Healthy Life

8 Tips to Improve Your Gut Health

You may have never given your gut much thought before, but it’s one of the most important systems in your body. In fact, your gut plays such an essential role in your overall health that many consider it to be the body’s second brain, responsible for keeping everything from your immune system to blood sugar and appetite in balance. If you suffer from digestive issues, you can use these eight tips to improve your gut health and hopefully ease some of the discomfort associated with the condition.

About Your Microbiome

Before we dive into how you can improve your gut health, it’s important to understand what a microbiome is. Many think of our microbiome as being just gut-related, but that’s not exactly true. The microbiome refers to all microorganisms that live on and in our bodies, including those in and on skin, mouth, nose and ears.

In other words, every single surface of your body—and even parts of your insides—have microbes that make up your microbiome. There are about 10 times more microbial cells than human cells in a person’s body! They outnumber us almost 10:1!

Why Gut Health Matters?

The gut is a vital component of our body that helps us absorb nutrients and fight infections. It’s also called our second brain because it has millions of neurons — that’s more than in your spinal cord! So, it’s no surprise that changes in digestion can result in changes in behavior and overall health.

For example, abdominal pain or bloating can be signs of food intolerances or allergies. Improving gut health by avoiding specific foods may help you feel better both physically and mentally. However, there are other steps you can take as well:

Adding probiotics, taking fish oil supplements and consuming foods high in vitamin D have all been shown to improve gut health. And hey — if you’re worried about adding too many pills to your routine, supplements aren’t your only option.

8 Easy Ways to Improve Gut Health Naturally

1) Start with Exercise

Exercise helps strengthen your body’s immune system and keeps you healthy overall. Exercise will also make it easier for you to lose weight. As a bonus, exercise can help distract you from stress, thereby improving your gut health.

Here are some ideas: go on a run around your neighborhood, walk down to your local park or even just do jumping jacks in your living room. Remember that exercise is essential! Being active every day may seem like an impossible task, but when you break up exercise into manageable portions each day (even if it’s just 10 minutes of yoga) and track your progress with technology such as Fitbit, Strava or MyFitnessPal, staying active is easy!

Use these resources as inspiration to get moving. No one ever said staying fit would be easy – why should maintaining good gut health be any different? Taking care of yourself requires a commitment – but luckily modern technology has made self-care easier than ever before!

Also Read: Burpee workout for Beginners

2) Eat Plenty of Fiber

Fiber is an indigestible carbohydrate that your body can’t break down. It passes through your intestines largely intact, so it’s a good source of roughage. Fiber helps keep waste moving quickly through your colon and may reduce your risk of colorectal cancer (CRC).

Studies have shown that people who eat high-fiber diets have lower CRC mortality rates. Eating more fiber-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains—and less refined grain products—can improve how quickly food moves through your system and help keep you regular.

Aim for a total daily intake of 25 grams of fiber or more. Keep in mind that most Americans get only 15 grams of fiber per day—the USDA recommends getting at least 23–28 grams(1) .This can be accomplished by adding more whole foods like fresh fruit into your diet, while reducing processed carbohydrates like sugary cereals and white breads/pastas.

3) Try New Foods

Studies have shown that our food environment has a huge impact on our health, with an association between processed foods and poor gut health.

To improve your gut health, try new foods. Rather than choosing standard favorites all of the time, opt for ethnic cuisines or local dishes; you might just discover a new favorite that improves your digestive tract.

It’s also a good idea to include fiber-rich foods in your diet; fiber is crucial for healthy digestion and helps maintain regularity throughout your digestive system.

Also Read: Calcium Rich Foods

4) Drink Lots of Water

Staying hydrated is important for overall health, but it also helps feed good bacteria in your gut. Water keeps them happy and as a result, you’ll be less likely to suffer from gas, constipation or diarrhea.

If you struggle with eating enough vegetables and fruits, consider making homemade vegetable and fruit juices so that you consume more water.

Simply adding more fluids (and fiber) to your diet will help keep things moving along. But remember: Too much of a good thing can backfire, so don’t overdo it—aim for one extra glass per day.

5) Consume Probiotics

Studies have shown that probiotics can help improve your digestion, boost immunity and improve skin health. Yogurt is a great source of good bacteria—look for one with live cultures (for example, contains active cultures on the label) and get plenty of other probiotic-rich foods like kimchi, kefir, tempeh or fermented veggies in your diet.

You can also supplement with a pill if you prefer (just read package labels). Supplements are available in many forms: capsules, tablets and powders. Look for them in well-known stores as well as natural-foods stores. Or ask at your local pharmacy if they carry brands such as Culturelle or Align—the same types you find at health food stores.

6) Choose Prebiotics

The beneficial bacteria in your gut rely on prebiotics, a kind of carbohydrate that humans can’t digest, for sustenance. Fiber (like that found in fruit and veggies) and resistant starch (found in legumes) provide lots of food for those friendly bugs.

Fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi contain good amounts of prebiotics as well—just look for the words live cultures on labels. So how do you get more of these prebiotic fibers into your diet?

A good place to start is by stocking up on fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans and seeds; they all contain decent amounts of fiber and resistant starch.

7) Take Steps Towards Better Mental Health

Mental health is just as important as physical health, but we often don’t pay enough attention to it. Mental illness affects people of all ages, races and income levels. Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental illnesses—and they can be treated effectively with medications, cognitive therapy and lifestyle changes.

Additionally, exercising has been shown in numerous studies to improve mood and stabilize anxiety disorders. Mental health is a serious issue that needs addressing.

And by focusing on your mental health each day—making time for exercise and being aware of thoughts or behaviors that make you feel stressed—you can improve your well-being significantly over time. Don’t neglect mental wellness: it matters! It might not be a sexy topic but it does matter.

8) Use Herbs and Spices

Herbs and spices aren’t just nice-to-have items for your kitchen; they can also help improve gut health! In particular, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and rosemary have all been shown to reduce gas and other gastrointestinal symptoms. They can also make your food taste better—which could help you get more enjoyment out of eating healthy foods.

Signs and Symptoms of an Unhealthy Gut

  1. A bloated stomach
  2. Abdominal cramps
  3. Acne
  4. Hair loss
  5. Constipation
  6. Diarrhea
  7. Weak immune system
  8. Urinary tract infections
  9. Food sensitivities
  10. Bad breath

While some of these symptoms are more cosmetic than serious, others can be dangerous if left untreated and in rare cases even life-threatening (such as liver disease). Unhealthy gut syndrome is a relatively new term, but it’s an important one because it’s becoming clear that our intestinal health plays a major role in many aspects of our health and well-being—and sometimes more so than genetics or environment do.

Conclusion

Keep it simple. Sometimes, all you need is water. If your gut health is acting up, drinking more H2O can be a simple way to improve digestion and hydration and help restore healthy bowel movements. Meanwhile, eliminating processed foods and adding in probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kefir and kimchi can promote healthy bacteria growth in your gut—just be sure that dairy products and fermented veggies don’t contain added sugars or other ingredients that could upset your stomach. And if you need some extra support? Talk with your doctor about adding in a probiotic supplement (don’t worry—they come in chewable gummies). Your gut will thank you!

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