How to Stock A Gut-Friendly Fridge
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How to Stock A Gut-Friendly Fridge

KEVIN LAND

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We’ve come a long way since science started taking the gut seriously. Now we know that gut health impacts nearly every aspect of our full body health: including mood, mental health, stress response, digestion, metabolism, immunity, energy levels, and more.

While the there’s more widespread information on the role the gut plays in overall health, there’s still a lack of knowledge around HOW to cultivate a healthy gut. The good news is, it isn’t difficult or expensive to get started. It does, however, require a bit more effort than simply taking a daily pill. Let’s start with the basics.

  1. You HAVE to adopt “gut health” for good. This doesn’t mean you have to restrict or diet. To the contrary, most people see great benefits from just making a few tweaks. Still, you can’t “get” a healthy gut by eating a bite of sauerkraut only when you’re hungover; Rather, the gut needs to be regularly replenished and fed. That means you HAVE to make the foods below a daily habit if you want to have a happy gut (and trust us, you do.) Good thing they’re delish!
  2. It’s NOT just about probiotics. It’s important you understand the high level here: PROBIOTICS or microbes eat PREBIOTICS in your gut and make POSTBIOTICS. You NEED all 3 things to have a healthy gut, so it’s not as simple as taking a probiotic pill and calling it a day. In fact, taking probiotics may be the least effective way to improve our gut health, because a pill may only have 1 or 2 strains, when your gut needs thousands of strains and plenty of prebiotics to feed them. Check out my Prebiotics + Probiotics blog for more information on the chemistry.
  3. Having an abundant and diverse microbiome is key. Study after study has shown that an abundance of gut microbes is linked to all the good things we want to see in a gut. Basically, having a “healthy gut” means having an abundance of microbes. All the items below will help you get there.

 

The 5 things you need if you want to build a gut-healthy fridge:

RAW FRUITS, VEGGIES, AND LEGUMES.
Probably the #1 way to improve your gut health is to eat lots of raw fruits and veggies, beans, and other legumes. The reason is, they’re full of prebiotics, plant-based fibers, and compounds that only the microbes in your gut can break down. When the belly’s microbes eat prebiotics, they multiply and flourish, resulting in a very diverse and abundant microbiome (AKA a healthy gut.) Some microbes are picky eaters, so having a VARIETY of fruits, veggies, beans, and legumes is key to ensuring a diverse turnout. I suppose “Taste the rainbow” wasn’t a bad slogan after all — except I’d apply it at the farmers’ market rather than the candy aisle.

PREBIOTIC DRINKS.
Of course, eating fruits and veggies isn’t ALWAYS convenient, plus you’d have to eat a LOT to get to the fiber your body needs (recommended 25g/day)! Thankfully, in 2022 we have access to awesome packaged drinks like Health-Ade Pop, packed with prebiotics (and flavor) to help you meet your gut health goals.

FERMENTED FOODS.
A recent study by Stanford University showed that eating fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, and kombucha led to a significant INCREASE in overall microbial diversity and a significant DECREASE in 19 markers of inflammation. No surprise to nutritionists (this isn’t the first study to demonstrate their efficacy) fermented foods are the ONLY things we can ingest that are rich in prebiotics, probiotics, AND postbiotics. Fermented foods are easy to find on grocery shelves, so dollop some kimchi onto your breakfast burrito or crack a cold ‘booch the next time you hit that afternoon slump — making fermented foods a part of your daily diet is a SURE way to get a happy gut.

AVOID FAKE SUGARS.
Stevia, Sucralose, Aspartame, and all the sugar alcohols EVEN at small doses have been linked to a reduction in microbes and a blockage of microbiome activity. For this reason, a gut healthy fridge really wouldn’t include phony sugars at all. Look at the label to verify — we’re surprised at how many “healthy” products on the shelf are claiming gut support even though they have these ingredients, including some kombuchas and prebiotic sodas. Read more about the data here.

BALANCE THE ALCOHOL.
Is alcohol bad for your gut? Just like fake sugars, excess alcohol is directly related to reductions in microbes. In fact, studies show that when we have more than 2 drinks (especially if we do this a few nights in a row) we can do some real gut-damage.

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Of course, we’re all human and different. Some folks may need more aggressive solutions to get their gut to “healthy.” If you’ve given these recommendations a try and are still experiencing issues, be sure to consult a health care practitioner who specializes in gut health.

Today’s blog is written by our very own Daina Trout, MS, MPH

Daina is our not just our Co-Founder and Chief Mission Officer, she is also our in-house nutritionist that has spent her adult life dedicated to finding and sharing health and wellness through food. With 2 masters’ degrees in nutritional biochemistry and public health, Daina has called upon her education often while leading the way at Health-Ade – from how we make every batch of kombucha, to how we talk about gut health to consumers, to even how healthy our employee workplace is! She even writes a few blogs here and there. Happy reading! :)

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