Remember when your mama told you to listen to your gut, well she was right. Your gut, intestines and digestive system are the secret to your health and wellbeing. Your gut health can play a part in you developing or eradicating health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. But don’t worry, sis. I’m going to help you get your gut together.
Hippocrates once said, “all disease begins in the gut.”
How your gut affects your body
Your gut holds the key to your inflammation and health. When your gut is inflamed with “bad” bacteria from eating sugary, processed and unhealthy foods, your whole body is affected.
So what happens when you gut is full of unhealthy “bad” bacteria? Well, the short answer is you can develop diseases like Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and even cancer (1) (2). We don’t want this for obvious reasons.
Why black women should care
For one, the major killer of black people is not the police or poorly seasoned food; it’s heart disease and cancer. (3) These are two avoidable health issues that can be remedied and even prevented with a healthy gut. Our lives, health and happiness cannot wait. We need to get the gut together and start healing from our foods instead of hurting from our foods.
Now that you know the gut is the key to your health, here are the five vegan foods you should eat to heal your gut and get your health together.
Yaaaaas, pineapple. My favorite fruit on the planet is first on the list and for good reason. Pineapple is not only delicious but it has an amazing digestive enzyme called bromelain (4). Bromelain is what you’re tasting when you experience the tangy and almost stingy flavor of pineapple. Bromelain is there to help your food breakdown into smaller pieces and make it easier to digest. It also helps with constipation and generally getting your gut together. Repeat after me, pineapple is my friend.
How I eat it: I choose pineapple when it’s partially yellow/brown. I never buy pineapple that’s green. It’s unripe and quite frankly it takes forever to get good. I like my pineapple to be ripened in the sun, chopped into pieces and added to my smoothies, on my vegan yogurt and as a snack for the mid-afternoon after lunch.
2. Vegan Yogurt
We once thought that yogurt could only be from a cow. SIKE. You can make yogurt out of almost any plant milk. What makes yogurt so special is that it contains these essential strains of bacteria: Lactobacillus and Streptococcus. These strains of bacteria are the “good” bacteria that you want. They are found in most vegan yogurts on the market and can certainly be bought at most grocery stores. Vegan yogurt with these amazing bacteria strains can help those with lactose intolerance, diarrhea and even colon cancer (5). So get on it, sis. Here are a list of really great vegan yogurts that you can choose from at the grocery store (6). I personally like #1.
How I eat it: I recommend buying (or making) a vegan yogurt that is plain and without sugar. The reason being, sugar promotes the growth of bad bacteria. And didn’t we just talk about how bad bacteria can caused a host of health issues? So stick with vegan yogurts that are sugar-free (or low in sugar), plain and without flavors or colors. Add fruit, granola, chia seeds, nuts or coconut flakes to your vegan yogurt in the morning. Trust me, it’s fire.
Can I just say, that everything tastes better with garlic. It’s the most essential flavor-maker in all of my cuisines. Not only is it such a flavorful addition to any meal, garlic is a super food. It has amazing health benefits which include those that relate to the gut. Garlic is considered a pre-biotic which means that it has healthy fiber that helps the good bacteria grow in your gut (7). We want this, sis. Garlic can really help the good bacteria in your gut fight off inflammation that is known to cause disease and health issues.
How I eat it: I like to finely chop 2-4 cloves of garlic for dinner and add it to a stir fry, sauces, soups, vegetable sautés and any other meal that needs a flavor boost. It’s a very powerful plant that can bring your dishes from 0 to 60. Use wisely but abundantly.
Ginger, ginger, ginger. It’s one of the most magical and amazing roots out there. Ginger gives a spicy punch to any meal but wow does it drive away disease in the gut. Ginger has been studied so much that you can hardly find a bad thing about it. This amazing root has been used to treat upset stomachs, nausea and vomiting from China to the Caribbean (8). But the best part of ginger and it’s benefit to the gut is that it contains a special substance called carminative; a substance known to get rid of smelly farts and relax your intestines (9). If you are noticing bad gas and a hard time digesting food, you’re going to want to have ginger somewhere in your house to help you out.
How I eat it: I like to buy fresh ginger root from the store, remove the skin and throw it in my smoothie, add hot water to make a tea or include it in my chickpea curry (recipe in the lunch section of the blog). You can add ginger to your life in so many ways, it’s amazing. Simply chop it up, remove the skin and eat it as a spice, tea or an addition to your breakfast smoothie.
Now, I have to say, I was not impressed when I had my first kombucha. I thought it was a strange non-soda fizzy drink that was for the bougie vegetarian that lives in Seattle. But I was so wrong. Kombucha is the most slept on beverage in the black community. I swear everyone is drinking all of these crazy concoctions but so few are drinking kombucha. This fermented drink can transform the bacteria in your gut from horrible to top of the class. Like most fermented foods, kombucha contains good bacteria that helps you fight inflammation and disease. It contains something called polyphenols which are antioxidants that stop inflammation dead in its tracks (10). Kombucha is full of polyphenols which can heal your gut in such a beautiful way. It has done this for me and I am so grateful I gave this amazing beverage a chance.
How I drink it: I like to make my own kombucha. It’s a complicated process if you’re a beginner but it’s so worth it. If you can’t or don’t want to make your own kombucha, you can buy it from the store. Most brands are great, but definitely choose ones that are less sugary and without artificial flavor. Drink it anytime you crave a soda or if your gut feels like it needs some help. It’s a great drink to have everyday. Bring a bottle to work, drink some after the gym or with your lunch.
That’s everything, friends. I promise you, these incredible foods mentioned above are proven to support your gut health. Grab these foods today and enjoy them. If you want some help finding more foods that can heal your gut, be sure to book a plant-based coaching call with Topaz and get personal advice on foods to eat that heal the gut as well as custom made meal plans. Good luck, queens!