Food either promote healthy gut bacteria or increase bad microbes. To explain in short, bacteria and other microbes in the gut help the body to digest food. You need good bacteria in your body as they help your body to fight harmful bacteria, yeast, and other microbes.
There are foods that are the worst foods for your gut health as they damage your (good) gut bacteria, increase food sensitivities, gastrointestinal problems, mental struggles such as depression, and many more.
Here are the foods that are bad for your (gut) health:
Gluten is a type of protein that is found in many grains such as wheat, rye, and barley. It gives foods a certain texture (such as with bread or pasta), but it can have a negative effect on your gut bacteria. Many people think that it is only for people that are allergic or are intolerant or with sensitivity, but this is simply not correct.
Gluten has a negative long-term effect on your gut bacteria and can affect any other part of your body both mentally and physically.
Tip: you can find gluten-free products, but please read the ingredients list as it is often replaced with artificial sweeteners (= sugar).
Try this: instead of pasta, you can have potatoes or rice noodles. Rice is a great option – just be sure you take the non-processed one with added gluten. Want to have pancakes? Make it with rice flour 😉 and almond milk.
Sugar is not good for your body. You probably know this or heard this already, but I was personally shocked by how sugar is hidden into ingredient lists without us knowing. It is never only categorized as “sugar”, but instead has many formats. Some examples include white/brown sugar, corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, and many ingredients that end with -ose (e.g. fructose). Food is always transformed in your body and sugar is the one that takes over all the good bacteria.
Tip: Great for weight loss: natural sugar, although natural, is still sugar! So although fruit has a good deal of healthy nutrition, there are still some fruits better than others because they have less sugar in them.
Try this: whenever I feel the need for sugar… you can replace it with per example honey or eating some dark (70% or above) chocolate: it contains fibers that your body can handle better.
3: Fried & Processed
You know fried and processed foods aren’t good for you, but why exactly? It is the same as with sugar; your body is unable to transform it correctly and it becomes bad bacteria in your gut. Again, this one has a direct link to weight gain, but also many other physical and mental health issues.
The key here is to really reduce or completely stop eating processed and fried food. I am living proof that it is possible and that it is key that your microbiome must be diverse in order to be healthy.
Tip: to reduce the amount of fried and processed food you take in, always try to look for the healthier option. For example with french fries, I make them home-made and select better oil to fry them in (coconut or vegetable oil).
Try this: a simple dish is to cut slices of aubergine and dip it into heating honey after frying the slices in rice flour. I’ll add the recipe at some point here: promise!
Here is another example of a food that many people feel isn’t relevant to them for elimination unless they have an intolerance. Research proofs that a diet rich in dairy products has an immediate effect on your gut health. Why exactly? There is a very high possibility that the dairy that you eat has antibiotics in it. This is a major problem, I believe globally, that our food has more and more antibiotics. Antibiotics are amazing for saving lives, but overusing is dangerous.
This is exactly what had ruined my health (I took antibiotics from my doctor for like 10 years). But I never thought it would be in dairy. Now you know!
Tip: reduce by already looking for dairy that is grass-fed, organic and of high quality. This is fine if you do not have shown any sensitivity yet.
Try this: if you really want to eat cheese, the “better” cheeses with significantly good bacteria are Gouda, mozzarella, cottage cheese, Roquefort and feta. So for my salads, I’ll add a bit of Roquefort or feta just for the taste of it. Enjoy!
I was really surprised by this one as bad food for gut health as I really thought it would be healthy. Now, let me be very clear, if soy that you eat if made in the traditional way, it can be healthy. However, again the problem with modern-day and age is that most of the soy is now processed and includes bad ingredients for our gut health.
Soy has shown over the years that when high in diet, there is a direct correlation on gut health.
Tip: avoid GMO soy at all costs and always look for the most organic option that you can find. And cool down with the soy sauce when eating sushi.
Try this: I’ve always loved sushi so for me to stop having soy sauce (I developed a high intolerance) was really tough. Instead, I will take only a tiny little and add more wasabi into it for the extra flavor.
6: Red Meat
Red meat, it isn’t bad and it isn’t great. It is all about balance here in my opinion and selecting the right ones. First of all, it is key to eat red meat that is organic and grass-fed. Do not eat red meat on a daily basis, especially the ones that are produced meat with high levels of antibiotics in it. Eating red meat affects your gut health right away and it increases the bad bacteria quickly.
Keep in mind to balance the type of red meat you eat and how often you enjoy a steak.
Tip: only eat red meat from time to time and when you do eat it, let it be grass-fed and organic. It is tastier and better for my health.
Try this: whenever you go to an Italian restaurant where they serve pizzas (= gluten = cheese, so dairy), instead, order a delicious piece of steak with black pepper sauce and some rice or extra vegetables.
I hope this list shows a clear overview for anyone that is looking to restore their gut health. It’s been almost a year now since I learned about this and once I stopped eating the above I’ve been 100% healthy & happy. Now my experience is that my gut health was at a serious level so I completely stopped eating these foods for about 6 months before becoming more flexible, but even today I rarely eat these foods.
Whether you reduce or remove these foods; your gut health will start restoring itself and you’ll enjoy all the benefits soon!