What is a Healthy Gut?
Bowel problems: a taboo topic for many, but one that is gaining much traction in modern society. Cramping, bloating, vomiting, hemorrhoids, diarrhea and even exhaustion, anxiety and depression. These are the symptoms we can look forward to if we have an unhealthy gut. Fortunately, we can ease the discomforts or avoid them altogether by maintaining a healthy gut.
But what exactly does a healthy gut look like? One that is colonized by trillions of bacteria, of course!
Wait...what? It sounds a bit bizarre, but these tiny microbes work intrinsically with your gut to regulate its functions. What’s more, health professionals are constantly discovering more about how your gut microbiome has an impact on almost everything, from weight loss to your mental well-being.
Why Are Guts so Unhealthy Nowadays?
I’m sure many of you have experienced that sinking feeling when you wake up and realize how much work you have to do that day. Or what about when you are late for an important meeting and you get caught in a traffic jam? Life can be stressful and our feelings are mirrored in our guts, causing a disruption to our digestion and sometimes negatively influencing our microbiome.
In addition to stress, many of the medicines we use today have a knock-on effect on our health. For example, antibiotics, whilst killing off that nasty infection, can destroy much of our friendly bacteria as well. Although it is an incredibly important, life-saving treatment, little thought has been given to its collateral damage until recent years.
Food Glorious Food: Processed, Meat and Dairy
Have you ever noticed how many aisles in the supermarket display processed food and only a few provide fresh produce? Nowadays, the majority of snacks contain additives, such as stabilizers and preservatives, as well as animal-derived products, such as dairy.
There is mounting evidence that animal-derived nutrients are less healthy for our guts than the plant-based versions. For example, protein from an animal source comes as part of a more inflammatory package than from an animal-free source. What’s more, foods containing meat and dairy can also encourage the growth of damaging bacteria in your gut.
Gluten: the Bad Guy?
Gluten is a more controversial subject and has caused much debate in the nutrition world. It is the number one environmental trigger for Celiac Disease and has been shown to cause many unpleasant symptoms, even in those without the disease. However, somewhat surprisingly, it has also been shown that a diet completely free from gluten can negatively influence the gut microbiota.
What can we make of these conflicting results? Studies have suggested that switching to a low-gluten diet might be the way forward.
Choosing Healthy Snacks to Create Balance in Your Gut
Fortunately, there are many ways in which we can support our guts to do their best, including eating a balanced diet. Of course, this can be difficult to achieve with our busy lifestyles, but that’s where healthy snacks come in. Snacking is often perceived as bad for you, but as long as we ensure that they are nutritionally balanced, they can do a lot to support your gut health.
Colors of the Rainbow
We’ve probably all heard that we should eat the colors of the rainbow, but what does that mean? Fruits and vegetables come in all sorts of shades and contain a variety of nutrients, such as antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. Eating a range of different colors is an easy way to ensure that we are getting all of the nutrients we need.
Here at Nagi, we use colorful ingredients in our protein bars, which are bursting with antioxidants, protein and vitamins!
As previously mentioned, studies suggest that sticking to a low-gluten diet is a great way to avoid triggering any unpleasant gut symptoms. However, gluten is found in so many foods nowadays that this can be difficult to stick to. That’s why it’s best to choose gluten-free snacks whenever you can, such as our EatNagi protein bars. Not only are they gluten-free, but they are nutritionally balanced as well, making them a perfect snack for your gut health!
To avoid the nasty inflammatory effects of snacks containing animal-derived products, it’s best to choose those that are free from animals, such as dairy-free snacks. Our vegan EatNagi protein bars are always dairy-free, so you can rest assured that the nutrients they contain are plant-based.
Fiber and Fermented Foods
Supporting your gut with natural probiotics, such as fermented foods, can help support the health of your existing microbiome. To give this an extra boost, increasing your dietary fiber intake will increase the fuel that your gut bacteria have to feed on. Our EatNagi Makaroon protein snacks, such as the Chocolate Almond Makaroons, contain a healthy dose of fiber to help promote the growth of a healthy microbiome.
How do you Support the Health of Your Gut?
Whilst eating a gluten-free, dairy-free, balanced diet is a great way to promote a healthy gut, there are many other things you can do, such as yoga and meditation. We would love to hear about what you do to support the health of your gut, so please feel free to comment below!