Having a healthy gut isn’t just crucial for busy moms because it helps us absorb all the vital nutrients we need. Indeed research shows that there are many more benefits to gut health, from fighting depression and anxiety to boosting fat loss. Yep, that’s right. The microscopic ecosystem that lives in our bellies is vital for all aspects of health and well-being, so we had better do our best to take care of it. The good news is that even as busy moms, we can do several things to make sure this ecosystem is as healthy as possible. Read on to find out more.
Add more fiber to your diet.
It will come as no surprise that fiber is good for your gut health. Indeed, we are all already away, that it helps things to move along more smoothly down there!
Sadly, even though we are aware of the benefits of a diet high in fiber, we can struggle to consume enough. With this in mind, the best sources of dietary fiber are whole foods. These are ones that our bodies have to work a little harder at digesting and breaking down. Think veggies, fruits, whole grains, and lentils here, especially raw fruits and veg with the skins on as these will have the maximum amount of fiber possible.
Cut your consumption of inflammatory foods.
It seems that when it comes to gut health, vegetarians and vegans have the right idea! The reason is that both dairy and meat can act as inflammatory agents in the gut. Animal products are not the only inflammatory food, though as sugar, and trans fats are also on the no-no list. With that in mind, cutting down the amount of these substances in your diet is a smart move if you want to maintain good gut health.
After all, an inflamed gut will struggle to absorb all those vital nutrients essential to well-being. In some cases, inflammation can even lead to conditions such as Crohn’s. To that end, a diet that is richer in plant-based products and limiting your intake of sugar is the best approach here. Happily, such a diet will also help you up your fiber intake, which we know from above can also have an excellent effect on gut health.
Prebiotics and probiotics
Do you know the difference between prebiotics and probiotics? Many people don’t, and they aren’t too sure of the benefits of taking them either! Basically, both pre and probiotics are related to encouraging the growth of good bacteria in your gut.
Probiotics are live strains of this bacteria, while prebiotics are the food that such bacteria need to thrive. So, in essence, what you need is a mixture of both for optimum gut health.
The good news is that there are several ways you can increase the amount of probiotics you take in. The first is to choose fermented foods like tempeh and kimchi to your diet. Although you must always choose versions that contain active cultures. Usually, you can tell this from whether they need to be refrigerated or not, with those products not requiring refrigeration not containing live bacteria.
Additionally, you can also increase your numbers of both probiotics and prebiotics by taking supplements in tablet or capsule form. Indeed, the benefits of taking prebiotics are as varied as introducing more good bacteria to your system through probiotics. A topic you can read more about by clicking on the previous link.
Be mindful of the harm antibiotics can do
Of course, antibiotics are a wonderful thing, as they help us fight off bacterial infection. Indeed, they can be vital in the treatment of more serious bacterial diseases such as bronchitis. However, using antibiotics can often come with a risk to gut health. The reason being that they tend to be unable to discern the good from the harmful bacteria in the body and end up killing off both!
With that in mind, it is well worth thinking twice before taking antibiotics, especially for less severe conditions. Although if your doctor recommends antibiotic treatment, then taking a probiotic as mentioned above can help minimize the damage to the gut and help keep your microbiome as healthy as possible.
Try the FODMAP diet.
You can also encourage gut health, even as a busy mom is to try the FODMAP diet. FODMAPs are short-chain carbohydrates that the intestine can struggle to absorb—something that can cause digestive and gut issues in many people.
A low FODMAP diet is a way of eating that encourages good bacteria growth in the gut. Although it is worth pointing out that the FODMAP approach isn’t about cutting out any food, but rather decreasing the amount of high FODMAP foods and increasing the amount of low Fodmap ones.
Foods that are particularly high in FODMAPs and that should be reduced include fruits like apples and avocados and watermelons, milk and milk-based products like ice cream, sweeteners such as honey, and even veggies like lettuce, onions, and leeks.
Even some legumes like lentils and kidney beans can be high in FODMAPs, which can surprise many people!
In contrast, foods that are low in FODMAPs should be increased for gut health. These include bananas, rhubarb, grapefruit, and veggies such as carrots, eggplant, and green beans. Lactose-free dairy products and hard cheese are also acceptable on a low FODMAP diet.
Indeed, bananas make a particularly great low FODMAP snack for the busy mom. After all, they contain lots of energy and require no preparation, and can be popped into your purse to grab while you are on the go!
Of course, many more foods fit in the low and high FODMAP categories than have been mentioned here. Therefore it’s well worth doing some detailed research on what you should and shouldn’t eat before beginning this way of eating. Oh, and don’t forget to check with your dr first, too! In fact, they may be able to suggest even more relatively easy ways that even busy moms can do to boost our gut health.