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Foods for your healthy gut microbiota

By Teddy S. Manansala, RND, D/MENRM, MSc

MICROBIOTA is the community of microorganisms that thrive in the gut and influence one’s health. By fermenting nondigestible food components, they contribute to the production of nutrients and energy and give us innate immunity.

The key is a diet that incorporates dietary fiber and probiotics. Meanwhile, negative impact may be caused by antibiotics and other medications, emulsifiers and high-intensity sweeteners. Even pesticides sprayed on produce may contribute to this undesirable effect.

The following food choices may aid in your overall gut health:

• Dairy Products. Cheeses such as Swiss, gouda, cheddar, and parmesan deliver intact probiotics because of their ideal pH level that facilitates survival and growth. Yogurt likewise contains Lactobacillus bulgaricus, while kefir is high in lactic acid bacteria, which aid digestion.

• Fermented Foods. Miso, sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, and pickles are rich probiotics sources. These may boost intestinal immunity and relieve diarrhea, abdominal pain and constipation.

• Fiber and Prebiotics. Dietary fibers are complex sugars which include inulin, fructo-oligosaccharides and other oligosaccharides. Fruits, leafy vegetables, cereals and whole grains are good sources for these, as they aid in the growth and diversity of these helpful microorganisms.

• Polyphenols. Dietary polyphenols are natural compounds present in coffee, tea, and wine, plus berries, cereals, dark chocolates and cocoa powder. They may likewise be found in vegetables such as artichokes, olives and asparagus. These ward off unwanted elements inside the body.

Teddy S. Manansala is a registered nutritionist-dietitian and a resident full-time faculty member of the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Institution Management, De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde Manila.

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