You can't rely on expensive probiotic supplements to improve your gut health. Taking probiotics is like putting a band aid on your foot without actually removing the nail that caused the cut in the first place. As it turns out, you can get many of the good bacteria your gut needs by changing things in your environment.
For better digestion and increased metabolism, decreased inflammation and decreased risk of chronic disease, try these 10 easy and effective ways to improve your gut health:
Eat More Whole Grains, Nuts, Load up on Veggies, Beans and Fresh Fruits
Here is yet another reason to eat fresh, whole foods. Barley, oat bran, quinoa and other whole grains have fibre that we need to bulk our intestines and help things to move through.
A vegetarian diet high in fruit and veggies improves gut health due to the high levels of prebiotic fibre.
For example, in one study, people with obesity followed a strict vegetarian diet that eliminated all animal products, including meat, dairy, and eggs, for 1 month.
At the end of the study, the participants had lower levels of gut inflammation due to the altered types of gut microbes. They had also lost weight.
Brush and Floss Your Teeth Regularly
Having regular dental cleanings and check-ups may not seem to be important to a healthy microbiome, but studies at Cornell University in Sweden have found that bacteria from your mouth can get into your stomach and cause problems.
Avoid Sugary Foods
In addition to being inflammatory to the system, sugar can cause yeast to grow and it can throw off delicate gut balances. In addition, avoid processed foods were possible.
In addition to being inflammatory to the system, sugar can cause yeast to thrive and grow in your gut and throw off your delicate microbiome balance.
Eat Fermented Foods That Have Beneficial Bacteria
We've all heard about eating more yogurt for our gut health, but have we learned about eating more fermented foods?
These foods have an abundance of good bacteria to improve your gut health. They contain a high count of lactobacilli bacteria, which are beneficial. They are also the ones that convert sugar to acids and alcohols:
- Low sugar yogurt of the plain, natural variety
Eat Foods High in Polyphenols
Foods rich is polyphenols, such as dark chocolate, have anti-inflammatory properties, decrease blood pressure and cholesterol levels and decrease cellular stress. Polyphenols may benefit digestion by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria while fending off harmful ones.
Foods rich in polyphenols are:
- Green Tea
- Black Currant
- Cocoa (Dark Chocolate)
- Super Greens
Movement is medicine for so many parts of the human body, including the microbiome. Researchers have found that exercise promotes an increase in diversity of healthy bacteria in the gut.
Several studies highlight the roles exercise and diet can play together in positively impacting gut health, a 2019 review specifically reported that exercise has the potential to alter gut bacteria composition and functionality independently to diet. Researchers found longer workouts and high-intensity aerobic training, in particular, contributed most to gut bacteria diversity and function in relation to overall wellness.
Limit Your Alcohol Intake
Drinking too much may negatively affect your microbiome. Repeated alcohol use is linked to gastritis, an irritation of the gut in which it becomes inflamed. Such inflammation can lead to heartburn, chronic discomfort, ulcers and bacterial infections.
Reduce Stress Levels
Experts in gut health often cite the "gut-brain connection" and refer to the gut as "the second brain." While we don't know everything about their relationship, we do know that mental health and the gut are intimately connected.
Research suggest anxiety and depression are affected by the gut and vice versa; they can increase the risk of IBS, and people with IBS are more likely to experience these mental health disorders.
Finding ways to manage your mental health and stress levels may help reduce uncomfortable GI symptoms and get your body back in balance. Adding exercise to your daily routine is a great place to start.
Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough good-quality sleep can improve mood, cognition, and gut health.
A 2014 animal study indicated that irregular sleep habits and disturbed sleep can have negative outcomes for the gut flora, which may increase the risk of inflammatory conditions.
Consider Taking Supplements
There are numerous supplements on the market in relation to gut health. Choosing the best supplement for you can be challenging with so many different products on the market. Everybody is unique and will respond differently to supplements, so it is important to find what works for you.