Try These 5 Simple Snacks For Optimal Gut Health

Alexa Torontow
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Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, said it best: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
 
Most of us snack regularly throughout the day (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing). This means that several times a day, we have the opportunity to make beneficial snack choices that can help heal our guts and, as a result, enhance our overall health, wellbeing and vitality.
 
As most of us know from experience, there are certain foods and ingredients that wreak havoc on our digestive systems.
 
Thankfully, there are also plenty of foods and ingredients that can support the health and healing of our guts.
 
 

The Importance of a Healthy Gut

Although many symptoms and imbalances may appear to be unrelated to gut health, often times there is a correlation. What many people don’t realize is that the majority of illness and imbalance originates in the digestive system!
 
If our digestive system isn’t functioning properly, it doesn’t matter if we’re eating the healthiest and most nutrient-dense diet.
 
We have to be able to break down and absorb the nutrients we’re consuming in order to reap the benefits of what we’re eating.
 

The majority of illness and imbalances originate in the digestive system

 
Our digestive system is not only the major player in digestion and absorption of nutrients, it’s also the location of the majority of our immune systems. The state of our digestive system and the capabilities of our immune system are intimately intertwined.
 
The immune system relies on the digestive system to defend against pathogens (as it’s one of the main disease-fighting systems of the body), and the digestive system relies on immune responses to carry out its defense mechanisms.
 

Our digestive system is the location of the majority of our immune system.

 
Additionally, our digestive tract affects many factors that contribute to how we feel – such as our mood, weight, and energy levels (to name a few).
 
That’s why the integrity of our gut is absolutely vital, not only to our digestive health, but for the overall health and wellbeing of the entire body.
 
 

 
 

Here Are 5 Snacks You Can Eat For Optimal Gut Health:

There are a variety of foods and ingredients that help promote gut health in different ways – such as bitters, fermented foods, gelatin, anti-inflammatory foods, and carminatives (anything that relieves gas).
 

1. Artichokes

I know, I know, it isn’t as alluring as chips and guac, but hear me out. Artichokes are underrated and too often avoided. Many dislike them because they’re bitter in nature, but their bitterness is exactly why they should be consumed more regularly!
 
Many bitter plants contain very important anti-inflammatory properties, and in that way support for gut health.
 
Our bitter taste buds release a hormone (cholecystokinin), that controls the release of pancreatic enzymes and bile – which play a vital role in digestion . The release of these digestive enzymes are critical to breaking down food and maintaining the health of our digestive systems.
 
Artichokes can be dipped in lemon juice and olive oil, or another dip of your choosing!
 

2. Yogurt

Yogurt is best known for its high probiotic content, which is very important for the health of our digestive systems. Yogurt helps to promote a healthy microbiome.
 
If dairy doesn’t work for you, there are a variety of non-dairy alternatives loaded with probiotics as well. It’s best to opt for the plain, full-fat varieties to skip the sugar and other added ingredients.
 

3. Bone Broth

Bone broth is wonderful for gut health! It’s loaded with collagen, gelatin, glutamine, and protein. It can take just as little time to prepare due to its recent increase in popularity – most health food stores have frozen batches that just need to be reheated on the stove.
 
Lastly, it’s better than taking supplements with these ingredients individually as it’s very filling, and very easily digested and absorbed – which is very important if our digestive tracts are compromised.
 
Interested in learning more about the health benefits of bone broth? Check out these Six Health Benefits of Drinking Bone Broth
 

4. Celery With Almond Butter and Cinnamon

This is an easy snack with tons of benefits. Celery acts as a prebiotic, which improves gut health by supporting the amount of good bacteria and serves as the food source for probiotics.
 
Cinnamon is considered a carminative, which stimulates the digestive system to work properly via regulating gut contractions. It soothes the gut wall and helps relieve gas from the digestive tract.
 

5. Steamed Vegetables

Vegetables are loaded with vitamins and minerals that contain anti-inflammatory properties and will help reduce inflammation in the digestive tract.
 
And while eating some vegetables versus no vegetables at all is better, eating cold and raw veggies can actually irritate our digestive systems (especially if it’s already compromised).
 
To spice up steamed veggies as a snack, you can add olive oil (which is a great healthy fat for the GI tract), as well as spices such as cumin (which is another popular carminative like cinnamon).
 
 

Gut Healthy Snacks – The Takeaway

Take it from Hippocrates and let the food you eat be the medicine (or prevention) you need for gut health.
 
Every day we can make food choices that strengthen or weaken the integrity of our digestive systems. It doesn’t have to be time consuming, expensive, or complicated to heal our guts.
 
With so many diseases, ailments, and symptoms originating in our digestive systems, it really is of the utmost importance that we tend to our digestive systems with care. One way to do this is regularly consuming healing and nourishing foods that enhance our digestion and, as a result, our overall health.
 

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Alexa Torontow

Alexa Torontow is a naturopathic medical student, yoga teacher and writer in Canada. She's wildly passionate about preventative health, mindful movement and discovering daily tools that help us feel better and live better. Connect with Alexa on social @alextorontow or through her website.

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