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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 July 23, 2019

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

In the journey of growth, there are times when we grow and excel. We are endlessly driven and hyped up, motivated to get our goals.

Then there are times when we stagnate. We feel uninspired and unmotivated. We keep procrastinating on our plans. More often than not, we get out of a rut, only to get back into another one.

How do you know if you are stagnating? Here are some tell-tale signs:

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  • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
  • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
  • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
  • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
  • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
  • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

When we face stagnation in life, it’s a sign of deeper issues. Stagnation, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. It’s easy to beat ourselves over it, but this approach is not going to help. Here, I will share 5 steps to help you move out of this stagnation. They won’t magically transform your life in 1 night (such changes are never permanent because the foundations are not built), but they will help you get the momentum going and help you get back on track.

1. Realize You’re Not Alone

Everyone stagnates at some point or another. You are not alone in this and more importantly, it’s normal. In fact, it’s amazing how many of my clients actually face the same predicament, even though all of them come from different walks of life, are of different ages, and have never crossed paths. Realizing you are not alone in this will make it much easier to deal with this period. By trying to “fight it”, you’re only fighting yourself. Accept this situation, acknowledge it, and tell yourself it’s okay. That way, you can then focus on the constructive steps that will really help you.

2. Find What Inspires You

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Stagnation comes because there isn’t anything that excites you enough to take action. If you don’t have a habit of setting goals, and instead just leave yourself to daily mundanes, it’s not surprising you are experiencing stagnation. What do you want to do if there are no limitations? If you can have whatever you want, what will it be? The answers to these questions will provide the fuel that will drive you forward.

On the other hand, even if you are an experienced goal setter, there are times when the goals you set in the past lose their appeal now. It’s normal and it happens to me too. Sometimes we lose touch with our goals, since we are in a different emotional state compared to when we first set them. Sometimes our priorities change and we no longer want to work on those goals anymore. However, we don’t consciously realize this, and what happens is we procrastinate on our goals until it compounds into a serious problem. If that’s the case for you, it’s time to relook into your goals. There’s no point in pursuing goals that no longer inspire you. Trash away your old goals (or just put them aside) and ask yourself what you really want now. Then go for them.

3. Give Yourself a Break

When’s the last time you took a real break for yourself? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Never? Perhaps it’s time to take a time-out. Prolonged working can cause someone to become disillusioned as they lose sight of who they are and what they want.

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Go take some extended leave from work. A few days at bare minimum; a few weeks or months will be great. Some of my ex-colleagues have quit their jobs and took months out to do some self-reflection. Of course, some of us might not have that luxury, so we can stick to a few weeks of leave. Go on a trip elsewhere and get away from your work and your life. Use this chance to get a renewed perspective of life. Think about your life purpose, what you want and what you want to create for your life in the future. These are big questions that require deep thinking over them. It’s not about finding the answers at one go, but about taking the first step to finding the answers.

4. Shake up Your Routines

Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again and meeting the same people can make us stagnant. This is especially if the people you spend the most time with are stagnant themselves.

Change things around. Start with simple things, like taking a different route to work and eating something different for breakfast. Have your lunch with different colleagues, colleagues you never talked much with. Work in a different cubicle if your work has free and easy seating. Do something different than your usual for weekday evenings and weekends. Cultivate different habits, like exercising every day, listening to a new series of podcasts every morning to work, reading a book, etc (here’s 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick). The different contexts will give you different stimulus, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you.

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When I’m in a state of stagnancy, I’ll get a sense of what’s making me stagnate. Sometimes it’s the environment I’m in, sometimes it’s the people I’ve been hanging out with, sometimes it’s my lifestyle. Most of the times it’s a combination of all these. Changing them up helps to stir myself out of the stagnant mode.

5. Start with a Small Step

Stagnation also comes from being frozen in fear. Maybe you do want this certain goal, but you aren’t taking action. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work needed? Are you afraid you will make mistakes? Is the perfectionist in you taking over and paralyzing you?

Let go of the belief that it has to be perfect. Such a belief is a bane, not a boon. It’s precisely from being open to mistakes and errors that you move forward. Break down what’s before you into very very small steps, then take those small steps, a little step at a time. I had a client who had been stagnating for a long period because he was afraid of failing. He didn’t want to make another move where he would make a mistake. However, not wanting to make a mistake has led him to do absolutely nothing for 2-3 years. On the other hand, by doing just something, you would already be making progress, whether it’s a mistake or not. Even if you make a supposed “mistake”,  you get feedback to do things differently in the next step. That’s something you would never have known if you never made a move.

More to Help You Stay Motivated

Here are some resources that will help you break out of your current phase:

Featured photo credit: Anubhav Saxena via unsplash.com

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