Superfood for your gut

A balanced, nutritious diet rich in pre and probiotics, coupled with sufficient sleep, will help maintain overall gut health.
Last Updated : 27 January 2020, 19:30 IST

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The Gastrointestinal (GI) tract plays an important role in sustaining good quality health. The GI tract consists of bacteria that help the body process food and maintain homeostasis, which maintains internal stability and overall well-being.

While external factors such as the environment, emotional stress, and use of antibiotics affect the gut bacteria, food plays a major role in the bacterial make-up of the gut.

Bloating, diarrhoea, gas and stomach pain are direct signs of an unhealthy gut; the imbalance often fixes itself but if symptoms persist for a longer duration, it may require medical attention.

How to maintain gut health?

A balanced, nutritious diet rich in pre and probiotics, coupled with sufficient sleep, will help maintain overall gut health, but excessive drinking, smoking and antibiotic abuse might adversely affect it. Limit processed meat, refined sugar, aerated drinks and refined foods which can lead to bloating and uneasiness.

Coconut oil for gut health

Advocates refer to coconut oil as a ‘superfood’ due to its myriad health benefits. Cold pressed virgin coconut oil has good taste and promotes health, since it is derived from fresh coconuts and is obtained from fresh, matured kernel of the coconut by mechanical or natural means, cold pressed and non-refined.

Organic virgin coconut oil is packed with anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-fungal nutrient lauric acid. This nutrient provides excellent support to help boost immunity and improve gut health. Coconut oil can aid in restoring healthy balance to an imbalance of bacteria in the gut. Cold-pressed virgin coconut oil contains a unique combination of fatty acids that have a powerful effect on metabolism. The medium-chain fatty-acids in the oil are easy to absorb and aid in digestion. The oil turns into monolaurin which is a powerful antimicrobial agent.

It can be used for cooking, salad dressings, stir-frying or can even be consumed as it is. It is important to remember that moderation is key and it is recommended to include virgin coconut oil in prescribed amounts to your daily diet — consumption of two spoons (10ml) of oil on a daily basis is considered good for health.

Remember that every individual’s body is different. Here are some tips that help improve gut health:

  • Eat more probiotic foods such as yoghurt as they encourage more microbes to grow.
  • Avoid highly processed foods.
  • Include prebiotic foods such garlic, onions and unripe bananas.
  • Consume fibre-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and pulses.
  • Switch to more plant-based foods.

(The author is a nutritionist)

Published 27 January 2020, 19:30 IST

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