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Are Carbs Healthy? Some Are Good For Your Gut Health

Good news for carb-lovers everywhere
DebbiSmirnoff/E+ via Getty Images

Carbohydrates, carbs for short, are found in some of the all-time best snacks, comfort foods and fast food menu items. Eating carbs can feel like a bad thing as they've been demonized by various diet trends over the years. However, there is good news: Some carbs are actually good for your health, particularly your gut health.

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First things first, what is gut health? Simply put, gut health is the function and harmony of bacteria in the digestive tract. Successfully breaking down food so that it can deliver nutrients throughout the body is only possible with a healthy gut. An unhealthy gut may cause constipation, heartburn and has even been linked to anxiety and depression.

So the next time you plan a home-cooked meal, don’t shy away from having potatoes on the plate. Studies have shown that this popular veggie promotes the growth of good gut bacteria.

Potatoes, which have nearly 30 grams of carbs, contain a small portion of starch that is resistant to the enzymatic breakdown that occurs in the small intestine, which means it reaches the large intestine intact. Once the spud gets to the large intestine, it’s fermented, which lowers the pH of the gut.

Fermented foods like sauerkraut and other sandwich-worthy toppings are loaded with probiotics, which are healthy or “good” bacteria that you can ingest.

In addition to potatoes, bread is another carb-packed food that can be great for gut health, depending on which kind you choose. Sourdough bread, which is baked with fermented flour, is more nutritious, easier to digest and has prebiotic content and probiotic-like properties. You can jump on the bread- making bandwagon and boost your digestive health.

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So, the next time you reach for only greens at the grocery store, remember that foods like potatoes and sourdough bread have positive health effects too. They are just some of the best foods for your gut health.