Your gut is one of the most important aspects of your working physical body. This harmonious collection of organs and beneficial bacteria is integral to keeping you alive and healthy in a surprising number of ways. It not only contributes to the effective digestion and absorption of food, but also the development of a strong immune system, promoting healthy sleep, better brain health and even improved mood. For everything that it is able to do for your body as a whole, its overall wellbeing relies very heavily on what you put in it. This is why this article will highlight the foods that you must avoid, for the health of your gut and your body in general.
#1: Processed foods
While they provide convenience in food options, processed foods are actually doing more harm to your gut that good. In processing, they are often treated with chemicals and preservatives that when ingested, end up interfering with the natural balance of bacteria in the gut. On top of this, the human gut may simply not know how to effectively digest these chemicals.
#2: Refined foods
Refined foods are essentially whole foods that have been broken down so much that the bonds between the molecules are simple. You will usually find them as processed foods too. While easy to consume, they are almost always terrible for the gut because they provide little fiber for it. The beneficial gut bacteria feed on fiber, and they reduce when there is little nourishment provided for them.
#3: Farmed, treated meat
While it is now possible to farm meat from animals on a large scale, the meat produced poses a threat to the gut microbiome. When bred, these animals are sometimes treated with antibiotics. Consuming this meat can introduce antibiotic resistant bacteria in the digestive system, which destabilizes the balance of your natural gut flora.
Found in grains like barley, wheat and rye, gluten is one type of protein that for some people is particularly difficult for your gut to digest. Research has also found that gluten causes inflammation within the gut, which in time could result in problems like constipation, nausea, fatigue and even low blood sugar. If you are experiencing these issues then it might be worthwhile trying to cut out gluten.
It may sound odd classifying alcohol as a type of food, but it makes sense to do so considering the fact that they are usually heavily loaded with calories. Alcohol can irritate the digestive system, as evidenced by cases of stomach upsets, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms after consumption.
#6: Deep fried food
Fried foods are usually difficult for the gut to properly digest. It also doesn’t help that some of these foods can promote the growth of harmful gut bacteria, which threatens the delicate balance of your entire microbiome.
Research has found that consuming artificial sweeteners results in the increase of harmful bacterial strains in the gut. This imbalance can lead to the development of conditions such as metabolic disease and diabetes.
#8: Genetically modified produce
While genetic modification may result in increased produce production, it is at a great risk to gut health. Some of the pesticides and treatments that are used to grow the produce could also end up in the gut. Research has found bad bacteria to be resistant to the harmful effects of these chemicals, while beneficial gut bacteria suffer the opposite effects.
#9: Margarine and shortening
We use margarine and shortening in so many types of cooking without really knowing how dangerous they are to our digestive systems. Countless research has found that the increase in trans-fat consumption results in dysbiosis, which is a term defining microbial imbalance inside the gut.
#10: Too much red meat
A diet that is rich in red meat interacts with the bacteria in the gut in an interesting way. Digestion of red meat leads to the production of trimethylamine N-oxide as a byproduct. Trimethylamine N-oxide has been implicated numerous times in situations of developed plaque inside the human arteries, which is dangerous for the heart.
While some of these foods are fine in small moderated amounts, others are better off being avoided altogether given how strongly the impact the gut. What is clear is that excessive consumption of these foods is surely detrimental to your gut and overall health by extension.
National Academy of Sciences, (1980): “The Effects on Human Health of Subtherapeutic Use of Antimicrobials in Animal Feeds.” Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK216502/
Yolanda Sanz, (2010): “Effects of a gluten-free diet on gut microbiota and immune function in healthy adult humans”. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.4161/gmic.1.3.11868
Engen PA, Green SJ, Voigt RM et al., (2015): “The Gastrointestinal Microbiome: Alcohol Effects on the Composition of Intestinal Microbiota.” Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26695747
Anthony Samsel, Stephanie Seneff, (2013): “Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases II: Celiac sprue and gluten intolerance”. Retrieved from https://content.sciendo.com/view/journals/intox/6/4/article-p159.xml
Ge Y, Liu W, Tao H et al., (2018): “Effect of industrial trans-fatty acids-enriched diet on gut microbiota of C57BL/6 mice.” Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00394-018-1810-2