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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

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Last Updated on January 14, 2019

7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

From Atkins to Paleo to eating gluten-free despite not being one of the rare few people afflicted with celiac disease, fad diets are everywhere. It drives me crazy because I believe these diets do more harm than good. Your body is made up of a variety of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals, and losing weight healthily isn’t possible when you fill your body with unnecessary synthetic plastics, sugars, and powders. There’s no easy button in life.

What you need to do is exercise, which isn’t very appealing to many people. Workouts take work, so there’s already a stigma involved in going to the gym. Starting a healthy workout regimen becomes easier when you make it fun. If you want to live long and prosper, get off the couch and try these methods to turn your workout into a playout.

1. Take the scenic route.

Walking is an easy way to transition to a healthy lifestyle, and it’s free. Not only do you burn calories (check out this calculator for how many calories you burn based on your weight), but you see the world in a different way. Hiking in nature is great if you have access to it, but don’t let living in an urban area deter you from walking.

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Whenever I’m creatively stuck I get my head straight by walking a couple of miles. It’s also how I discover new paths, meet new people, and stumble upon hole-in-the-wall spots I never would have found otherwise. You could drive past the same place every day and never appreciate the beauty, nor even notice it’s there.

2. Distract yourself.

No matter what exercise routine you choose, use the time to meditate. You may wonder how marathon runners are able to put so many miles on their bodies. It’s because the pain from running that you avoid is something they’ve learned to harness to enter a transcendental state. If you’re aware of the benefits of meditation and exercise but don’t have time to do both, you can combine them, killing two birds with one healthy stone.

3. Listen to music or podcasts.

There are few experiences in life more pleasurable than turning up the music and drowning out the world around you. With so many podcasts and music apps available on your smartphone, you can easily find entertainment options perfectly suited to your personal tastes. Never worry what people may think of you when working out;instead, crank up the volume and get lost in your own world. You’ll be in shape before you know it.

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4. Bring a friend.

Some people can’t go anywhere alone. While I highly recommend dining out and seeing a movie in a theater alone, having company while exercising is very helpful. It allows you to pace yourself with someone else, and gives you a coach to motivate and push harder than you may have on your own.

Many exercises are safer when done with a friend, and some sports can only be played with another person. Involving others in your goals can mean the difference between success and failure. Just remember to continue exercising if the other person flakes, or they’ll be in control of your health.

5. Accessorize.

There are accessories that can make exercise easier, and sometimes buying a new toy can add some much-needed fun to your routine. With apps like RunKeeper and Nike+, your smartphone is capable of tracking your vitals and progress. Wrist weights can add a new dimension to your workout, and, if you exercise at night, a headlamp can help you see what’s in front of you so you don’t trip.

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For urban runners and power-walkers, one of the biggest obstacles is other people. It’s difficult to get in your meditative zone and enjoy your music when you constantly have to dodge people. To resolve this vexing issue, Runbell, a startup in Tokyo, has developed the runner’s version of the bicycle bell. With this lightweight brass bell warning people you’re approaching from behind, you’re free to maintain your transcendental state while continuing your workout. Head to their Kickstarter campaign to pledge your support.

6. Compete.

A little healthy competition can motivate you to push yourself further in your workout regimen. There are apps like Zombies, Run! which turns your run into a video game, and MyFitnessPal which allows you to connect with others in the exercise community. Whether you’re directly competing with a friend, an online community, or against your previous self, setting goals is the key to reaching them. Running with no destination can feel like an impossible task, and it’s easy to get distracted.

7. Relax.

The best part about exercising is how much you enjoy the downtime. If you think laying on your couch all day is enjoyable, it has nothing on that hour you spend as a couch potato after a rigorous workout. Jay-Z said it best, “in order to experience joy, you need pain.” The harder you push yourself while exercising, the better you’ll feel when you’re relaxing.

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With that said, don’t relax too much, or it loses the effect. It’s okay to indulge every so often. Treat yourself to some junk food you’re craving, imbibe a drink here and there, and spend a day vegging out on your couch. Staying healthy doesn’t have to be torture. Just turn down when you can and dedicate some time to better the health of your body. You only get one.

Featured photo credit: tpsdave via pixabay.com

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