Our bodies are amazingly intricate systems that have the ability to do incredible things. If we give ourselves the right fuel and foundation, our bodies can recover from a lot of health conditions and changes. The key to being able to heal ourselves is making good decisions about what we consume. It can be difficult, but gut health is highly impacted by our diets. This is important because health experts are now discovering how essential a healthy gut microbiome is to our overall wellness. It is very important to maintain a healthy balance of good bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract – it impacts everything from emotional to physical well-being. To ensure that your gut is as healthy as possible, it is best to avoid foods that disturb this delicate bacterial balance. Check out these 10 absolute worst foods for your gut.
Gluten is in a lot of common foods, from breads and pastas, to sauces and other packaged foods. Gluten gives food a nice texture and taste, but is not good for the gut. Many people are gluten sensitive or intolerant, but gluten can still be harmful for those who are not. This protein can pose long-term danger to gut bacteria. Instead of gluten, try looking for foods that do not contain grains like wheat or barley. Many companies offer gluten-free options now, so it is not too difficult to try avoiding gluten.
Sugar isn’t great in a lot of ways, but it’s also not the best food for your gut. And the reason lies in the fact that gut bacteria feed off of what you eat. Good gut bacteria are powered by prebiotic foods. But bad gut bacteria mainly feed off of sugar. This can create an imbalance if the bad bacteria begin to outweigh the good. Sugar that is bad for the gut also includes things like brown sugar and artificial sweeteners. Try natural sweeteners like honey or dark chocolate if you need a sweet fix.
Fried and Processed Foods
Fried foods and processed foods are bad for the gut for the same reason as sugar. They feed the bad gut bacteria, and cause imbalances in gut flora. Studies have shown that eating junk food and fried foods for just one week can result in the loss of a third of the species of gut bacteria. This is impactful because the more diverse the gut microbiome, the healthier we are. Instead of junk food, try a healthier option. And instead of frying foods in vegetable oil, try avocado or coconut oil, which do not break down as harmfully as other oils.
As much as we once thought that a glass of milk was so good for us, we’ve found out just how poorly it moves through the body. It causes inflammation, mucus formation and wreaks havoc on the gut. There is also the possibility of consuming antibiotics through dairy, which originate from cows being given antibiotics. Instead of dairy, try non-dairy milk alternatives. Or look for organic, grass-fed milk.
This food component is very hard to avoid, as it is in a lot of foods you’d never imagine. Some soy is healthy, but for the most part, the soy that we consume has been genetically modified and highly processed. High soy diets ruin gut bacteria quickly. Instead, try looking for organic soy products.
Organic, grass-fed beef is not terrible in moderation, but many red meat eaters are not going the super healthy route. Recent studies have shown that typical red meat destroys gut bacteria fast. And of course, with 80% of the US antibiotic supply being used on livestock, the risk of consuming dairy-based antibiotics goes up. Instead, look for grass-fed, organic red meat, or avoid it all together.
Tap water used to be a main source of water that was trusted as good drinking water. And while many people still do utilize it for hydration, it is not great for gut health. It can contain many chemicals that harm the gut, such as chlorine. Try switching to filtered water if at all possible.
Just like other diary, eggs are also not a great route for maintaining good gut bacteria. The risk of antibiotics is still present, because most eggs are derived from chickens who are not fed healthy diets are allowed to roam free. Instead of typical eggs, try to look for free-range, drug-free eggs.
As our ways of food production continue to demise, we see how typical fish is unhealthy as well. Much of the fish supply are raised on farms, not in the wild, and are also given antibiotics typically. Additionally, some fish have high levels of mercury, which can lower gut health in large quantities. Again, when eating fish make sure that the fish are wild-caught.
Overall, many of the typical foods that we eat or are available to us would be considered GMOs, which stands for Genetically Modified Organism. Many of the foods on this list would be categorized as GMOs, and they are all not good for your gut flora. The best thing you can do is to look for foods that have labeling identifying themselves as non-GMO.