I’ve been seeing a bunch of inspirational videos on my social media about eating a healthier diet, taking care of our bodies, and getting active. Another popular topic that comes across my feed daily is gut health, and the natural healing powers of healthy foods. Everything we eat in a day is broken down in our digestive system and enters our bloodstream so our bodies can absorb the nutrients. Your body can only do this properly with a healthy gut! Read on to learn more about gut health and healthy eating choices from our Crisp Collaborator, Emily Straw!
What is Gut Health?
Gut health isn’t just about digestion. Your gut health affects your heart health, mental health, skin, immune system, metabolism and so many other body functions. Our gut microbiome has more than 100 trillion bacteria living inside of it. The term gut microbiome refers to the microorganisms living in your intestines. This bacteria feeds on dietary fiber to perform a variety of duties including, breaking down food so our bodies can perform all it’s necessary function, helping make vitamins B and K, and breaking down dietary fiber. This breakdown results in a release of beneficial, anti-inflammatory fatty acids that are critical energy sources for our bodies.
What Makes a Healthy Gut:
Did you know that 70% of your immune system resides in your gut? When your immune system is weak, it can be traced back to what is going on in your gut. For a healthy immune system, your gut must be healthy and in balance. So in order to stay healthy, it is critical to prioritize your gut health and make sure what you put into your body is supporting your gut and immune system.
Your gut is also your second brain. Our brain and gut are connected by a network of neurons, chemicals and hormones. You know that growling sound your stomach makes when you’re hungry? That’s your gut talking to you! You can throw your digestive system off by eating unhealthy foods or consuming foods your body is sensitive to (dairy, gluten, caffeine, etc…) causing you to feel bloated or experience stomach pains. This gut-to-brain connection can also be an indicator of poor digestive health that can lead to mood disorders. There have been many studies and research done that has proven there is a connection to depression and anxiety and gut health.
Which Foods are Good for Gut Health?
Here are a couple ways and things you can do to help support your gut. Eat a fiber rich diet, take a probiotic to help support the good bacteria in your gut, eat fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut or miso, exercise regularly, cut out processed sugar and alcohol. Lastly increase the diversity of your diet, focus on eating many different kinds of fruits and vegetables to help buildup the healthy bacteria in your gut. Have you ever heard someone say “eat a rainbow of foods?” This is what they’re talking about!
- Whole Grains
Our Five Favorite Recipes for Gut Health:
There’s many other food items that play a role in gut health, and it’s important to include them in your meals when you can. We’ve selected our 5 Favorite Recipes for Gut Health to leave you feeling satisfied and full of energy to take on the day whether you’re in the office, on the job site, or working at home! All recipes feature fresh Stemilt fruit including a delicious Apple Butter and Almond Toast recipe from our Crisp Collaborator, Emily Straw.
Almond Butter & Apple Toast
This Almond Butter & Apple Toast is packed with probiotics and live microorganisms that are crucial for good digestion. It’s recommended to choose fresh sourdough for this recipe. Sourdough is a fermented food that has many gut health benefits and makes for a great breakfast or snack choice.
Ginger Pear Smoothie
This immune-boosting Ginger Pear Smoothie is a great source of vitamin C & fiber and comes together in just a few minutes. With the addition of Kefir, (a fermented milk drink similar to yogurt) and ginger, this green smoothie creates a bioactive substance called gingerol that lowers your risk of infections!
Honeycrisp, Apple, Brussel Sprout, and Kale Salad
Boost your intake of greens for the day and try this fresh and crispy Honeycrisp, Brussel Sprout, and Kale Salad! Kale and Brussel sprouts are excellent sources of fiber which help feed beneficial gut bacteria in our digestive system. Fresh Honeycrisp apples balance the robust flavor of leafy greens making for a crunchy and sweet salad.
Harvest Buddha Bowls
Have you hopped on the lunch/dinner bowl fad yet? If not, you have to try these Harvest Buddha Bowls! They’re the complete package of whole grains, pickled apples, cheese, and nuts (not to mention, they’re beautiful.) Not only will you be eating a rainbow of gut healthy foods, but you’ll also stay full and satisfied afterwards. Try adding any of your favorite Stemilt apples or pears for added hints of sweetness!
Homemade Apple Cider Vinaigrette
Simple, and antioxidant-rich, This Apple Cider Vinaigrette pairs well with most any kind of salad! Apple cider vinegar contains healthy probiotics to protect your digestive system’s natural bacteria and prevents damage to the body’s cells. It’s quick and easy to make, and even acts as a natural remedy for acid reflux.