It is surprising how much of our overall health is linked to our gut health. The gut microbiome—the microbes and bacteria that are in your digestive system—has been connected to improved immune system, cognitive health and even your mental health. Feeding your gut healthy foods is key to keeping your gut healthy and happy, and the most important foods that you should be consuming every day for your gut health are plants.
Not just any particular plant, but a wide variety of plants will make a big difference for the health of your gut microbiome. People who eat more than 30 different plants each week have gut microbiomes that are diverse with a lot of thriving bacteria versus people who eat 10 plants or less. According to Microorganisms, a decrease in the variety of bacteria within the gut has been connected to higher risk of intestinal disorders as well as neurological and metabolic disorders.
While the types of diets did not seem to matter all that much (whether it be vegan, vegetarian or something else), the number of different plants made a big difference for bacteria that is found in the gut.
“Plants” can mean a number of things—not just veggies. While other kinds of vegetables are important as well, plant foods could also include nuts, fruits, seeds, beans, legumes and even whole grains. However, recent developments in nutrition have shown that plants packed with prebiotic dietary fiber, in particular, are good for keeping bacteria within the gut happy and thriving.
Prebiotic foods have also been known for feeding the bacteria that currently resides in your gut and helping to keep the microbiome thriving, which includes spinach, pulses, wild blueberries, oats and more. Probiotics are also known for diversifying the bacteria that is in your gut, so having foods such as Greek yogurt, kefir, pickles and kimchi in your diet is also important.
All in all, striving for a number of different plants in your diet is ideal for helping the gut microbiome have a variety of bacteria, which could also help with your overall health. Including plants in all your meals each day is important for a healthier gut microbiome—while keeping you satisfied and full as well.