We all know that being a vegan comes with a laundry list of ethical, environmental, and health benefits. One of the lesser known perks of following a vegan diet is that this lifestyle has all the dietary requirements necessary to achieve optimal gut health.
The “Father of Medicine,” Hippocrates, once said, “all disease begins in the gut.” Seeing as a vegan diet is ideal for fighting off cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity, those who opt to live cruelty-free already see tons of benefits. However, harmful bacteria can grow in the gut of anyone, reversing some of the benefits of a vegan diet.
Here are three ways to improve gut health with a vegan diet and how microbiome testing companies like Thryve Probiotics are helping people achieve these goals.
Why Gut Health Matters
Before getting into three ways a vegan diet can improve your gut health, let’s discuss why gut health matters. Entrapped in our skin is a complex system filled with trillions of microscopic cells (microbes). Microbes influence everything from our mood to digesting our food to our immune response. There are thousands of unique species of microbes that serve a purpose in our internal ecosystem, known as the microbiome.
For the most part, the microbes in our stomach are beneficial, keeping harmful bacteria at bay. Unfortunately, those who follow a Western Diet slowly destroy these helpful microbes with refined sugars and fatty meats. As a result, inflammation grows, and the bad guys prosper.
As a vegan, you might not feel much of a concern for these issues. However, every microbiome is unique. Therefore, some vegans may have an allergic reaction to soy. While others may be sensitive to lectins in beans, which is why vegans with SIBO experience intense pains. There are a lot of healthy foods that are still not good for a particular microbiome. Here are three tips on how to navigate these waters as a vegan and how programs like Thryve Microbiome Testing can help.
Vegan Diets Consist the Rainbow
Levels of the compound, melanin determine the pigment of our skin. Therefore, the pigment of fruits and vegetables are also determined by the compounds within those foods. Carrots are orange due to higher amounts of beta-carotene while chlorophyll gives kale it’s Swamp Thing hue. That means eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables will help you get a spectrum of nutrients.
Variety is the spice of life, especially when it comes to gut health. Getting a variety of nutrients is much like getting a well-rounded education. You earn little tidbits that make you smarter along the way. With nutrients, you get benefits like the growth of metabolic enzymes, energy, and DNA genesis. All of these are essential for your microbiome to carry out its task, which is to provide your system with balance.
Vegan Foods are Rich in Fiber
The typical Western Diet is rich in animal fats that can clog up the system. That is why cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity have been on a steady rise over the last few decades. To help cleanse these GI tracts, the world should consider adopting a vegan diet.
Fiber is a slippery slope to follow. Too much of one particular fiber source can wreak havoc on your gut. Life is about balance, and that’s something your microbiome also craves. Therefore, you may need to adjust your fiber intake based on how your GI tract responds.
For those experience frequent bathroom trips without much success, you’re going to need a little help. Turn to soluble fiber. Soluble fiber draws in water, creating a gel out of your waste. This will make trips to the bathroom less painful.
Soluble-fiber rich foods include:
- Black Beans
- Sweet Potatoes
- Flax Seeds
In the case of too many bathroom trips without much solid waste, you need to add a little bulk. These cases call for insoluble fiber. Vegan foods rich in this fiber source include:
- Oat Bran
- Sunflower Seeds
As you can see, some of these foods overlap both categories. Amp up on those foods because they tend to have a lot of other nutritional value. For instance, avocados have both types of fiber and are rich in omega fatty acids. Also, apples are on both list, and you know that one of them a day keeps the doctor away!
Vegan Foods are Prebiotics
The last reason the vegan diet can improve gut health is perhaps the most important. Vegan meals are rich in dietary fibers that our body can’t break down. Unlike sugars and animal fats that clog the system and cause inflammation, vegan foods serve as food for beneficial microbes in our gut.
For probiotic bacteria to grow in your microbiome, they need to eat too. They are living microorganisms that feast, expel waste, and reproduce. Once you get over the gross-out factor and embrace it, you’ll realize that these microbes are working in your best interest. So, in their best interest, feed them properly. Fiber in vegan food that beneficial microbes chow down on are known as prebiotics.
The best prebiotic-rich foods include:
- Sweet Potatoes
To improve your gut health, it’s important to eat a diet rich in fermented foods, quality protein, a variety of colors, and healthy fats. That’s a lot to manage. Luckily, the Thryve Gut Health Program can help you get that gut health on track.
Improve Your Gut Health with Thryve Microbiome Testing
As noted earlier, even vegans run the risk of compromised gut health. That’s because they’re turning to protein sources that don’t compute with their particular system. Unfortunately, many vegans learn to tolerate the pain. Not only can that hurt your quality of life, but can cause long-term inflammation and the growth of opportunistic microbes.
With Thryve Microbiome Testing, they send you an at-home gut health test kit with everything you need to mail them a sample discreetly. Once their specialists analyze your sample, they will then formulate a personalized probiotic supplement that gets delivered to your door each month. This supplement will contain the bacteria your stomach is lacking and bacteria strains that will help defeat the harmful microbes in your gut.
Lastly, the Thryve Gut Health Program will work with you to meet your dietary goals. They know which strains are in your personalized supplement, so they can determine which prebiotic-rich foods are best for your meal plan. It’s a fun, interactive way to take the reins of gut health.
Learn more about the Thryve Gut Health Program.