrity and the metabolic activity of intestinal cells. Kefir has more good bacteria and yeast, making it the queen of gut health. The lactic acid produced in the fermentation process of kefir is extremely soothing for the gut. It gives you additional strains of probiotics beyond what your regular yogurt can supply. It is an excellent option for salad dressings or as a substitute for milk, buttermilk, yogurt, or sour cream.3
Garlic is a powerful medicinal food that should be part of your everyday diet. Its anti-inflammatory, anti-parasitic, antibiotic, and antiviral properties are an amazing defense against digestive assaults and for overall intestinal health.
Garlic destroys harmful bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract while promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. Allicin, the main component in garlic, is a sulfuric compound that may help to establish the microbial balance in the gut. And the prebiotic compound called inulin helps repopulate the good bacteria and heals your gut in the process.4 5
4. Fatty Fish And Stock
Eating 1 or 2 regular portions of oily or fatty fish weekly helps fight inflammation as these fish are rich in omega-3 healthy fats. Fish oil is an essential fatty acid that reduces gut inflammation. Salmon, anchovies, mackerel, sardines, and trout are excellent sources of protein and are abundant in omega-3 fats. They are possibly the best anti-inflammatory foods you can eat.
Another vitally essential nutrient found in fish is phosphatidylcholine, a phospholipid that is an integral component of bile that protects the gut lining. A fish stock offers your body all the essential minerals, so use it instead of other meat stocks in soups, curries, and so on.6
5. Leafy Green Vegetables
Your gut will thank you if half of your plate has dark green leafy vegetables. Green leafy veggies give you fiber and feed the gut microbiome to enhance and support the immune system. Phytonutrients from healthy greens like quercetin have also been shown to stimulate the growth of friendly bacteria.
Eating green leafy veggies help boost positive methylation, which is a process that helps the body detox and control inflammation. Green veggies are also rich in soluble fiber that feed the probiotics. The acids that are formed during the fermentation process of soluble fiber by probiotics can limit bad bacteria thereby helping to heal the digestive tract.7 8
6. Coconut Oil
Extra virgin coconut oil is a miracle food with similar nutrient content as breastmilk. Besides killing intestinal pathogens and providing an energy boost, it also helps heal your gut.
Using coconut oil for cooking prevents reoccurrences of prior infections and limits new infections from cropping up. It is an excellent source of healthy saturated fats such as stearic and lauric acid, a good amount of choline, and small amounts of vitamin E, vitamin K, and iron. It has powerful antioxidant, antibacterial, and metabolic properties that repairs the gut naturally.9
7. Ginger Tea
Ginger is an age-old remedy used to treat digestive issues in Ayurveda. It relaxes and soothes the muscles of the intestine, thereby relieving symptoms of cramps and gas. It stimulates digestion by speeding up the movement of food from the stomach to the small intestine. It also helps improves the production of saliva, bile, and gastric enzymes that aid the digestive process.10 11 12
8. Wheatgrass Juice
Wheatgrass is rich in phytonutrients and has high alkalizing properties that help heal and nourish the gut. It contains a high level of chlorophyll (the pigment that gives the green color to fruits and veggies), which acts as a natural deodorizer and reduces the common side effects of digestive issues like bad breath and body odor. Wheatgrass is also a powerful detoxifying agent with its magnesium content and high alkalizing properties.13
Looking for a simple wheatgrass juice recipe? Combine 1 teaspoon of cold-pressed wheatgrass powder with 1 large glass of water and you are good to go.14
Give these superfoods a try and your gut just might thank you for it.
|↑1||Siebecker, Allison. “Traditional bone broth in modern health and disease.” Ph.D. diss., NCNM, 2004.|
|↑2||Isolauri, Erika, P. V. Kirjavainen, and S. Salminen. “Probiotics: a role in the treatment of intestinal infection and inflammation?.” Gut 50, no. Suppl 3 (2002): iii54-iii59.|
|↑3||Boynton, Hilary and Brackett, Mary G. “The Heal Your Gut Cookbook: Nutrient-Dense Recipes for Intestinal Health Using the GAPS Diet.” Chelsea Green Publishing, 2014.|
|↑4||Holmes, Lee. “Heal Your Gut: A healing protocol and step-by-step program with more than 90 recipes to cleanse, restore, and nourish.” Fair Winds Press, 2016.|
|↑5||Tatta, Joe. “Heal Your Pain Now: The Revolutionary Program to Reset Your Brain and Body for a Pain-Free Life.” Hachette UK, 2017.|
|↑6||Bailey, Christine. “The Gut Health Diet: Recipes to Restore Digestive Health and Boost Wellbeing.” Duncan Baid Publishers, 2016.|
|↑7||Dimon, Steve. “Health, Wellness & Longevity: Handbook.” Hauser Publishing, 2016.|
|↑8||Gari, S. Jane, Schneider, Wendie and RDN. “Healthy Gut Diet.” Penguin, 2016.|
|↑9||Herron, John G. “The Gut Health Protocol: A Nutritional Approach To Healing SIBO, Intestinal Candida, GERD, Gastritis, and other Gut Health Issues.” Eagle Stock Publishing, 2016.|
|↑10||Bode, A. M., and Z. Dong. “Chapter 7: The Amazing and Mighty Ginger.” Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects 804 (2011).|
|↑11||Guan, Yong-Song, and Qing He. “Plants consumption and liver health.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2015 (2015).|
|↑12||Mashhadi, Nafiseh Shokri, Reza Ghiasvand, Gholamreza Askari, Mitra Hariri, Leila Darvishi, and Mohammad Reza Mofid. “Anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory effects of ginger in health and physical activity: review of current evidence.” International journal of preventive medicine 4, no. Suppl 1 (2013): S36.|
|↑13||Triantafyllidi, Aikaterini, Theodoros Xanthos, Apostolos Papalois, and John K. Triantafillidis. “Herbal and plant therapy in patients with inflammatory bowel disease.” Annals of Gastroenterology: Quarterly Publication of the Hellenic Society of Gastroenterology 28, no. 2 (2015): 210.|
|↑14||Shah, Shinil. “Dietary factors in the modulation of inflammatory bowel disease activity.” Medscape General Medicine 9, no. 1 (2007): 60.|