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September 28, 2021

Schools and universities are once again bustling with students as the world continues to recover from COVID-19. With some sense of normalcy returning, the need to pack healthy lunches and meals continues. Gut health is important no matter your age, and the foods and meals below can assist in keeping you or your student’s gut health in line.

Chicken

With little to no fiber and high amounts of protein, chicken is a healthy option for all. Those suffering with GI sensitivities can easily digest chicken due to its lack of fiber, and its ability to fit with almost every meal makes it a versatile choice.

It is important to recognize the distinction between fried chicken and other options such as grilled chicken. High fat and fried foods can cause bloating and nausea, especially in those suffering with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

Yogurt

Another versatile option, yogurt provides immense benefits for digestive health.  With easy-to-pack containers, yogurt can save space while doing wonders for your gut. Packed with pre- and probiotics, yogurt helps maintain bacteria located in the gut microbiome. According to healthline.com, yogurt is high in calcium, B vitamins, phosphorus, and magnesium. It is also common for producers to add vitamin D into yogurt for added benefit. Yogurt is a great option as a side to a main course or a regular snack.

To learn more about probiotics and prebiotics click here.

Bananas

Eastingwell.com makes an important distinction in selecting your bananas.

“Green bananas (unripe ones) are the best for your gut because they contain a resistant starch, a type of indigestible fiber that produces more good bugs when your microbes feed on it.”

This indigestible fiber can help keep the balance of good and bad bacteria in check, keeping your gut healthy. Along with these benefits, bananas are high in potassium to assist in muscle and nerve system health.

Dark Chocolate

Typically, one may not think of chocolate as anything more than a delicious, sweet treat, however, research shows how dark chocolate can provide a boost to your gut. A 2014 article in Scientific American states that bacteria living near the end of the digestive tract make use of antioxidants and fiber found in cocoa through fermentation. As a result of this process, the gut creates anti-inflammatory compounds that aid in gut and cardiovascular health. Remember, that while chocolate does provide benefits to your GI tract, it should also be consumed in moderation.

Next time you think about packing or picking up a candy bar, make the choice to look for dark chocolate, your gut and your tase buds will thank you.

Avocados

A tasty treat, avocados have several nutritional benefits. High in many vitamins, including vitamins B-6, K, E, and C, avocados also boast large amounts of potassium (more than bananas) and fiber. As another versatile food that can be consumed raw or as a spread, avocados make a great mid-day snack.

It is known that avocados are high in fat, and thus must be consumed moderately, as this can impact those with hyper-sensitive GI tracts.

If you are currently, or believe you are developing GI tract issues please talk with your doctor. To learn about how to make your diet more gut-friendly click here.