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6 Fruits To Boost Gut Bacteria For A Healthier Digestive System

6 Fruits To Boost Gut Bacteria For A Healthier Digestive System

Research is clear: a healthy gut leads to better health overall–mind, body and soul. Gut health is directly related to the composition of your gut bacteria and affects your risk level for obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other health issues. In fact, the brain and gut are so tightly wired together that scientists refer to it as the body’s “second brain.” It’s that important!

Gut bacteria, or microflora, need a stable environment in which to grow and flourish. The ideal pH in the colon is between 6.7 and 6.9. The colon needs to be slightly acidic to inhibit the growth of undesirable bacteria. Cultivating and keeping the “good gut bacteria” flourishing is paramount to living a full and vibrant life. The foods we eat drastically affect this delicate bacterial balance. Therefore, ensuring that our diets regularly contain foods that generate good gut bacteria is important.

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The easiest way to ensure a healthy gut is by eating fruits high in fiber and that foster the proper intestinal balance.

Fruits that help improve gut bacteria and digestive health

1. Bananas

Fiber is essential to stimulating the production process of good gut bacteria and is equally important to your overall digestive health and function. Not only are bananas rich in soluble fiber, they also contain a prebiotic compound (non-digestible fiber) that passes through the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract and remains undigested since they cannot be fully broken down. Once they pass through the small intestine, they reach the colon where they’re fermented by the gut microflora. In short, bananas work to maintain harmony among microbes in the bacterial community.

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2. Blueberries

Blueberries help to diversify our gut bacteria. They destroy harmful gut bacteria and also happen to yield one of the best fiber-per-calorie ratios on the planet. Since most berries are packed with tiny seeds, their fiber content is higher than most other fruits.

3. Kiwi

Kiwi is a fat-free, nutrient-dense source of energy. One cup of sliced kiwi contains 110 calories, no fat, two grams of protein, more fiber than a bowl of bran flakes, and half as much sugar as a cup of raw pineapple. The fiber in kiwi is also good for binding and removing toxins from the colon which assists in preventing colon cancer.

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4. Apples

In addition to being a fiber-rich food, scientists have recently shown that important health benefits of apples may stem from their impact on bacteria in the digestive tract. In studies on laboratory animals, intake of apples is now known to significantly alter amounts of two bacteria (Clostridiales and Bacteriodes) in the large intestine. As a result of these bacterial changes, metabolism in the large intestine is also changed, which provides a multiplicity of health benefits.

5. Raspberries

Similar to blueberries, raspberries are chock-full of soluble fiber. The fiber and water content in raspberries help to prevent constipation and maintain a healthy digestive tract. Adequate fiber promotes regularity which is crucial for the daily elimination of toxins through the bile and stool.

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6. Pears

For nutritional reasons, we’re often advised by health experts to consume the skins of fruits.  Recent studies have shown that the skin of pears contains at least three to four times as many phenolic phytonutrients as the flesh. These phytonutrients include antioxidant, anti-inflammatory flavonoids, and anti-cancer phytonutrients like cinnamic acids. It’s also important to note that when it comes to our gut health, pears are fiber-rich fruits and the pear’s skin has been shown to contain about half of the pear’s total dietary fiber. Even with its high fiber content, it is considered one of the easiest foods to digest.

The health of your gastrointestinal system is extremely important to your overall well-being. It is primarily responsible for the critical functions of the body’s digestive and immune systems. Beneficial bacteria in your digestive system have the capability of affecting your body’s vitamin and mineral absorbency, hormone regulation, digestion, vitamin production, immune response, and ability to eliminate toxins, not to mention greatly improving your overall mental health.

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Denise Hill

Denise shares about psychology and communication tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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