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4 ways to improve gut health | Meg Unprocessed

Part of our immune system is in our guts, so keeping our guts healthy can improve mental health, sleep and skin issues.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Keeping our bodies healthy is always important and many people tend to focus on what goes into their bodies. Now let's go over how what goes into our bodies affects our gut health. Part of our immune system lives in our gut and can affect mental health, sleep, skin issues and autoimmune diseases.

If you're pregnant, like me, gut health is especially important because the mother passes her microbiome on to the baby during labor.

Here are four simple ways to improve your gut health.

Eat a Variety of Plants

By eating a wide range of different fruits, vegetables and other plant-based foods, we are getting a wide range of good bacterium and other key nutrients that help promote good gut health. When people say "eat the rainbow," they mean it. That's because each color of food holds different phytonutrients and antioxidants we need for good health. A study in the National Library of Medicine found that a healthy gut is dependent on dietary diversity.

Eat More Prebiotic Food 

Prebiotic foods actually help feed the good bacteria that lives in our gut, so it's a good idea eat more of these foods.

Some examples of prebiotic foods:

  • garlic
  • onions
  • bananas
  • apples
  • lentils/beans
  • oats

Stay Away From Refined Sugar and Artificial Sweeteners 

Staying away from or limiting refined sugars, especially artificial sweeteners, is important for good gut health. Artificial sweeteners can induce glucose intolerance by altering our gut bacteria, according to a study in the National Library of Medicine.

Using things like fruit as your sweetener is a much better choice. I like to use date sugars or even just dates to sweeten desserts. Bananas are also a great choice as you can mash those up and stir them in things like oatmeal.

Eat More Probiotic Foods 

Probiotic foods are also very beneficial for the good bacteria. They also help to prevent bad bacteria from spreading in our guts. Fermented foods are some examples of probiotic foods.

Probiotic food examples:

  • tempeh
  • sauerkraut
  • kimchi
  • miso

WATCH MORE FROM MEG UNPROCESSED ON ABC10: Getting healthy fats into your diet | Meg Unprocessed