Gut bacteria imbalances, or dysbiosis, have been linked to a variety of health issues, including obesity and diabetes, heart disease, endocrine and immune disorders, bone disease, cancer, circulatory problems, and even Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive-aging.
Gut bacteria, on the other hand, play a much more active role in your general health than previously believed; therefore what you feed your resident microorganisms is critical. According to research from the National Institute on Aging, developing good eating habits might be even more important for gut health as we get older.
“As individuals grow older, there is normally more medication usage, which can have a negative impact on the gut,” says Sydney Greene, MS, RDN.
Here are some healthy-gut dietitian recommendations on how to maintain a healthy gut as you get older.
1 — Get fiber to your belly.
The key to getting your gut health back in balance for life is to form microbiome-friendly diet habits, especially by feeding it fiber.
“It’s critical to consume fiber-rich fruits, grains, and vegetables to support gut health,” adds Greene.
Bacteria require food to grow in number and diversify. Fiber is the source of nutrients for bacteria, allowing them to flourish and multiply. A thick mucus barrier that lines our intestines is maintained by a high and diverse population of microbes, which reduces inflammation throughout the body and prevents toxins from leaking out of the intestinal wall, known as “leaky gut.”
2 — Refined foods are to be avoided.
Cutting back on refined flour products and sugars in your diet is also linked to eating more whole foods that are fiber-rich. “Make a point of skipping baked goods and white bread as much as possible while replacing with greater dietary fiber sources like whole oats, brown rice, quinoa and sweet potatoes,” said Laura Krauza, MS.
3 — Fill up on foods that are fermented.
Work naturally fermented foods into your diet while you’re creating a habit of consuming more fiber-rich meals. Microorganisms flourish in stored foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, naturally fermented pickles, kefir, and yogurt because to their preservation.
“I advise including at least one food that is probiotic-rich in your diet every day,” says Greene.
They help to reduce the pH of your intestine, making it more difficult for harmful germs to grow and flourish.
4 — Don’t resist starch; eat the resistant kind.
You’ve undoubtedly heard of this rebellious carbohydrate known as resistant starch. It is recognized for promoting the growth of beneficial microorganisms in the gut by resisting digestion in the small intestine and moving along to the large intestine, where the fibers fermented into a prebiotic that helps nourish good bacteria.
“Beans are the perfect food for a healthy summer diet,” adds gut health expert Kara Landau, RD. “Beans contain nutrients and anti-inflammatory compounds that can boost our immunity and help us stay thin.”
Grains that are cooked and then cooled down, such as legumes, lentils, pulses like green bananas and white beans, are high in resistant starch. In baking, resistant starch flour may be used.
5 — Load up on lactobacillus.
You’ve undoubtedly heard that yogurt has beneficial probiotic properties. You may even be aware that yogurt is particularly effective in boosting lactobacilli species that promote health. Did you realize, though, that cheese is another great dairy source of beneficial bacteria in the stomach?
Cheese, according to doctor William W. Li, MD, is beneficial for your gut since it has its own microbiome as a result of the starter culture; it’s also high in calcium and protein.
Dr. Li points out that Parmigiano-Reggiano, the renowned hard cheese from Parma, Italy, is high in Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus casei, which studies indicate may help with diabetes, obesity, gastroenteritis and cancer.