The ever-changing superfood and nutrition trends can make selecting ingredients stressful, but with these six simple shake ingredients you can focus on a healthy gut without sacrificing taste.
Bacteria have a bad reputation as disease carriers, but as the BBC notes, your gut contains trillions of beneficial microbes that help regulate digestion, immune function, and weight loss. As such, a diet that keeps these microbes healthy is crucial.
Shakes are a convenient and fuss-free way to consume healthy bacteria while maintaining a healthy gut. Here are the top six tasty smoothie ingredients for a healthy gut.
You can’t talk about gut health without mentioning probiotics. Probiotics, or live bacteria, are added to supplements and food products such as yogurt to aid in digestion. These probiotics enhance gut microbiota and help boost the immune system. Yogurt is a common source of good bacteria that additionally protect bones and teeth. Thankfully, plain yogurt is perfect for many unique smoothie flavor combinations.
To consume more protein and maximize health benefits, choose either plain or Greek yogurt. Flavored yogurts usually have excess added sugar.
According to Lifehack.org, to get the digestive or immune boosting benefits of yogurt, choose a yogurt with live or active cultures. Medical News Today states, the National Yogurt Association has implemented the Life & Active Cultures (LAC) seal, found on the product container, so consumers can easily identify yogurts with live and active cultures.
Common shakes and smoothies contain carbs and protein, but little to no fat. If you are on a keto diet, avocado is a great way to add some healthy fat to a shake while also making it creamy and rich in flavor.
According to the Journal of Nutrition, consuming an avocado daily improves overall gut health. Avocados contain fiber and unsaturated fatty acids, which prompt greater microbial diversity and produce metabolites that support gut bacteria.
Pineapples provide plenty of health benefits, plus they sweeten your shake. Pineapple is rich in bromelain, a protein-digesting enzyme that combats inflammatory immune cells, called cytokines, which damage the gut lining. Pineapple stems are a rich source of bromelain for use in supplements.
Pineapples also contains large amounts of fiber and water for a healthy digestive tract.
People often avoid caffeine in their shakes because they believe it over stimulates the intestines, leading to diarrhea. According to TheLadders, while this may be true for the caffeine-sensitive, drinking coffee long-term may actually foster a more diverse bacterial microbiome in your gut. This diversity is key to better nutrient absorption, stronger immunity, and increased energy balance.
To make your smoothie even healthier, try using green coffee beans. Pretty Me’s review of Lean N Green Slimming Coffee states, green coffee is chock-full of antioxidants and chlorogenic acid, which turns fat and glucose into energy. In addition, green coffee promotes heart health. Regarding flavor, coffee is a tasty choice for any shakes or smoothies that aim to solve chocolate cravings.
Add a pinch of ginger to any shake or smoothie for a bold kick certain to spice up your daily routine. Ginger has long been used as a common herbal remedy to ease upset stomachs. Medicinal use of ginger can be traced back to thousands of years ago.
According to Healthline, delayed emptying of the stomach is believed to be a major cause of indigestion caused by . Ginger has been shown to speed up emptying of the stomach. Research suggests that the enzymes in ginger help break up gases produced during the digestion process. This aids in digestion by amplifying the effects of the enzymes trypsin and pancreatic lipase, both of which are important for gut health.
Certain chemical compounds in fresh ginger also help your body ward off germs, according to reports from WebMD. Ginger is very good at halting the growth of bacteria such as E.coli and Shigella.
Chia seeds are commonly known to be superfood for good reason. The slight nutty flavor of chia seeds is the perfect pair for chocolate, apples, cherries, berries, and bananas. Chia seeds are a delicious addition whether you are craving a shake with either a savory or sweet flavor.
Chia seeds are small in size but pack a punch in terms of nutritional value. Healthline reported, chia seeds are about 14% protein, which is very high in comparison to most plants.
According to WebMD, one ounce of chia seeds contains a staggering 11 grams of fiber, which can keep your gut flora well-fed. When chia seeds are hydrated they form a gel coating and expand up to 10 to 12 times in weight, creating more volume in your stomach which keeps you full for longer.
Happy Healthy Gut
A healthy gut microbiome is the backbone of a strong immune system, regulated weight loss, good heart health, improved mental well-being, and many other vital aspects of your health. Keep your digestive system in good shape by adding these six ingredients next time you make a shake or smoothie.