Processed foods : Why are they so bad for your gut health?
Our gut consists of trillions of bacteria, viruses and fungi which are collectively called microbiomes. Apart from the environment, family genes, and medicines, diet plays a crucial role in determining the kind of microbiota of the colon. All of these factors create a unique microbiome in every individual.
Role of gut microbiota
Gut microbiota influences your digestion, immune system, cognitive function, mood, metabolic rate, and even ageing. Gut health is the key to your overall health. An imbalance in microbiota or dysbiosis is considered to play a significant role in affecting the abundance, diversity and composition of intestinal flora, ultimately leading to many intestinal disorders, allergies, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, obesity, neurodegenerative diseases and many more.
Why processed foods are bad for your gut
- Processed foods are low in fiber and alter digestion and negatively affect gastrointestinal health
- High in unhealthy fats which cause gut inflammation and increase bad cholesterol
- Loaded with additives like preservatives, artificial colours, flavours, sweeteners and other chemicals that cause an imbalance in your gut microbiome leading to dysbiosis and diseases.
Bad bacteria feed on all the components of processed foods and lead to dysbiosis, reducing the number and diversity of good bacteria resulting in gut problems which span beyond gut issues. Gut balance also has a profound effect on brain health as well.
Common processed foods
Bakery products & refined flour products like biscuits, cakes, pastries, pizza, bread, packaged butter, etc. Spreads, packaged cereals, sauces, jams, sugary juices and beverages, ice creams, chocolates, chips and similar savoury snacks, French fries and similar frozen snacks, processed meat, instant noodles, etc.
How to maintain a healthy gut
- Eating whole foods rich in fiber, including a wider variety of fruits and vegetables which makes up to 25 to 30 g of fiber per day is crucial, also eating a balanced diet with legumes, healthy fats, nuts and seeds helps maintain a healthy gut. C
- Eating both prebiotic and probiotic foods helps boost the population and diversity of good bacteria. They may help reduce gut inflammation and stimulate the gut’s natural immune system. Prebiotics include apples, bananas, flax seeds, garlic, onions etc. Probiotics include fermented foods like idly, dosa, dhokla, curds, pickles etc.
Since it is not easy to make sure you are getting enough doses of the above nutrients consider taking Synbiotic - Acitfiber Gut Strength which includes both prebiotics and probiotics to bring balance to gut health and improve your overall health.