Your gut health affects not only how your food is digested but also how your entire body functions. If your gut health is compromised, it could lead to several issues including obesity, kidney problems, heart disease, anxiety and others. The natural bacteria in your gut play a key role, and it is necessary that your diet supports them. Wondering what you should be doing? Celebrity Nutritionist Lovneet Batra recently shared some important suggestions in this regard. More specifically, she listed down food items that can damage your gut health. While cutting off their consumption completely may not be an option, you should definitely consider limiting their intake. Check them out below.
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Here Are 6 Everyday Foods That Are Bad For Gut Health:
1. Refined Sugar
We already know a few of the health risks associated with high intake of refined sugar. It is known to lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and much more. Another reason to limit its consumption: it “eliminates healthy gut bacteria, which can cause inflammation in the body,” according to Lovneet
2. Artificial Sweeteners
Since sugar has now been discredited, you might turn to seemingly healthy alternatives. But beware! The nutritionist explains that since “our bodies are not designed to process (digest) artificial ingredients, artificial sweeteners can trigger an immune response causing inflammation.” Hence even these so-called ‘safe’ alternatives can lead to poor gut health.
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3. Fried foods
Just like refined sugar, we already know that too much fried food is bad for our health in general. But how does it affect our gut exactly? According to Lovneet, “Saturated fat, a key feature of fried foods, is also hard on the gut, making these foods more difficult for your body to digest.” Are you someone who feels uneasy after eating fried foods? Now you have one possible explanation for it. More often than not, the oil itself poses a problem, as discussed below.
4. Vegetable Oils
This type of oil is one of the most commonly used, but you should be careful. “Vegetable oils have a high ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids and can cause bloating and inflammation and damage to the intestinal lining,” states the nutritionist. You might think that ghee is a better option. But it is high in saturated fats, although it has other benefits. So which type of oil should you be using? Mustard? Olive? Groundnut? Experts recommend a combination of multiple types. Find out more here.
5. Ultra-processed foods
Lovneet says, “UPFs are characterised by higher amounts of salt, fat, sugar, and the presence of different food additives. High consumption of ultra-processed food can change the gut microbiota and lead to inflammation.” You need a diversity of bacteria in your gut. Highly processed foods tend to feed the harmful type of bacteria rather than the healthy ones.
Whenever we face any sort of digestive issue, we are often advised to stop alcohol consumption for the short term. But in the long run, too, it can adversely affect gut health. “Too much alcohol can damage the gut lining and increase endotoxin production. It could also lead to dysbiosis or bacterial overgrowth, which may cause problems like poor digestion, acid reflux, and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO),” points out Lovneet.
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4 Key Tips To Improve Gut Health:
1. Have a fibre-rich diet
Ensure that you eat a lot of fruits, veggies, beans and legumes. They can promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria and lead to a healthy microbiome.
2. Fermented foods are good for you
According to Lovneet, “Fermented foods act as a natural probiotic supplement, populating the gut with beneficial microbes when we consume them.” Common foods and drinks like idlis and kanji are good examples of healthy fermented items.
3. Include prebiotics in your diet
Prebiotics support the growth of good bacteria and can be found in many foods, including apples, bananas, onions, garlic, legumes etc. But remember that a diverse diet is equally important for gut health. So don’t ignore probiotic foods either.
4. Consume foods with polyphenols
Polyphenols are beneficial plant compounds that may help you fight against harmful gut bacteria. Foods such as dark chocolate, almonds, broccoli, green tea, red wine, etc. contain polyphenols.
Now you know which foods to eat and which to avoid for better gut health. Make the changes in your diet accordingly.
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Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.