6 Awesome Shake Ingredients for a Healthy Gut
Bacteria often get a bad reputation for being carriers of disease. While that may be true, BBC notes that your body — especially your gut — contains trillions of mostly beneficial microbes. These bacteria help regulate digestion, immune function, and weight loss. As such, you should be keeping them healthy through your diet.
Shakes are one convenient and fuss-free way to consume healthy bacteria and keep your gut healthy — on top of providing a protein boost after hitting the gym, as we’ve mentioned in our post on Workout Recovery. But with so many superfoods and nutritional supplements available, it can be overwhelming to decide which ones to include in your shake. To help you out, we’ve rounded up six of our top 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 as well. Aside from being a common source of good bacteria, yogurt (being a dairy product) promotes bone health too, according to an article on Medical News Today.
To maximize yogurt’s health benefits, it’s best to choose either the plain or Greek variety for more protein content, as the flavoured ones usually have excess sugar added.
Most shakes contain carbs and protein, but little to no fat. If you’re on a ketogenic diet, avocado is a great way to get in some healthy fat in your shakes while also making them creamier and richer. Plus, daily avocado consumption has also been shown to promote the presence of more fibre-digesting bacteria in the gut, as stated in The Journal of Nutrition. These bacteria produce metabolites which facilitate better gut health.
Pineapples add a touch of sweetness to your shake while bringing plenty of health benefits. These tropical fruits are rich in bromelain, a protein-digesting enzyme that also combats cytokines, which are inflammatory immune cells that damage your gut lining. The stems contain the most bromelain content, so they are often extracted and turned into supplements.
Aside from these benefits, pineapples also contain lots of fibre and water for a healthy digestive tract.
People tend to avoid caffeine in their shakes because they believe it overstimulates the intestines, leading to diarrhoea. While this may be true for the caffeine-sensitive, a study featured on The Ladders reveals that drinking coffee long-term may actually foster a more diverse bacterial microbiome in your gut. This diversity is key to better nutrient absorption, a stronger immunity, and stronger energy balance.
To make your smoothie even healthier, try using green coffee beans instead. Pretty Me’s review of Lean N Green Slimming Coffee states that green coffee is chock-full of antioxidants and chlorogenic acid, which helps turn fat and glucose into energy. Besides that, it also promotes heart health.
Ginger has been used as a common folk treatment for an upset stomach since ancient times, based on findings on WebMD. It aids in digestion by amplifying the effects of the enzymes trypsin and pancreatic lipase — both of which are important for your gut. Ginger has also been shown to reduce bloating by helping the body expel gas.
Chia seeds are commonly regarded as a superfood – and for good reason
These seeds are small but they pack a punch in terms of nutritional value. For one, they contain about 14% protein by weight — higher compared to most plant-based food, as explained on a feature on Healthline. Each ounce of chia seeds also contains a whopping 11 grams of fibre to keep your gut flora well-fed. When hydrated, chia seeds form a gelatinous coating and bloat up to 10 to 12 times their weight, creating more volume in your stomach and keeping you full for longer.
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. As such, you should keep your digestive system in good shape by adding these six ingredients the next time you make a shake.