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Best Vegetables for Your Gut Health Eat your vegetables!” It’s a ubiquitous saying used to mock children and adults alike, but his warning is not in vain. A survey of 2,000 Americans showed that one in four adults has never eaten a vegetable. And despite knowing that a balanced diet provides the nutrition your body needs to ward off fatigue and illness, the average American only includes vegetables in a third of their meals.
It is why “superfoods” have become so popular: the essential to get the most out of what you eat. So as you build your plate of nutrient-rich foods, here’s something else to consider: Does that vegetable section benefit your gut bacteria?
Over 50% of your body’s cells are non-human, most of which does found in your intestines. These complex communities of bacteria, fungi, and other microbes settle in your body and can affect its functioning. The balance and health of the human gut microbiome are associated with various diseases, from physical illnesses, such as diabetes and obesity, to psychological and neurological disorders, such as anxiety, depression, and sickness, of Alzheimer’s.
Therefore, balancing your gut health is one of the first steps to ensuring your overall well-being. The microbiota does define in four ways:
Probiotic, such as Lactobacillus Plantarum, has anti-inflammatory properties and can help fight autoimmune diseases.
Beneficial, such as Blautia wexlerae, which helps digest complex carbohydrates
Neutral, such as Parabacteroides distasonis, helps protect against inflammatory bowel disease.
Unfavorable, such as Clostridioides difficile, is associated with inflammation and diarrhea.
Keeping your microbiome “in balance” means you create an environment that discourages the unfavorable and encourages the good. And you can do it with the food you eat.
Best Vegetables for your Gut Health Veggies High in Fiber
One of the primary things you can do to progress gut health is to increase your fiber intake. But, unfortunately, the average American consumes less than half of its suggested daily value.
There are two types of fiber: soluble (discussed later) and insoluble, and each has a different effect on gut health. The fame of insoluble fibers lies in their laxative properties. It resists dissolving in water, adding bulk to the stool to regulate bowel movements.
And while most vegetables are naturally high in fiber, the cruciferous family gets a gold star. Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and kale have all earned a spot on the list of high-fiber foods. And common sulfur compounds in the Brassica family bind to carcinogens in your intestines, flushing them out of your system and keeping harmful bacteria away.
Prebiotic Vegetables Best Best Vegetables for your Gut Health
Soluble fiber, on the other hand, is water soluble and breaks down into a gel in the intestines and colon. Not only does this protect your gut from inflammation, but beneficial microbiota feed on this gel, turning it into short-chain essential fatty acid
Prebiotics such as soluble fiber stimulates the growth of beneficial microbiota. For example, garlic is exceptionally high in inulin and oligosaccharides, as are other Allium vegetables such as onions, leeks, and shallots.
Resistant starch, such as that found in potatoes or Jerusalem artichoke, is also high on the list of probiotics. While starchy tubers have grown a bad rap in recent years for their high carbohydrate content, they also have the highest percentage of fatty acid conversion.
Veggies High in Polyphenols
Bifidobacteria and lactobacilli love these plant compounds! Polyphenols have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can cross the blood-brain barrier. Polyphenols impact everything from the gut to the brain, even preventing neurodegeneration.
Many foods gut health rich in polyphenols are spices, such as cloves or oregano, which do consume in small amounts. So it is because polyphenols are bitter and rich in vegetables such as artichokes, radicchio, and asparagus.
Fermented Vegetables Best Vegetables for your Gut Health
Okay, so fermentation is not a component of a vegetable but a process. But if the goal is to feed beneficial gut microbes, we can’t ignore the positive effect of fermented vegetables like sauerkraut, kimchee, and pickles. Probiotic foods like fermented vegetables add helpful bacteria to the gut colony and crowd out harmful bacteria.
Best Vegetables for your Gut Health Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and kale have all earned a spot on the list of high-fiber foods. And common sulfur compounds in leafy greens like spinach or kale are outstanding sources of fiber and nutrients like folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin K, and vitamin A. In addition, research displays that leafy greens contain an exact type of sugar that helps fuel the growth of healthy gut bacteria.
Also Read: Healthy Vegan Meal Plan