What are “gut bugs” you might ask? Last week we talked about E. Coli and how these “bugs” can make you sick. But you also have good “bugs” or bacteria in your gut. And guess what? You need to feed this good bacteria. They are now finding that having good bacteria in your gut has huge health benefits. As Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen said in a recent article, the next time “you open the fridge, remember that you’re not eating just for one. You’re also feeding the 100 trillion bacteria that call your digestive system home.” ( By feeding these good gut bacteria you can:
- Help control your weight
- Promote heart health
- Stabilize blood sugar levels
- Improve your immune system
- Improve your mood
So what can you do to feed your gut bugs and reap these health benefits?
Probiotics – eating a yogurt a day is a good start. Yogurt has probiotics which helps put the good bugs in your gut.
Fiber rich plant foods – go for the whole grain breads, cereals and foods like Quinoa. Add some beans, chili, enjoy a stir fry full of veggies. Replacing some red meat or fried food meals with chili, stir fry, and other fiber rich plant foods can double your amount of good bacteria that can help fight inflammation in just two weeks’ time.
Dark chocolate – previous posts outlined the heart and weight benefits of dark chocolate but who knew dark chocolate can feed your good gut bugs? Have about one ounce of dark chocolate with some fruit and reap the benefits of the dark chocolate and the fiber in fruit. Apparently, the “good bugs” in your gut love chocolate just as much as you do. The chocolate feeds the bugs, this produces anti-inflammatory substances your body absorbs. Bugs are happy and your body is happy and you lessen inflammation of your heart tissues.
Veggies – fiber-rich veggies like kale, broccoli, raw carrots, asparagus, cabbage, cauliflower. The good bugs convert the fiber in these veggies into cancer fighting compound.
Fruits – load up on raspberries, bananas, pears, watermelon, nectarines – full of fructans that feed your gut bacteria.
What should you cut back on?
Emulsifiers – processed food can contain chemical emulsifiers such as polysorbate 80 and carboxymethylcellulose that actually affect your gut bugs to promote weight gain, heart disease and diabetes.
Refined flour like white flour, white bread – Dr. Oz calls white flour foods “one of the Five Food Felons”. Whole grains are best for your health and for healthy gut bacteria. Choose more brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa.
Fast Food – avoid fried foods especially at Fast Food restaurants. The more Fast Food you eat, the more your gut bacteria can take a hit.
For more information on feeding your gut bugs go to: How to Nurture Your Gut Bacteria to Improve Your Mood and Health.
Recommendations - So add some yogurt this week. Eat more fresh fruit and veggies. Enjoy a salad with dark greens at dinner. Have some oatmeal or Cheerios for breakfast. And, enjoy the dark chocolate in that gift box.
Sources: Pamper Your gut bugs and you’ll reap the rewards, Two Docs, Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen, Free Lance Star, Nov. 15,2015, How to Nurture Your Gut Bacteria to Improve Your Mood and Health. Image Source: Chocolate