Don’t look now, but there are between 30 trillion and 400 trillion gut bacteria that call the human body home.
Most of them hang out in our gastrointestinal tract, specifically our gut. The trillions of these bacteria that live inside us are called microbiota.
Because we have such an important lifelong relationship with these symbiotic critters, all of them together make up an internal ecosystem that scientists call the gut microbiome.
As we go through life, our microbiome is either helped or hindered by such factors as aging, where we live, medication and antibiotic use, disease, the environment, diet and supplementation.
If we don’t give our gut bacteria the right amount of protein, fats and micronutrients, then our digestive tract can’t properly do its job of absorbing nutrients.
But if we feed our gut right, it does all of the good things we rely on it to do: break down foods; make vitamins; produce energy; and help our immunity.
Gut bacteria also play major roles in supporting cardiovascular health, brain health, plus reducing the likelihood that we will become obese.
Some foods — like soy protein, plus the bioactive peptides and amino acids that can be unlocked from it — help us to live gut-friendly.
Here are 4 ways to a more happy gut!
1. Grab More Protein and Amino Acids!
Regular digestive wear and tear requires frequent repair. If we add inflammation, bowel challenges or other gastrointestinal issues to the mix, then we need even more protein and other nutrients to help restore gut health.
Eating more good protein helps us also digest protein more easily, because more protein enzymes get released and set to work.
In addition to protein, fats, vitamins and minerals, we also need amino acids to feed the gut and help rejuvenate the gut lining.
Fortunately, soy contains four major components that can improve the composition of the gut bacteria: fiber, oligosaccharides, isoflavones and protein.
Soy also contains bioactive peptides, including lunasin and soymorphin, which, according to research, boost brain health, support healthy cholesterol levels, encourage glucose health, tackle inflammation, aid immunity and curb appetite.
2. Fill Up With Fiber
Fiber-rich vegetables are among the best microbiome-friendly foods.
They contain a type of starch, called resistant starch, which acts like soluble fiber. A bunch of studies show that resistant starch can have powerful health benefits.
These benefits include improved healthy metabolic health, reduced appetite and improved digestion. Fiber also feeds the good bacteria in your gut.
Good examples of foods that are rich in resistant starch include lentils, chickpeas and beans, firm bananas, rolled oats and cashews, and certain whole-grain products.
Almonds, apples, artichokes, blueberries and pistachios also increase our bodies’ levels of specific good bugs, called Bifidobacteria.
Choosing a diet with a variety of fiber is also a really good way to keep your digestive system happy.
3. Go for More Fermented Foods
Many traditional diets in the world feature fermented foods. In fact, milk from camels, goats, sheep and cattle was naturally fermented as far back as 10,000 BC.
But it wasn’t until the 1800s, however, that people really understood the science of how yeast is able to ferment foods.
The fermentation process involves bacteria or yeasts that convert the sugars in food to organic acids or alcohol. Examples of fermented foods include kefir, kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut and yogurt.
Some of the most popular fermented soy foods include miso, natto, pickled tofu, tamari and tempeh.
Fermented soy is especially nutritious because the fermentation process is able to unlock the bioactive peptides and other nutrients inside soy.
Bioactive peptides work to improve our satiety (our ability to feel full) by supporting healthy levels of the hunger hormones, leptin and ghrelin.
4. Aim for Extra Polyphenol-Rich Foods
In nature, polyphenols are natural colors that protect plants against mold, disease, bugs and ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
When we consume foods rich in these natural antioxidants, some health enhancing benefits can be passed along to us, as well.
And most of the benefits of these colorful compounds need to be set free by, yes you guessed it, our gut bacteria.
Good sources of polyphenol-rich foods include: almonds, broccoli, cocoa, grape (skin), green tea, onions and red wine.
So there you have it. Gluten-free, protein-packed, bioactive peptide- and amino-acid-rich Almased can be a powerful part of your new gut-friendly diet!