How to Improve Gut Health in 8 Easy Ways
A healthy gut has the right balance of microorganisms within the body’s digestive tract. Think about what happens when we eat.
What happens to the food we eat?
The digestive tract carries food that enters the mouth and sends it to the stomach.
In the stomach, the gastrointestinal tract converts food into absorbable nutrients and stored energy.
And it also flushes out the waste out of the body.
But here’s something you might not know:
Certain bacteria in the digestive tract helps to process the food we eat. Contrary to what we may have been told, not all bacteria are evil.
In fact, the more diverse our gut microbiome (bacteria) community is, the lower our chances of getting certain diseases and allergies.
The general name given to these organisms is Gut Microbiome or Micro Flora. And most of these microbiomes can be found in the digestive tract (the intestine).
Our gut health suffers when there is an imbalance of the “good” and “bad” microbiome.
This imbalance can cause gastrointestinal conditions like inflammatory bowel disease and even type II diabetes.
It is therefore not surprising that an important part of a healthy body is to improve gut health.
What are the benefits of a healthy gut?
A healthy gut helps to regulate your immune system to work at full capacity. It is your body’s fortress.
And when these microbiome work in a state of harmony in the gut, the body’s immune cells to respond positively.
It strengthens the defense against infections in the body.
But that’s not all:
Recent studies have shown that a healthy gut improves the central nervous system and the overall brain functionalities.
The good news is we can choose to eat foods or avoid certain foods to improve gut health.
In this article, we will go over some ways you can improve gut health.
Related: Gut Microbiome: Everything You Need to Know
How to make your gut healthy?
1. Eat more fiber
You will find dietary fibers in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and cereals. They are often classified under soluble and insoluble fibers.
An example of soluble fibers is fruits. This type of fiber can easily dissolve in water.
Insoluble fibers are present in vegetables. They cannot be easily dissolved in water. And these fibers are necessary for the survival of the colon.
The colon is in charge of ensuring the smooth passage of bowels. And so the bacteria in the colon helps to digest the fiber. This, in turn, makes it super easy to release your bowels.
But this depends on the amount of fluid you take. If you take lesser fluids your chances of being constipated are high.
So be sure to take more fluid together with your fiber.
2. Reduce unnecessary antibiotic intake
Antibiotics are drugs that help stop infections caused by bacteria.
Antibiotics work by killing the causative bacteria or by keeping them from reproducing themselves.
Here’s the thing though:
Because diversity in the gut microbiome is healthy, too much intake of antibiotics might be harmful. This is because antibiotics reduce this diversity.
Excessive intake of antibiotics also reduces a protective organism in the gut called the Bifidobacterium.
3. Eat more fermented foods
Fermented foods are foods that contain bacteria.
They help the gut (microbiome) to perform its functions at full capacity. Fermented foods contain probiotics that help improve gut health.
Probiotics are live bacteria that line your digestive tract and aid your body in nutrient absorption and fighting against infections.
Some fermented foods include Kefir (a fermented milk product from either cow or goat milk), raw cheese, yogurt, and many others.
4. Consume a moderate amount of alcohol
Stay with me for a second. Alcohol has many evil effects. But there are a few hidden benefits of alcohol, especially to your gut health.
Alcohol kills certain “bad” bacteria in the gut.
This sounds bad but it is a good thing. The death of a good number of “bad” bacteria allows the “good” ones to thrive. This balancing act keeps your gut healthy.
But this is not an excuse to go on an alcohol bingeing night. Moderation is the keyword here.
Excessive intake of alcohol might bring about an alarming imbalance and that could spell doom to our gut health.
5. Consider dark chocolate
Inflammation or bloating is one of the effects of unhealthy gut health. Dark chocolate is one way to improve gut health.
Certain bacteria feed on the dark chocolate, ferment it and produce anti-inflammatory compounds that help the immune and digestive systems.
Don’t forget that anti-inflammatory compounds help you to reduce your cholesterol levels. Dark chocolate can be the right choice to make.
6. Choose foods high in Polyphenols
Polyphenols are compounds that are naturally found in plants.
They are anti-oxidizing and anti-inflammation properties that help fight against infections and inflammation respectively.
Polyphenols help in digestion by producing beneficial bacteria and fighting “bad” bacteria as well.
Examples of foods rich in polyphenols include apples, grapes, broccoli, carrots, walnuts, and oats.
7. Add a bit of spice
Adding herbal spices can be one way to help improve your gut health.
For instance, fresh ginger helps the stomach to produce its acid. And it helps food to pass through the digestive tract in a smooth way.
This helps to prevent gut infections.
Garlic also is the fuel that the “good” bacteria depends on to do their job. But if you don’t like ginger or garlic for some reason, consider turmeric (or turmeric tea) or even rosemary.
8. Reduce artificial sweeteners intake
Artificial sweeteners may be good for your calorie count but studies show they are detrimental to your gut health.
The excessive intake of these sweeteners causes an imbalance in your microbiome environment. This can be bad for your general wellbeing.
Your gut health is as important as your overall fitness. It’s time to make it a priority too. We may not all the roles microbiome and bacteria play in our bodies.
But we do know one thing for sure: they help keep our balances, improve gut health and well balanced.
Let’s do this one favor for that least regarded community, shall we?