Having healthy gut bacteria is a key to overall good health. What you eat, can directly affect your gut bacteria, and in turn affect your health. So, what are the best foods you can eat to maintain a healthy gut? Well, switching to a vegetarian diet might just be the answer.
What’s in those veggies?
Having a vegetarian diet can benefit your intestines within a short span of time. It can increase the count of certain probiotic strains of Lactobacillus and Streptococcus and lower the population of disease-causing bacteria within the gut. Plant-based foods are rich in polyphenols, which cause an increase in the number of beneficial bacteria such as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus species. These provide anti-pathogenic and anti-inflammatory effects and cardiovascular protection.
A vegetarian diet is also high in prebiotic fiber content. Dietary fibers not just add bulk to the diet, but also play a vital role in maintaining digestive health. Legumes, whole grains and whole grain products, vegetables and fruits are a great source of fiber. Dietary fibers serve as prebiotics, i.e. food for the ‘good’ bacteria, and encourage their growth in the gut. These bacterial species ferment the fiber into metabolites and form short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). The SCFAs provide myriads of benefits such as improved immunity against pathogens, energy, and improved intestinal function.
Vegetarian food for good gut health
Most people simply link the word probiotic with yogurt. But in reality, probiotics can be derived from many plant-based options which can be made fresh at home to perfectly suit a vegetarian diet. Probiotics exist in various fermented foods such as kimchi (Korean traditional food made of fermented salted vegetables mixed with seasonings), homemade yoghurt (tairu), sauerkraut (German dish made of fermented cabbage) and tapai pulut. Foods that are rich in prebiotic fiber include garlic, onion, asparagus, and bananas.
Every time you sit down to eat, you make a choice. By choosing vegetarian diet you may be actually choosing good gut health.