Go With Your Gut
Written by Taylor Roberts
You know that gut feeling? We have all had it. While sometimes this gut feeling is for an exciting occasion, other times it is an upset stomach or uncomfortable bloat as a result of poor gut health. Understanding how to take care of the microbiome within your belly can positively transform your health. When it comes to improving digestion, sleep, weight control, and skin, it is truly what’s on the inside that matters.
Trillions of bacteria and microbes reside within our gut microbiome. The foods we consume and the habits we have significantly influence the diversity and wellbeing of these flora. A thriving gut flora is essential in maintaining efficiently functioning body systems—far beyond the stomach.
In order to further explore the microscopic events of our gut and their profound impacts on our health, we asked the professionals at Santa Barbara-based organic apple cider vinegar company Bragg to break down the truth behind gut health. Signs that your gut could use some TLC include poor sleep, gas and bloating, abdominal pain, unintentional weight changes, and irritated skin, according to Courtney Puidk, a nutritionist at Bragg. As with most health-related topics, the approach to healing our gut is two-fold—starting with daily habits and our food choices. The basic, frequently repeated reminders to stay hydrated, avoid processed foods, and minimize sugar and alcohol consumption are the foundation. While you have likely heard these all before, we want to share the best, lesser-known ways to take control of your gut health.
ACV IN YOUR H20
Elevating your water is as easy as adding a tablespoon of Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) to your glass. While simultaneously hydrating and reaping the benefits of the vinegar, this small addition has been proven to control appetite, manage weight gain, and stabilize blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Linda Boardman, CEO of Bragg, loves to consume her recommended daily tablespoon of ACV by adding it to smoothies, salad dressings, or even marinades.
BENEFICIAL BACTERIA/FERMENTED FOODS
Foods high in probiotics and prebiotics, such as fermented and fiber-rich foods, support the growth of healthy bacteria and diversify your microbiome. The fermentation process relies on living yeast or bacteria and a sugar source to create byproducts that range from postbiotics to various acids. These byproducts are essentially gut superheroes that feed the cells lining the stomach, which boost vitamin production and improve digestion.
While there are numerous supplements on the market for purchase, natural fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains are great and accessible sources for fiber and postbiotics. Swapping conventional pasta for a chickpea alternative is one simple way to increase your fiber.
Some fermented foods to include on your gut grocery list are: sourdough bread, sauerkraut, tempeh, apple cider vinegar, kimchi, kombucha, and cultured dairy products. Experimenting with kombucha cocktails, Bragg ACV Prebiotic Refreshers, homemade sourdough, and pickled vegetables are all simple enhancements you can have fun with.
Bone broth is another powerful “gut health guru,” as nicknamed by Isa Bourbon, owner of Wishbone Wellbeing, a Santa Barbara-based broth company that locally sources and prepares a variety of broths with the gut in mind. Bone broth is known to be a potent source of collagen, glucosamine, adiponectin, and other nutrients. You can expect strengthened bones, anti-inflammatory benefits, maintained insulin sensitivity, additional protein, and improved nutrient absorption. It’s essentially a heath elixir.
The gut microbiome, while difficult to see, affects all aspects of our health. Although this is a lot of information to digest, the grocery list is a perfect starting point to improve your health. So, listen to your gut feelings and apply these tools to settle the stomach.