Gut Health: How to Improve Your Microbiome with Kefir, Greek Yogurt, and Triphala
Gut health is essential to overall health and ties into several other health benefits. The microbiome is key to the state of our health as it helps to regulate the immune system and the metabolism, protects against infection, provides important nutrients, helps our body to break down food, and maintains intestinal integrity. To promote gut health, experts recommend eating probiotic-rich foods like kimchi, yogurt, and kefir, as well as collagen-rich foods like bone broth and salmon skin.
Kefir, a dairy-based beverage, typically has higher amounts of probiotics and protein when compared to regular yogurt. A Frontiers in Nutrition review article released in 2021 found that drinking kefir may aid in optimizing the gut microbiome by decreasing inflammation and increasing gut barrier integrity. A 2021 study in PharmaNutrition has indicated that drinking kefir may possibly lower one's risk of developing heart disease. To limit added sugar, check the ingredients label of yogurt.
Greek yogurt is a great source of probiotics and protein which can help boost the immune system. Greek yogurt is also low in sugar and calories than other types of yogurt, making it a perfect choice for those who want to satisfy their sweet tooth but are working to lose weight.
Prebiotics and probiotics are also essential for maintaining gut health. Prebiotics are foods high in fermentable soluble fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, that act as food for human microflora and promote a healthy abundance of beneficial bacteria in the digestive system. Probiotics are live beneficial bacteria and yeasts that keep our digestive system balanced and our bodies functioning properly.
One natural remedy to improve digestion and bowel movement is triphala. This is a herbal blend of three plants: amla (Indian gooseberry), bibhitaki, and haritaki. While haritaki is known to support healthy bowel movement and gut health, bibhitaki brings a gentle laxative action, and amla helps to balance the stomach acid levels and make the gut alkaline.
The body can be greatly impacted by stress, particularly in regards to the digestive system. The composition of gut bacteria can be altered by high levels of stress, which is caused by the release of hormones such as cortisol and through the process of inflammation. The gut bacteria can have a detrimental effect on eating behavior and mood, as they discharge toxins, metabolites, and neurohormones.
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