Gut health is important because it encompasses more than half of your immune system and it is like our second brain. When we are nervous, unhappy, or depressed, it affects the gut. Experts are now realizing that gut health is associated with a variety of disorders and maintaining a healthy digestive system is one method to fight off major illnesses down the road. Therefore, it is important to promote gut health.
1. Eat Healthy Foods
Fiber is a food source for the bacteria living in our gut. Ensure that your diet includes a variety of fruits, green vegetables, and nuts. For example, you can include feel-good foods like cranberries, berries, blueberries, and pomegranates to support intestinal health. Apples, carrots, legumes, mushrooms, garlic, almond, carrots, and onions are also the best option to promote bacteria in your gut. When your bacteria consume such foods, they help preserve the integrity of your gut lining and avoid inflammation and boost your overall health1.
In short, a high-fiber diet is critical for maintaining a healthy microbiome. But too much high fiber diet like gluten-containing foods including rye, wheat, barley, whole grain should be used to a minimum. Because when you consume a large amount of gluten, your bacteria have to do a lot of work to help the digestive system digest such foods. As a result, gas and bloating can occur.
The same is the case with dairy. Milk is a frequent offender for persons suffering from digestive, allergy, hormonal, or autoimmune disorders. Cow’s milk proteins (such as whey, casein, and lacto-albumins) are particularly offensive. Additionally, dairy contributes to a variety of digestive disorders and aggravates irritable bowel syndrome. Moreover, you may be “lactose intolerant” if dairy causes diarrhea, bloating, and gas. This indicates that you lack an enzyme necessary for the digestion of sugar found in milk and other dairy products2. So, dairy may not be the best option to promote gut health.
2. Take Less Stress
Stress management is critical for many aspects of health, including gut health. According to studies, psychological stresses can alter the microbes in the intestines, even when the stress is for a brief period3.
Similarly, different types of stress can affect gut health negatively. For example, environmental stress includes cold, heat, sleep deprivation, mental stress, and disruption of the circadian rhythm4.
For stress management, you can try muscle relaxation, mediation, and deep breathing exercises. So, take less stress and stay happy!
3. Take a Probiotic
Some people prefer to take probiotic supplements to increase the healthy bacteria in their gut. Evidence suggests that consuming probiotics can help maintain healthy gut flora and may help avoid gut inflammation and other intestinal disorders5.
They assist the body in maintaining health by counteracting the impacts of a bad diet, and stress. Additionally, probiotics help in lactose breakdown, build your immune system, and may even aid in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome.
So, if you are considering to purchase a probiotic supplement, supplements can be found at health food stores, pharmacies, and online from my favorite brand partner.
4. Get Plenty of Sleep
Getting good quality sleep can benefit mood, cognition, and gastrointestinal health. According to research, irregular sleep habits and disrupted sleep can have a bad effect on the gut flora, perhaps increasing the chance of developing inflammatory disorders6.
By going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, you can develop healthy sleep habits. Additionally, adults should sleep at least 7 hours every night.
5. Eat Cultured and Fermented Food
While we’ve all heard about the benefits of eating more yogurt for gut health, have we learned about the benefits of fermented foods?
Fermented and cultured foods contain beneficial bacteria, which helps to ease your digestion. They have a high concentration of helpful lactobacilli bacteria. Additionally, they are responsible for the conversion of sugar to alcohols and acids: These cultured and fermented foods are; Kefir, Tempeh, Kimchi, Kombucha, Sauerkraut, and low sugar yogurt.
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- Saarela, M., Lähteenmäki, L., Crittenden, R., Salminen, S., & Mattila-Sandholm, T. (2002).
- Gut bacteria and health foods—the European perspective. International journal of food microbiology, 78(1-2), 99-117.
- Swagerty Jr, D. L., Walling, A., & Klein, R. M. (2002). Lactose intolerance. American family physician, 65(9), 1845.
- Galley, Jeffrey D et al. “Exposure to a social stressor disrupts the community structure of the colonic mucosa-associated microbiota.” BMC microbiology vol. 14 189. 15 Jul. 2014, doi:10.1186/1471-2180-14-189.
- Karl JP, Hatch AM, Arcidiacono SM, et al. Effects of Psychological, Environmental and Physical Stressors on the Gut Microbiota. Front Microbiol. 2018;9:2013. Published 2018 Sep 11. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2018.02013.
- Voigt, R. M., Forsyth, C. B., Green, S. J., Mutlu, E., Engen, P., Vitaterna, M. H., Turek, F. W., & Keshavarzian, A. (2014). Circadian disorganization alters intestinal microbiota. PloS one, 9(5), e97500. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0097500.