Gut health has been a big focus in the wellbeing arena for a few years now. However, with the global pandemic claiming so many lives and making so many people sick, increasing numbers of people are looking for ways to boost their immunity and improve their overall health.
If you’re in this boat, it’s time to get serious about gut health and help your body to become and stay at its best. Here are some ways to improve your gut health this year.
Eat the Right Things
One of the main determinants of gut health is the diet you eat. Gut microbes need fiber, so an excellent thing to do to improve your microbiome is to eat a diversity of plants daily. Chow down on salads and vegetables to enhance your fiber intake, as this will help develop more good bacteria in your gut and improve overall gut health as a result.
In particular, focus on getting enough prebiotic fiber. These nondigestible carbohydrates encourage the multiplication of beneficial bacteria in your gut. Prime sources of prebiotic-rich foods include asparagus, garlic, bananas, onions, Jerusalem artichoke, chicory, and wholegrains.
Fermented foods are vital in developing a healthy digestive system, too. They’re a natural source of probiotics; the live bacteria and yeasts improve or restore the gut flora. Consume more fermented vegetables, kimchi, kefir, and kombucha to increase the probiotics in your system. Other helpful options include miso, sauerkraut, pickled ginger, and tempeh.
Do you struggle to get enough of the above food items into your diet? Or perhaps you want to kickstart your gut health, especially after a big round of antibiotics, or if you’re feeling your internal flora is lacking? If so, it pays to boost beneficial bacteria with quality probiotic supplements.
In health food shops, drug stores, some supermarkets, and elsewhere, these popular products can not only promote a healthy gut microbiome but also potentially help prevent gut inflammation and other intestinal issues.
Reduce Sugar Intake
As hard as it might be due to the addictive nature of sweet substances, you’ll improve your gut health if you take steps to reduce your intake of sugar and artificial sweeteners. These items are not only inflammatory but can also cause more yeast to grow internally, throwing off the delicate gut balance in turn.
Artificial sweeteners are included in this list because they can have ill effects on the microbiome. They also increase blood sugar and can make it hard for insulin to be appropriately used within the body. It’s also suggested that the popular artificial sweetener aspartame may cause more of the harmful bacterial strains linked with metabolic disease to develop. This all leads to negative consequences for the gut flora and the body in general.
Another way to boost gut health is to manage your stress levels. Psychological stressors and environmental stress, and sleep deprivation-based stress can actually disrupt the microorganisms in our intestines, whether the pressure is short-lived or longer term. It’s believed stress can weaken the intestinal barrier and allow gut bacteria to enter the body.
Short-term stress can slow digestion, while long-term stress can trigger upset stomachs and other gastrointestinal issues, including diarrhea and constipation. Chronic stress can also play a part in serious problems such as irritable bowel syndrome and other specific gastrointestinal disorders.
Try to combat these concerns by engaging in stress-management techniques like deep breathing, meditation, exercise, stretching, and mindfulness activities. Also, get more and better quality sleep wherever possible. Aim for a minimum of seven to eight hours each night. Plus, avoid situations or people that might trigger excessive stress reactions where possible, and see a counselor or other health professional for treatment options as needed.
Take Care of Your Teeth
The link between our teeth and our gut isn’t obvious, but it’s there. We must brush and floss our pearly whites often and get dental cleanings and necessary repair work done to help create not only a happy smile but a happy microbiome.
Harmful bacteria in the mouth, particularly from gum inflammation, can build up, be ingested, then make their way into the stomach. This situation causes gut health issues, as the oral bacteria may disrupt healthy stomach bacteria. Furthermore, it’s thought gum disease may activate immune system T-cells in the mouth, which, if they travel to the stomach, may cause worse stomach inflammation.
As you can see, gut health is a complex thing and needs to examining from many angles. Consider all the factors mentioned above to give yourself the happiest gut possible.