Foods For Gut Health In Women: A Guide To Incorporating Gut-friendly Foods Into Your Diet
A healthy gut spans into many areas for women so maintaining it is imperative. When your gut has a well-balanced microbiome, your digestion, hormone regulation, immune function, and mental health improves.
Let’s talk about gut health for women and what foods can be incorporated naturally for better health.
Why Is Gut Health For Women Important?
- Women, as they age, will have many hormonal shifts and changes throughout their lives, such as puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. The gut microbiome is critical in helping regulate hormone metabolism. When there is an imbalance, effects such as mood swings can occur.
- Digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can rise from an unhealthy gut. Maintaining a healthy gut can help alleviate bloating, abdominal pain, and irregular bowel movements. IBS and fatigue are also closely related, resulting in additional side effects.
- The gut and immune system are closely related. Women can be more susceptible to autoimmune diseases as well as an unhealthy gut can worsen existing conditions.
- When the gut doesn’t absorb nutrients properly, it can lead to nutrient deficiencies, which can have a significant impact on women’s health. This is especially true during pregnancy, breastfeeding, or menopause.
- Our gut and brain are connected through the gut-brain axis. Women are more likely to experience conditions such as anxiety and depression with an unhealthy gut.
- Imbalanced gut microbiome has been associated with weight gain and obesity. Taking care of gut health through a balanced diet supports weight management efforts.
- Skin health is directly related to diet. The gut-skin axis links a connection between gut health and skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and rosacea.
Food For Good Gut Health
Knowing why we should eat healthy diets and take care of our guts is one thing. Knowing what to eat and incorporate is something else. Understanding the food groups and what consists of those groups is the perfect way to manage your diet or better gut health.
Fiber-Rich Fruits and Vegetables
Fiber is essential because it helps with regular bowel movements and provides the necessary nourishment for beneficial gut bacteria. To get more fiber, consider a variety of fruits and vegetables into your diet.
Medical professionals recommend aiming for at least 25-30 grams of fiber per day. The best options are foods such as berries, leafy greens, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and artichokes.
Fermented foods are rich in probiotics. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can help promote a healthy gut from the inside out. Fermented foods are in processed. Look to Incorporate fermented foods like yogurt (with live cultures), kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, and miso into your diet. These foods can help boost and maintain a diverse gut microbiome.
Choose whole grains instead of refined grains to improve your gut health. Whole grains consist of oats, quinoa, brown rice, and whole wheat. They are also rich in fiber and can help regulate digestion. More importantly, they also provide essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Legumes don’t sound great, but they are for your gut health. They include beans, lentils, and chickpeas. They are incredible sources of fiber and protein. They promote a healthy gut environment by providing nourishment for gut bacteria. They are easily incorporated into soups, stews, and salads, or make homemade hummus for a gut-friendly snack. Chickpeas and soybeans are two favorites.
Not all fats are bad. Natural fats are great. That’s why women should look to include sources of healthy fats in their diet to support gut health. Foods like avocados, olive oil, nuts, and seeds provide necessary fatty acids that can help reduce inflammation. They also support a strong gut lining. Cut out or limit trans fats and heavily processed oils, as they can have a negative impact on gut health.
Prebiotics are different than probiotics. Prebiotics are specific types of fiber that serve as food for beneficial gut bacteria. Including prebiotic-rich foods into your diet can help boost these bacteria. Here are some examples include onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, chicory root, and dandelion greens. They may lead to bad breath, but they also lead to a strong gut.
Bone broth is trending. That is because bone broth is rich in collagen and amino acids that help gut health and it’s lining. It does this by soothing and healing the gut lining. You can try to make homemade bone broth using grass-fed or organic bones. If this is too much, look to buy high-quality store-bought options.
Beverages can help as well. There are some herbal teas that can have a soothing effect on the gut and support digestion. Here are some of the best options. Chamomile, peppermint, ginger, and licorice root teas are known for their gut benefits. By having a few cups a week, your gut will thank you.
Small Steps for Big Changes
This is a lot of information to take in for someone who has not considered their gut health to be the root of some of their health issues. But prioritizing gut health with a well-balanced diet can make a huge difference. By eating the above fiber-rich foods, vegetables, fermented foods, whole grains, and more, women can feel more supported and balanced.
Taking one step at a time is important when making these dietary changes. Trying too many things at once won’t allow for the trial period and is likely to make you fall off track.
But first, it’s always important to consult with your healthcare professional or registered dietitian for personalized dietary recommendations based on your individual needs and health considerations. Adding food triggers can be detrimental to gut health. A specialist can perform a number of diagnostics to make a personal plan beneficial to you.