Does Your Diet Work?
The Gut Health Check

Trust your gut, they said. Why? Isn't all the thinking done in the brain? Yes, but it wouldn't be able to do that without your gut. It's the seat of your body's overall health performance, including your mind's. Learn more about gut health and why you need to assess if your daily eating habits constitute a good gut health diet.

What is a Good Gut Microbiome and Gut Health?

The microbiome comprises four different microbes: bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and fungi, although they're often referred to as bacteria, and divided into two general kinds, the good and the bad. Like in children's stories, the good bacteria, or microbiome, play a big role in the body's fight against chronic diseases and infection caused by harmful bacteria.

Each individual has a unique set of the microbiome, similar to a fingerprint. It begins developing while you're still in the womb of your mother, where she passes on some of her healthy microbes to you.

By the time you reach two years of age, your gut microbiome would have completely matured, ready to protect your health with an army of 100 trillion microbes—so why do we still get sick? Over time, you can develop poor gut health from low gut microbe diversity.

How Disease Starts in the Gut

To effectively ward off illnesses and maintain good health, it's important to have a diverse gut microbiome. When you lack the necessary microbiome to defend your body from sickness, the higher the chances of contracting it. This can happen simply by your lifestyle choices.

If you eat the same food, especially unhealthy food, your body will only generate certain kinds of microbes and not produce the rest. This results in an unbalanced gut microbiome, reducing your gut health and making you more prone to diseases.

The body's natural ecosystem of bacteria and other similar organisms is designed to help balance and improve overall well-being. It not only means your physical health but your mental health as well.

Why the Gut is Called "The Second Brain"

When the body breaks down food, it looks for three acids: tyrosine, tryptophan, and indole-3-lactic acid or ILA. The first two are needed to create several chemicals for your brain to perform tasks, like stabilize your mood, react quickly to your environment, and help you sleep well at night.

The next time you're feeling down or anxious, and tossing in bed for hours, consider what you've been eating lately. A good gut health diet isn't the answer to your problems, but it aids you by releasing the chemicals needed for the increased mental fortitude to face each day.

Why Good Gut Health is Important

While tryptophan and tyrosine take care of the mental aspect of health, ILA is responsible for the physical. The body processes this acid and converts it to IPA or indole propionic acid, which is the strongest natural antioxidant you can find in your body. It prevents the effects of free radicals, which are responsible for cancer, heart disease, and more.

Free radicals are impossible to avoid completely because our body produces them just as it produces chemicals that help it function well. That's why eating fermented foods, which are rich in ILA, is important. It prevents damage in our cells caused by free radicals and regulates their production.

What Comprises a Good Gut Health Diet

Improving your gut health begins with eating not just healthy but a diverse array of food. Knowing what each kind contains and how it helps your gut will guide you in your daily meal prep and planning.

Foods Rich in Enzymes

These are what break down your food into small particles until they're easy to absorb and distributed to the rest of your body. You can find these in many tropical fruits. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Bananas

  • Kiwis

  • Papayas

  • Avocados

  • Mangoes

You can also find them in common household pantry items such as the following:

  • Raw Honey

  • Sauerkraut

  • Ginger

Foods Rich in Probiotics

Probiotics are what you call live microorganisms or additional microbes to help increase your gut's diversity and total number. They feed on foods, called prebiotics, that keep them healthy to produce more of their kind.

You can take probiotics in either the form of food or supplements. When you want to add them into your diet, consume these now and then:

  • Yogurt

  • Barley

  • Rye

  • Other whole grains

  • Kimchi

  • Kombucha

  • Gouda and different soft cheeses

  • Miso soup

Foods Rich in Alkaline

It protects your gut from further damage by keeping your internal pH level within the ideal range, preventing the stomach from getting too acidic and damaging the lining. It also contains major illnesses, such as heart disease, while helping you keep a healthy weight.

Most fruits and vegetables, as well as many nuts and legumes, contain a fair amount of alkaline. Here are the ones with the most concentrated amount:

  • Oranges

  • Limes and other citric foods

  • Radishes

  • Turnips

  • Green and leafy veggies

  • Nuts

Another great way to get all in one is by consuming a gutshot. It's a fermented drink, rich in probiotics, each made using different combinations of fruits, vegetables, and other ingredients. It's easy to store, so you always have ready stock on hand without having to do extensive meal planning every week.

    Maintaining Good Gut Health is Crucial

    Whenever you're thinking about losing weight, and you're thinking of trying out a new diet, do the gut health diet check. Does it allow a diverse range of gut-friendly and healthy foods? Is it rich in either enzymes, probiotics, or alkaline, or a mix of these three? Does it help to maintain both my physical and mental health?

    Always put your overall well-being as a top priority by making it a habit to eat a balanced diet. A healthy body and mind will help you reach your goals and live a fuller life.