When your digestive tract isn’t working at its optimum level, it’s likely everything will feel a bit…off. For many, that’s putting it mildly: Certain gut-health issues can interfere with daily living, in terms of both physical and mental-health-related effects. (Research supports a relationship between feeling depressed and suffering from irritable bowel syndrome.) To be sure, gut health is a complicated matter, and pinpointing what exactly may be causing distress in your body can require some detective work. But, a recent study offers some advice from which everyone can benefit.
The study, published in the journal Gastroenterology, found that adding a serving of whole fruit and cereal grains to your diet each day can help reduce the disk of diverticulitis, which is a common inflammatory bowel condition that’s often connected to a lower-fiber, highly processed diet. The study’s big takeaway? Many Americans aren’t getting enough fiber, and that can lead to serious problems for your gut. But fiber from fruit can help.
The actionable takeaway seems simple—eat fruit and grains—but it seems we do, indeed, need the reminder. Research shows a whopping 95 percent of Americans don’t get the recommended amount of fiber in their diet, which, per the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, is between 21 and 38 grams per day, depending on gender and age. “Low-fiber diets reduce the volume and water content of the stool. This predisposes to constipation that in turn increases pressure within the colon that can weaken the muscles of the colonic wall, resulting in a herniation, or diverticular pouch,” reports the New York Times.
Check out this video for more tips on how to boost gut health, according to an RD:
Wondering what to snack on to get the most benefits of fiber from fruit? A large apple and pear, both noted for reducing the risk of diverticulitis, have more than 5 grams of fiber each. And one cup of avocado packs about 10 grams of fiber and is a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. (What? You expected a good-for-you hit list without everyone’s favorite healthy fat?)
So the next time you need a snack, go with your gut and reach for some fruit. Sometimes, boosting digestive health really can be that simple.
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