“Gut health” is a term we’re hearing more often nowadays. Whether in the gym or on social media, more and more health enthusiasts are asking us about gut health and good bacteria. So, what is gut health and why should it matter to you?
Believe it or not, our stomachs are home to roughly 1,000 different species of gut bacteria that make up about 100 TRILLION organisms, both good and bad.
While it’s strange to think our bodies harbor so many “microbiota” (the science term for the internal world of gut bacteria), these organisms actually play a vital role in our health.
“It metabolizes nutrients from food and certain medications, serves as a protective barrier against intestinal infections, and produces vitamin K, which helps make blood-clotting proteins,” states a 2016 article in Harvard Health Publishing.
To help keep your gut health in check, Harvard recommends to not overuse antibiotics, which not only kill bad gut bacteria, but also good gut bacteria.
Also, fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles and certain types of yogurt, may help introduce more good living organisms into your body.  Additionally, probiotic supplementation, whether in pill form or via the ever-popular Kombucha drink, is another option for introducing more good bacteria into your gut.
However, another article in Harvard Health Publishing warns that not all fermented foods are created equal. 
“The jars of pickles you can buy off the shelf at the supermarket are sometimes pickled using vinegar and not the natural fermentation process using live organisms, which means they don’t contain probiotics,” the article states.
“To ensure the fermented foods you choose do contain probiotics, look for the words ‘naturally fermented’ on the label,” the article continues, “and when you open the jar look for telltale bubbles in the liquid, which signal that live organisms are inside the jar.”
Signs you may have bad gut health, aka dysbiosis , may include, but are not limited to, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, nausea and even heartburn.
So, what can you do to combat bad gut health?
For starters, eating more vegetables, fruits and lean proteins while also reducing your intake of refined, highly processed foods is a great first step.
A 2016 article from the University of Washington  said that a major cause of dysbiosis of the gut is a direct result of the “standard American diet” – aka lots of trans-fats, hydrogenated fats, high sugar, low fiber, overly processed foods and repeated consumption of antibiotics.
“High amounts of sugar and high fructose corn syrup feed yeast and other unhealthy bacteria in the biome,” the University of Washington article states. “They then grow out of proportion and crowd out the healthier bacteria. Yeast and unhealthy bacteria demand to be fed, therefore causing the overeating of more harmful foods.”
You don’t have to tell us twice!
At Fresh Meal Plan, healthy eating is what we do best! With delicious, pre-cooked meals delivered right to your door, we not only aim to revolutionize your approach to healthy eating, but to also improve your inside gut health and overall wellbeing.
Every Fresh meal, whether Paleo, Ketogenic, Traditional or Vegetarian, is loaded with healthy foods, such as hearty vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and fruit. Even our Paleo brownies are good for you!
So, what are you waiting for? If your gut isn’t happy, it’s time to make a change with Fresh in your fridge. Discover more about our healthy prepared meals above. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest Fresh news and more.
1. “Can gut bacteria improve your health?” (October 2016.) Harvard Men’s Health Watch, Harvard Health Publishing.
2. Bilodeau, Kelly. “Fermented foods for better gut health.” (May 16, 2018.) Harvard Women’s Health Watch, Harvard Health Publishing.
3. Kolahi, Kay. “Happy Gut, Healthy Life. Eating for a Healthy Gut.” (Nov. 2, 2016.) The Whole U, University of Washington.