Did you know that your digestive health can affect your overall health? It’s all the more reason to try and eat the healthiest foods you can and to keep your gut in tip-top shape. And upping your intake of antioxidants is one way to ensure you’re getting the best nutrition possible every single day.
Now, no doubt you can find massive amounts of online information about gut flora, probiotics, and prebiotics in general. But, if you want to learn more about antioxidants for gut health, then you’ve come to the right place.
Let’s discuss how they play an important role in digestive function.
What are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are substances that help prevent cell damage by battling oxidative stress and free radical damage. They can be found in a wide variety of foods – for instance, fruits and veggies are great natural sources. Some examples of antioxidant nutrients are:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
Prebiotics, Probiotics, and Antioxidants for Better Gut Health
Prebiotics and probiotics are both essential to healthy digestive function. Let’s examine how prebiotics, probiotics, and antioxidants all work together to improve gut health.
Now, probiotics are live microorganisms that live in your gut. These are the “good” bacteria. And probiotics serve many purposes, including:
- Boosting your immunity by destroying potentially harmful bacteria
- Helping your intestines better digest food
- Producing vitamins in your gut 2
Prebiotics, on the other hand, are difficult-to-digest substances that can help boost probiotic colonies in your digestive system.3 Working together, prebiotics and antioxidants can help gut flora colonies thrive, balancing out the kinds of bacteria that live in your digestive tract.
Gut Health: Boosting Good Bacteria
Studies show that antioxidants, especially polyphenols, can boost the good flora in your gut. And having the right balance of gut flora helps improve your digestive and overall health.4
Luckily, many prebiotic foods are also great sources of antioxidants. One prebiotic substance of particular interest is inulin, a fiber that’s found in plants. Inulin has strong antioxidant and prebiotic properties – helping to reduce oxidative stress in your gut lining and boosting probiotic colonies that also protect proteins from oxidation.5
Your Gut Lining
It turns out, antioxidants can benefit the lining of your gut by suppressing oxidative stress pathways. This simply means that they help the tissues in your gut lining fight free radical damage to your cells.
Your gut has many types of cells that absorb nutrients from the food you eat. If those cells are damaged in any way, they won’t be able to do their job properly. You want to keep these cells as healthy as possible, and antioxidants can help you do that.6
The easiest way to do this is through the foods you eat. The following foods are high in inulin and can help protect the lining of your digestive system:
1. Jerusalem Artichoke
Jerusalem artichoke is a great source for the prebiotic inulin, as well as antioxidants. This delicious root veggie has a sweet, almost nutty taste.7
This healthy prebiotic food is loaded with antioxidants.8 But the nutritional benefits of asparagus don’t stop there. Asparagus also contains nutrients that can help boost immunity, soothe irritation in the body, protect the liver, and more. Asparagus also contains natural antimicrobial properties.9
Garlic is one of the most versatile foods with prebiotic benefits.10 It’s also loaded with antioxidants and many other important nutrients your body needs.11
4. Oats and Barley
Oats and barley are great sources of prebiotics that have antioxidant properties. They are very high in prebiotic dietary fiber, which helps your digestive system to function at its best.12
This fruit is another great way to get prebiotics and antioxidants in one. Apples provide an easy, convenient, and healthy snack with a ton of nutritional benefits. Research suggests that this source of prebiotic fiber has great cardiovascular benefits as well.13
Probiotic and Antioxidant Supplements
While you can get lots of antioxidants from food, you might want to take things a step further, and add a supplement to your health regimen. You can find plenty of supplements that offer a nice boost of antioxidants and probiotics – just be sure to run your choice by your doctor first.
Eat Your Way to Better Gut Health
When it comes to your digestion, one thing’s for sure: prebiotics, probiotics, and antioxidants work together to help improve your gut health. And choosing the right foods can help probiotic colonies thrive. So make sure that you’re getting your antioxidants for gut health – and If you feel you might be lacking, talk to your doctor about the right changes to make.
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