The key to a happy belly is taking care of what's inside. Your gut is filled with a diverse population of microorganisms, known as the microbiome. Below are four ways to making it happy and keep it that way.
1. Eat Plant Fiber. One way to keep your belly happy is to feed it real, whole foods with fiber. Plant fiber is the preferred food source for your friendly bacteria. You can get plenty of fiber by eating both cooked and raw vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Only plants contain fiber, and the more it looks like it did when growing, the more it will benefit your body and your microbiome. Choose organic whenever possible, because GMO foods and pesticides contain chemicals, such as glyphosate in Roundup, that alter and destroy your friendly gut bacteria.
2. Eat Fermented Food. Foods that are naturally fermented contain probiotics within the food and brine. Examples are sauerkraut, pickles, and unsweetened kombucha. They are found in the refrigerated section of your natural food store, and never contain vinegar. Make sure you read the label carefully to know that it is truly fermented. You can also make your own at home.
3. Reduce Sugar and Processed Food. We all know that eating less processed food is good for us, but here is the main reason why: Sugar, processed food and fast food are all clinically proven to reduce the health of your microbiome. The sugars and emulsifiers in processed foods are what feed the unfriendly bacteria and yeast. This leads to them becoming stronger, taking up more real estate in your intestines. The more the unfriendly bacteria grow, the more you will experience problems in your digestion and beyond.
4. Reduce Standard Meat and Dairy. When animals are raised on factory farms, they are fed antibiotics which then get into their meat and milk. If you eat these animal products every day it's the same as taking low dose antibiotics every day, which we all know is harmful to our friendly bacteria. To ensure you are not getting antibiotics, read the label and look for organic, grass-fed or free-range.
Dr. Melissa DeForest: I am a Naturopathic Doctor who specializes in digestive disorders. My goal is to educate, inspire, and empower others to lead a life they love.
Disclaimer: All information presented here is for educational purposes only, and should not be taken as medical advice. Please consult with your doctor before starting any new exercise, supplement, or diet routine.