We at TLC Nursing Service strive to do the best for all of our clients. A lot of what we do includes activities of daily living, that include doing meal prep for our clients. Our home health aides want to make sure that they are providing a balanced diet to our clients so that they can live a healthy lifestyle. The gut is an important part of keeping our clients healthy, so we’d thought we’d share some of our thoughts on easy ways to keep your gut thriving!
1. Eat Fermented Foods!
We know, we know, some of them might seem a little bit gross, but fermented foods like saurkraut, kimchi, kombucha, fermented coffee, cultured yogurt, and miso can improve your gut health with their natural probiotics. Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria and yeasts that thrive in your gut. Eating foods like this will enhance the effects of the already existing bacteria, and restore balance to your body. When you are sick, the good bacteria in your gut increase to outweigh the bad bacteria, and restore your health faster, so why not eat some saurkraut?
2. Think PREbiotic!
Now that we’ve talked about probiotics in fermented foods, it might be a good time to mention prebiotics. Basically, prebiotics serve as food for the probiotics to keep them alive and working. Usually foods containing high amounts of fiber also contain prebiotics, so think about adding lots of whole grains, vegetables, and some fruits. Probiotics and prebiotics working in tandem will help people who have weakened immune systems get well faster.
3. Stay away from artificial sugars!
I see a lot of people ripping apart a few of those yellow or pink artificial sugar packets into their iced teas and coffees, and it’s usually because they think it is better to use than sugar–but that is not totally true. Some studies have showed that they have negative affects on blood sugar levels due to their effects on gut microbiota, which we don’t want, especially for our clients with diabetes.
I know in previous generations, the star of each meal was a big piece of meat, but younger generations are wising up to the benefits of eating more plant based food. Yes, it’s better for the environment, but it could also be very good for your gut health. Studies have showed that vegetarian diets have showed reduced levels of disease-causing bacteria in obese people, leading to weight loss, and lower inflammation and cholesterol levels. It also protects you from diseases like E-coli. I’m not saying get rid of meat from your diet, but making it a side character instead of the star may be beneficial for you.
5. Eat Dark Chocolate and Drink Red Wine!
Okay, I’m not saying gorge yourself with chocolate and wine, but both are known to have polyphenols, which get digested by gut bacteria, reducing inflammation and can lower your risk of heart disease! Other sources of polyphenol include green tea, almonds, onions, blueberries, and broccoli!
6. Take a break! Get some rest.
So this one has two meanings. Obviously sleeping more, especially if you are lacking in the shut-eye department, is a game changer for your health. But, taking a break from eating constantly overnight gives your gut an opportunity to rest and heal from constant digestion, getting you ready for the next day. So, taking a break from midnight snacking will improve your gut health overall. Try replacing your midnight snack with a big glass of water, which we know is easier said than done–but the benefits are remarkable.
Again, easier said than done. But if you are super stressed, your gut is probably taking a little bit of the brunt for it. Whether it comes through meditating, yoga, or some other sort of relaxation (Netflix, anyone?), try to be aware of the way that you are feeling. If you’re a high strung individual, try and acknowledge that and carve out time in your day to balance out that stress with a peaceful activity or two, you’ll be better for it.
All in all, your gut health is super important to the way that your body functions. It is home to trillions of bacteria, and fueling the good kind is important. This may sound like flipping your life upside down, but start with one good change at a time, and you will feel the difference in your body. We at TLC Nursing Service know that our companions and home health aides are taking these things into consideration when they are prepping for our clients, and remind them how to stay healthy without sacrificing the things that they love. Everyone is human, and we strive to help our clients be the best, happiest versions of themselves that they can be.