Registered dietitians say it’s the absolute worst food for gut health

Registered dietitians say it’s the absolute worst food for gut health

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Plus, how to improve your gut health with a few nutritional supplements.

If you are trying to improve your gut health, the first step is to take inventory of your diet. What you eat can affect the amount of good and bad bacteria in your gut microbiome—and when there’s an imbalance, it can lead to a wide range of health problems.

To learn more about how diet affects your gut and the number one food to avoid, we asked the experts to weigh in. Here’s what they said.

How your eating habits affect gut health

The foods a person eats directly affect their gut microbiome, which is responsible for a wide variety of functions, including immunity, digestion, and metabolism, among many other processes. Imbalance of healthy gut microbes can contribute to poor metabolism, indigestion and weight gain, among other negative health effects, Mary Wirtz, MS, RDN, CSSD, nutrition consultant at Mom loves bestexplains.

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“The gut microbiota is a complex ecosystem found in our intestines. It is highly variable from one individual to another, but dietary habits may be responsible [for] up to 20-50% of these microbiota variations,” says Dr. Seifeldin Hakim, MD, a gastroenterologist at Memorial Hermann in Houston.

It is important to maintain a balance between good gut bacteria and bad gut bacteria to have a healthy gut and avoid bad bacteria overgrowth. Eating yogurt helps provide good bacteria and is considered a good source of good bacteria and acts as a probiotic.

In addition to the microbiota, eating spicy food can lead to hyperacidity and stomach acids problems, adds Dr. Hakim. Drinking soda can increase acid refluxand cause bloating and excessive belching which can lead to upper abdominal discomfort. High-fiber foods like vegetables and fruits usually help constipation and promoting bowel movements as well as encouraging the growth of good bacteria.

The worst food for the gut

So what is the worst food for gut health? Deep fried foods like french fries and other fried foods including donuts are very harmful when it comes to gut health.

“These foods are extremely high in fat, mostly trans-saturated fats, and offer very little in the way of renewable, health-promoting nutrients like vitamins and minerals,” says Wirtz. “Trans-saturated fats are associated with inflammatory markers and are not beneficial for promoting gut health.”

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Foods to eat instead

For a healthy gut microbiome, Wirtz recommends sticking to prebiotic and probiotic foods.

Food sources rich in prebiotics include:

  • Beans and lentils

  • Whole grains such as oats, quinoa, barley and brown rice

  • Fruits, including berries, pomegranates, cantaloupe, applesbananas and citrus fruits

  • Including vegetables lettuce, spinachcabbage, broccoliBrussels sprouts, Cauliflower and leeks.

These foods listed are rich in dietary fiber and are essentially the food on which the “good” gut bacteria thrive.

Probiotic-rich food sources include fermented foods such as:

  • Yoghurt

  • Kefir

  • Miso

  • Tempe

  • Kimchi

  • Sour cabbage

All of the above foods have beneficial microbiota (microorganisms) that improve an individual’s microbiome.

“A diet based on whole foods that are high in fiber, probiotics, and essential nutrients is optimal for the intestines. Specifically, high-fiber foods like chickpeas and lentils contain a type of fiber called prebiotics, which help stimulate the growth of healthy microorganisms in the gut,” says Beata Riediger, BA, RHN, a registered dietitian based in Los Angeles.

Legumes in general are also rich in B vitamins, which play a crucial role in shaping microbiome diversity.

It follows: The only food experts swear by for better gut health


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