5 Simple Foods to Improve Gut Health
Here are 5 Simple Foods That Will Help Build Your Immune System, Boost Your Immunity, And Improve Your Gut Health?
There has been lots of talk recently about gut-health and how it truly impacts our health. As we know the best way to take care of illness is to prevent it in the first place. One of the ways that we can do that is to eat better foods and improve our gut-health.
First, let’s define some words, per dictionary.com (although these are the direct definitions from dictionary.com, I did remove the ones that had no bearing on the immune system or gut health):
Immunity–noun, plural immunities
1. The state of being immune from or insusceptible to a particular disease or the like;
2. The condition that permits either natural or acquired resistance to disease;
3. The ability of a cell to react immunologically in the presence of an antigen;
Immune System-noun, Anatomy.
A diffuse, complex network of interacting cells, cell-forming tissues and cell products, which saves the body from pathogens and other substances, destroys malignant and infected cells, and eliminates cellular debris: the system includes the spleen, thymus, lymph nodes and lymph tissue, white blood cells, stem cells, lymphokines and antibodies.
5 Foods That Will Help Boost Your Gut-Health
1. Button Mushrooms
All mushrooms are good for you but a lot of people don’t like them so let’s start with the most common – the button mushroom. They are high in Selenium, Riboflavin, and Niacin. If you are low on selenium you are more likely to get a more severe flu. Riboflavin and Niacin both play a role in a healthy immune system.
I’m aware that there have been concerns about eating raw oysters; however, you can eat cooked oysters. Oysters in any form contain Zinc which is known to create and activate white blood cells that are involved in the immune response. They are also aid your immune systems with healing wounds.
What is not to love? It contains an anti-oxidant called glutathione which strengthens the immune system so it can fight infections. The most glutathione in the watermelon is in the red flesh near the rind (the part most of us throw away).
Spinach is filled with lots of nutrients, this “super-food” has folate, which helps your body make new cells and repair DNA. It also high large amounts of fiber, antioxidants like Vitamin C and, of course, Iron. Eat it raw or lightly cooked for the most nutritional benefit.
I know a lot of people don’t like Spinach. But do me a favor and make this recipe and give it a chance. It changed my mind about Spinach, and definitely raw Spinach.
5. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are packed with beta-carotene. Within your body beta-carotene turns into Vitamin A, one of the vitamins that is helpful in getting rid of free radicals (as are carrots). This helps bolster the immune system and possibly improve the aging process.
And, just so you know, a sweet potato and a yam are not the same thing. Here is an interesting website to teach you the difference: http://www.ncsweetpotatoes.com/sweet-potatoes-101/difference-between-yam-and-sweet-potato/
Minerals That Will Help Boost Your Gut-Health
There are also some minerals found in specific foods and vegetables, which can help you boost your gut health. We are going to discuss in which foods, you will get the minerals and how they can help.
It is a B vitamin (B12). Found in foods like meat, milk, nuts, eggs, green vegetables and enriched flour. Riboflavin is good for preventing: cervical cancer, migraine headaches and riboflavin deficiency.
Also, it is used to treat: acne, riboflavin deficiency, burning feet syndrome, muscle cramps, carpal tunnel syndrome, and blood disorders like red blood cell aplasia and congenital methemoglobinemia.
Other uses include: boosting immune system function, increasing energy levels, maintaining healthy skin, hair, nails and mucous membranes; slowing aging; promoting healthy reproductive function; boosting athletic performance; memory loss (including Alzheimer’s Disease); canker sores; burns; ulcers; liver disease; alcoholism; sickle cell anemia; and treating lactic acidosis.
The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for Riboflavin is met by 97%-98% of all people. When there is not enough evidence to determine the RDA the amount needed is described in terms of Adequate Intake (AI).
The AI for riboflavin (vitamin B12) varies by age and gender, but according to https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002411.htm, the following is a good recommendation:
- Infants: 0-6 months – 0.3 mg/day; 7-12 month – 0.4 mg/day;
- Children: 1-3 years – 0.5 mg/day; 4-8 years 0.6 mg/day; and 9-13 years – 0.9 mg/day;
- Males age 14 and older – 1.3 mg/day;
- Females 14-18 years – 1.0 mg/day;
- Females age 19 and older – 1.1 mg/day;
- Pregnancy – 1.4 mg/day; and
- Lactation – 1.6 mg/day.
A type of B vitamin (B3). Found in milk, eggs, enriched breads and cereals, rice, fish, lean meats, legumes, peanuts, and poultry. It is water-soluble, which means it is not stored in the body and will dissolve in water. Leftover amounts of Niacin will leave your body through urine. It helps the digestive system, skin, and nerves as well as helping convert food to energy.
A niacin deficiency will lead to a condition called pellagra, while large doses of niacin can cause: increased blood sugar levels, liver damage, peptic ulcers, and skin rashes.
The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for Niacin is met by 97%-98% of all people. When there is not enough evidence to determine the RDA the amount needed is described in terms of Adequate Intake (AI).
The AI for niacin varies by age and gender, but per https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002409.htm the following are good recommendations:
- Infants: 0-6 months: 2 mg/day;
- 7-12 months 4 mg/day – for AI.
The RDA for niacin is:
- Children: 1-3 years: 6 mg/day; 4-8 years 8 mg/day; and 9-13 years 12mg/day;
- Males 14 and older: 16 mg/day;
- Females 14 and older: 14 mg/day;
- Pregnancy: 18 mg/day; and
- Lactation 17 mg/day.
A nutrient that the body requires to stay fit. Found in seafood, meat, poultry, eggs, dairy products, breads, cereals, and other grain products.
Most people get sufficient Selenium in their diets but certain groups are more likely to have problems getting enough selenium, including: those going through kidney dialysis, those with HIV and those who eat only local foods where the soil is low in selenium.
The Recommended Daily Allowance for Selenium depends on your age and gender, but here are some guidelines found at https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Selenium-Consumer/:
- Infants – birth-6 months – 15 mcg; 7-12 months – 20 mcg;
- Children – 1-3 years – 20 mcg; 4-8 years 30 mcg; 9-13 years – 40 mcg;
- Teens – 14-16 years – 55 mcg;
- Adults – 19-50 years – 55 mcg;
- Adults – 51-70 years – 55 mcg;
- Adults – 71 and older – 55 mcg;
- Pregnant – 60 mcg; and
- Lactation – 70 mcg.
A nutrient that is found in cells throughout the body. Zinc plays very important role during the pregnancy and infancy as it is needed by the body to develop properly. Found in oysters (which are the best source of zinc), red meat, poultry, seafood (crabs and lobsters), fortified breakfast cereals, beans, nuts, whole grains, and dairy products.
Most people get enough zinc from the foods they eat, but certain groups must be more careful than others, including: those who have had GI surgery such as weight loss surgery, those with ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s Disease, vegetarians, older infants who are breastfed, alcoholics, and people with sickle-cell disease.
The amount of zinc you require in your diet depends on your age and gender but the RDA is following:
- Infants – Birth-6 months – 2mg; 7-12 months – 3mg;
- Children – 1-3 years – 3mg; 4-8 years – 3mg; 9-13 years – 8mg;
- Boys 14-18 years – 11mg;
- Girls 14-18 years – 9mg;
- Adult men – 11mg;
- Adult women – 8mg;
- Pregnant teens – 12mg;
- Pregnant women – 11 mg;
- Breastfeeding teens – 13mg; and
- Breastfeeding women – 12 mg.
An antioxidant used by every cell and tissue in the body. It is critical for your body but has limited use as a dietary supplement because it breaks down rapidly during ingestion. Per http://www.immunehealthscience.com/glutathione-foods.html, it is found in asparagus, avocado, spinach, okra, broccoli, cantaloupe, tomatoes, carrots, grapefruit, oranges, zucchini, strawberries, watermelon, papayas, red bell peppers, peaches, lemons, mangos, bananas, cauliflower, walnuts, cucumbers, green bell peppers, apples, and grapes.
There are two kinds of fiber, one is soluble fiber and the other one is insoluble fiber. However, Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel-like material. It is found in peas, oats, apples, beans, carrots, citrus fruits, psyllium and barley.
Insoluble fiber is what helps material move through your digestive system and increase stool bulk. It is found in whole-wheat flour, nuts, wheat bran, vegetables and beans.
Benefits of a high-fiber diet include:
- Normalizing bowel movements;
- Maintaining bowel health;
- Lowering cholesterol levels;
- Helping to control blood sugar levels; and
- Aids in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.
The RDA for fiber, found at http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fiber/art-20043983?pg=2, is:
- Men 50 and younger – 36 grams per day;
- Men 51 and older – 30 grams per day;
- Women 50 and younger – 25 grams per day; and
- Women 51 and older – 21 grams per day.
Also known as L-ascorbic acid. It is a water-soluble vitamin. Humans are unable to naturally produce Vitamin C so it is essential that we get it through foods or vitamins. Found in red peppers, orange juice, oranges, grapefruit juice, kiwi, green peppers, broccoli, strawberries, potatoes, spinach, and green peas.
Vitamin C deficiency, also called scurvy, is rare anymore but some groups need to be more careful than others, including: smokers, infants fed evaporated or boiled milk, those with limited food variety, and those with malabsorption and other chronic diseases.
It is recommended, http://www.vitamincfoundation.org/vitcrda.php, that every man, woman, and child over the age of 3 consume at least 3000mg of Vitamin C a day.
What Is Your Best Option When Making Food Choices That Are the Best for You?
Moderation is always the key. Just as you can’t survive and be healthy on French fries and grilled cheese every day, you can’t eat only grapefruit and watermelon either. You should try and get a wide variety of foods without eating a lot of only one food. If you recall a few years ago, there was a huge deal about Kale being the new great food. It turned out that Kale is good for you in moderation, but eating Kale for every meal was making people ill. Moderation, variety and water have always been and will probably always be, the key to healthy eating.