You know it when you eat something that disagrees with you. Your stomach might make strange noises, or you could feel gassy. Sometimes stress can make your gut react to just about everything. Needless to say, your gut health is important.
When you eat food, your stomach, intestines, and colon work to break down the nutrients for your body and send out any waste products. Hundreds of microorganisms that live in your large intestine help with the digestion process. Some are good for your health, and some are not. The diversity of bacteria in your gut is important for your overall health, including your immune system, mental health, and cardiovascular health. A healthy diversity in your gut microbiome also means fewer digestive issues. A high-fiber diet rich in vegetables, beans, and nuts can improve your gut health, and some of these foods have prebiotics that feed the good bacteria in your gut (per Better Health Channel).
Some foods that are fermented with bacteria balance your gut with healthy bacteria. These foods include yogurt, kefir, kimchi, and kombucha (per Mayo Clinic). It might seem surprising to know that some aged cheeses that aren’t heated also have probiotics, such as provolone, Gouda, and cheddar. Some farmer’s cheeses also have probiotics to improve your gut health because they’re sometimes made with kefir milk.
Look for probiotics in farmer’s cheese
According to the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, cottage cheese can also have probiotics if these cultures are added to milk to separate the curds. Farmer’s cheese is made when the liquid is drained from the cottage cheese curds. So some types of farmer’s cheese will also benefit your gut microbiome if they contain these live and active cultures.
When kefir milk is used to create farmer’s cheese, the live and active cultures can be good for your digestive health. The kefir milk also makes farmer’s cheese easier to digest for people who are lactose intolerant because the fermentation process breaks down the lactose (per Lifeway Kefir). Farmer’s cheese is also high in protein. Along with 12 live and active probiotics, a half-cup serving of farmer’s cheese made with kefir also provides 13 grams of protein. You’ll want to keep an eye on the fat content, though, because farmer’s cheese has 5 grams of saturated fat (per Lifeway).
Other ways to improve your gut health
Stress and being sleep-deprived not only affect your mental health but also your digestive health. Find ways to manage your stress and improve your sleep that work best for you. Cardiovascular exercise, such as walking, gets your body moving and your gut muscles working as they should. Antibiotics, smoking, and alcohol can disrupt your gut health, according to the Better Health Channel.
The added sugar, salt, and food additives in ultra-processed foods can also wreck the health of your gut. A high-fiber diet rich in vegetables, beans, and nuts can improve your gut health, and some of these foods have prebiotics that feed the good bacteria in your gut. To help your body absorb these nutrients and avoid constipation, drink more water to promote gut health. Although you can find probiotic supplements in pharmacies and online, getting probiotics from food is the better option. Most people in good health don’t need a probiotic supplement, but you should consult with your doctor for the right strain of probiotics if you feel your microbiome needs a boost.