A tremendously overlooked area of the body responsible for maintaining good overall health and wellness is the gastrointestinal tract (aka gut). A healthy gut is far more important to our health than most people realize. With the abundance and affordability of processed foods it's just a matter of time before the digestive tract begins to falter leading to a plethora of health issues.

There are trillions of bacteria and other microorganisms (microbiota, collectively) that inhabit the human digestive tract (mostly in the colon), referred to as the microbiome. It is natural for these microbiota to reside there. These microbiota are a very diverse array of beneficial bacteria that serve a valuable purpose of maintaining our health and wellness. We could not survive long without them.

As certain foods, especially those indigestible to humans, pass through the gut they come in contact with the microbiota which feed on these food remnants. The microbiota produce various compounds that are then serviceable to the body. Expanding the diversity of the microbiota is essential to increasing the potential health benefits.

Research indicates that having a large variety of bacteria in the gut may help reduce the risk of conditions like diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, and psoriatic arthritis. Other important benefits of a diverse microbiota include boosted immunity, production of vitamin K, prevention of certain cancers, healthy digestion and improved sleep.

The key to a flourishing microbiome is a diet steeped in healthy essential food sources.  These microbiota need to be fed a variety foods to produce the compounds that the body can use to keep itself healthy and functioning properly. Whole natural foods void of processing and harmful chemicals will help to ensure a healthy gut.

Here are 5 types of foods to help create a more diverse and robust gut microbiota.
• High fiber foods - beans, blackberries, avocado, lentils, quinoa, broccoli
• Fermented foods - yogurt, kefir, kimchi, kombucha
• Polyphenols - nuts, olives, herbs & spices, flaxseeds, green tea, berries
• Beta-glucans - wheat, oats, rye, barley, maize, sorghum
• Probiotics - sauerkraut, tempeh, pickles, miso, supplements

The higher the diversity of these five types of foods the more powerful the microbiome and its healthy influence on the body. So, do your best add each of these types of foods to your regular diet to ensure that your body continues to stave off disease and works efficiently.

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Stay healthy and be an Active Body today.