Many recent studies have shown that the key to a person's health starts from his gut. Apart from smooth digestion, the health of the gastrointestinal tract decides a person's immunity, mental health, and chances of developing serious health issues such as cancer, heart disease, and autoimmune disease.

The health of the gut microbiome is decided by a combination of several factors such as family genes, environment, medication, and diet. Among these factors, the quality and the type of food intake play a significant role.

Food to avoid

1. Sugar: Too much sugar in the diet eliminates healthy gut bacteria, which can cause inflammation in the body and pave the way to much more serious health problems. Studies have shown that people on a high sugar diet have increased chances of constipation and poor overall gut function.

2. Processed food: Processed food contains large amounts of salt, fat, sugar, and different types of food additives such as preservatives that can affect the balance of a healthy microbiome.

3. Red meat: Consumption of red meat increases the chances of certain bacterial strains overgrowing in the gut, which can negatively impact your health.

4. Fried food: Fried food is rich in saturated fats and harmful to gut health. Saturated fats make the food tougher to digest. It can also cause inflammation and other gut-related issues.

5. Artificial sweeteners: Although artificial sweeteners are low-calorie sugar substitutes, it is not beneficial for long-term weight loss, according to new guidelines by WHO. Artificial sweeteners are also found to affect the composition of the gut microbiome, increase glucose intolerance and cause metabolic diseases.

6. Alcohol: Excess alcohol consumption can cause damage to the gut lining and leads to bacterial overgrowth, which may result in poor digestion and acid reflux.

Foods to include

1. Fermented food: Certain fermented foods such as yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, and tempeh help in promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria and reduce the growth of disease-causing bacteria in the gut.

2. Foods rich in fiber: Fruits, legumes, and beans are rich sources of fiber that your body cannot digest. A fiber-rich diet however stimulates the growth of certain bacteria in the gut, which feed on the roughage for their growth.

3. Foods rich in probiotics: Probiotics promote the growth of good bacteria in the gut. Including food items such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will ensure the growth of beneficial bacteria that aid in digestion.

fruits and vegetables
Including food rich in fiber such as fruits, vegetables and legumes helps in gut health. pixabay