The phrase “gut health” is all the rage in health and wellness circles and for good reason. Why? Because a healthy gut plays a central role in supporting your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
A healthy gut microbiome — that is, an environment where helpful bacteria and harmful bacteria are balanced and peacefully coexist — can reduce bloating, increase energy, enhance sleep, improve your skin, manage your weight, and even support your immunity.
Yes, friends, a healthy gut keeps you looking, feeling, and functioning your best each and every day.
Maintaining a balanced gut microbiome can be challenging because most foods and beverages today are processed and contain a bunch of artificial flavorings and other harmful ingredients. These ingredients and additives can overproduce bad bacteria in your digestive tract, which may lead to a leaky gut and other health challenges.
So how do you enjoy a great dish, but still give your gut some TLC? By adding these flavorful — and beneficial — spices to your daily meal rotations and wellness routine.
Ginger has been leaned on for generations as a stomach soother. If you had an upset stomach as a kid and you were given ginger ale, you know firsthand how powerful ginger’s healing properties can be.
Ginger, which gets its oomph from a bioactive compound called gingerol, may not only reduce nausea, settle tummy rumbles, and reduce motion sickness, it can also help combat gas and bloating!
Here’s how to add ginger to your diet:
- Fresh — Add a small nub to your morning smoothie, grate some into your stir fry, or boil with water to create a tea
- Powdered — Ground ginger is super versatile and can be used in baked goods, sauces, and soups, or sprinkled on top of a warm drink
You’ll know turmeric from its vivid yellow color (and the fact that it colors everything it’s in or that it touches). The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which not only gives turmeric its bright color, but also contains antioxidant, anti-fungal, and antibacterial properties. This super spice can be a powerful anti-inflammatory and aid in digestion.
Add it to your dishes:
- Ground turmeric is a staple in Indian cuisine and is a key ingredient in curry powder. Enjoy curries and turmeric tea, or sprinkle turmeric powder on everything from rice and veggies to chicken and eggs.
Warm, sweet, and gently spicy, cinnamon is one of the most commonly found spices in kitchens across the world. And while it’s definitely delicious, it’s also loaded with powerful antioxidants, like polyphenols. Polyphenols can help increase the good bacteria strains in your gut, while slowing down the growth of harmful bacteria.
Sprinkle cinnamon all over:
- Add cinnamon to soups, smoothies, sauces, dressings, baked goods, yogurt… you name it, you can put cinnamon on it (or in it). It’s a wildly versatile spice.
Slippery elm — funny as the name is — is a natural prebiotic with amazing health benefits. Native Americans and Inuits have been using it in medicines for centuries because of its healing qualities in supporting gut health.
Coming from the inner bark of the tree, slippery elm is a demulcent, meaning it’s soothing to the intestinal lining and may reduce irritation.
Is slippery elm in your spice cabinet?
Nope! So we’re kind of cheating by including it here. But it’s such a strong gut-health supporter that we’ve added it in our Gut Connect 365 as the star ingredient. (BONUS: Vanilla Cinnamon Gut Connect 365 also includes — you guessed it! — cinnamon!)
Like the other spices listed above, you can mix Gut Connect 365 into your smoothies, yogurt, and sauces. You can even add it to your coffee in place of creamer. It comes in two flavors — Vanilla Cinnamon and Chocolate Coconut. Yum!
With just a few spicy additions to your daily meal repertoire, you can help support your gut health naturally… and deliciously. Your body, immunity, mood, and so much more will thank you!
Your NatureM.D. Wellness Team