What exactly is gut health..? Some of you might already have this doubt.. But no worries. In this article, we’ll clarify that doubt and also learn how to maintain our gut healthily.
What is the Gut and Gut Microbiome?
The term ‘Gut’ refers to the Gastrointestinal System, which includes parts like the stomach and intestines. This system is responsible for digesting the food we consume, absorbing nutrients from it, and excreting waste. In the large intestine, nearly 200 types of bacteria, viruses, and fungi reside. The beneficial bacteria and other microorganisms present in the gut are referred to as the Gut Microbiome. These beneficial bacteria aid in the breakdown of food and transform it into nutrients that the body can use. The good bacteria in our gut are very beneficial to our body. However, the presence of harmful bacteria can lead to various types of diseases. Gut health significantly influences both our physical and mental health.
Does poor gut health lead to cancer?
According to some studies, excessive fat and ultra-processed food can negatively impact the diversity of the gut microbiome. Changes in the gut microbiota can pave the way for various types of cancers. Moreover, bacteria and their activities not only assist in cancer development but also adversely affect the pharmacodynamics of cancer-preventive drugs, as revealed in these studies. When there is an imbalance in the gut microbiota, it also attacks the gut lining and the surrounding cell networks, causing inflammation. This inflammation leads to tumor development. It also accelerates cell damage and directly harms the DNA of epithelial cells, leading to various types of cancers. To prevent such diseases, we must maintain our gut health.
Let’s now learn about the foods we should consume to maintain our gut health.
Vegetables and Fruits:
To keep our gut health in check, we should consume foods that are high in fiber. Our digestive system cannot break down fiber, so the bacteria in our gut do it instead. This fiber aids in the growth of gut bacteria and also helps in the elimination of waste from our bodies. Foods high in fiber include legumes, potatoes, green leafy vegetables, whole grains, bananas, and apples. Consuming a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can prevent the growth of certain disease-causing bacteria, as revealed in a study.
Curd: Curd is an excellent probiotic. It helps alleviate issues like acidity. Consuming curd not only significantly improves gut health but also benefits our body. The bacteria present in yogurt are very beneficial to our bodies and help prevent various types of infections.
Food Rich in Flavonoids:
Flavonoids are plant-based compounds (compounds found in plants). They provide various benefits to our health. Foods rich in flavonoids can help reduce the risk of heart-related diseases, diabetes, and certain types of cancers, as suggested by researchers. Foods that are high in flavonoids include lettuce, tomatoes, onions, apples, grapes, and fruits belonging to the berry family.
However, maintaining a healthy gut is important for overall well-being, and it can potentially contribute to reducing the risk of various diseases, including cancer.