When it comes to overall well-being, one very important aspect that gets overlooked is digestive health. The gut, often referred to as the ‘second brain’, plays an important function in human health that goes beyond efficient food digestion and absorption, but also for immunological function, mood modulation, and skin health.
The foundation of a balanced lifestyle is healthy food and physical activity.It is evident that our choices, even in the sphere of beverage consumption, have the ability to influence our minds, body, and gut.
Following are some of the beverages that can be incorporated for optimum digestive health

Fiber-rich beverages

Plant-based beverages made from fruits and vegetables, such as smoothies, often are rich in dietary fiber. These fibers act as Prebiotics which are food for the bacteria as it provides the substrate for the nourishment of healthy gut bacteria. These bacteria ferment the dietary fiber to produce SCFA (Short Chain Fatty Acids), a postbiotic which then contributes to a healthy gut environment. Consuming these fiber-rich plant-based beverages promote regular bowel movements by improving stool frequency and consistency thereby preventing constipation, and fostering the growth of diverse good gut bacteria.

Fermented marvels

Some fermented plant-based beverages such as kombucha, kefir, labneh, and certain plant-based yogurts like soy yogurt, coconut yogurt, oats yogurt, and cashew yogurt contain Probiotics– live microorganisms that add up to the good bacteria in the gut promoting their number. These further help enhance gut intestinal integrity, digestion and reduce gastrointestinal discomfort.

Herbal infusions

For thousands of years, tea has been part of a regular daily habit, consumed by people of all ages and is the most frequently consumed beverage globally alongside water. Herbal teas, such as peppermint, ginger, and chamomile tea have been traditionally revered for many benefits. Tea contains polyphenols, flavanols, and catechins which provide additional effects on gut microbiota. Gut microbiota metabolizes these polyphenols generating metabolites with greater antioxidant activity.

Hydration and enzyme support

Plant-based beverages, like freshly squeezed fruit & vegetable juices, can provide hydration while delivering essential nutrients. The enzymes help in breaking down the food particles, enabling efficient nutrient absorption. For example, pineapple juice contains bromelin that can assist in the digestion of proteins. Some unripe fruits and their squashes are also rich in resistant starch which acts as prebiotics that feed good gut bacteria.

Anti-inflammatory beverages

Chronic low-grade inflammation can adversely impact digestive health by promoting dysbiosis. Low-grade systemic inflammation, mainly characterized by increased CRP, is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and obese individuals have higher CRP levels than subjects of normal weight. Certain plant-based beverages possess anti-inflammatory properties which can help overcome these issues. For example, turmeric-infused plant-based drink, and green tea have compounds that possess these properties. Reducing inflammation in the gut can promote better digestion and prevent the development of GI disorders.

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Balancing pH levels

Alkaline plant-based beverages like fresh green juices and coconut water, can aid in balancing the body’s pH levels. A slightly alkaline environment can support the growth of beneficial gut bacteria & discourage the proliferation of harmful microorganisms. This can further contribute to a healthy gut microbiome and improved digestive function.

Plant based drinks

People suffering from lactose intolerance can consume plant-based drinks. Plant based drinks are made from oats, almonds, rice or soy. Plant-based drinks such as Soya drink or Almond drink can be consumed in the form of smoothies or can be used to make tea and coffee for everyday consumption. It is very essential to maintain optimum gut health, by having the above-mentioned beverages in combination with a balanced diet, and enough exercise for a better and healthier life.

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