- To maintain a variety of microbes for optimal gut health, consume a variety of healthy foods, get exercise, and sleep well.
- Poor gut health can not only lead to chronic illnesses, but mental illnesses as well.
- Probiotics can help you boost your microbiome and discover all of the positive effects of a healthy gut.
The gut is often referred to as the “second brain” due to the important role it plays in maintaining overall health and wellbeing. Beyond digesting food, absorbing nutrients, and eliminating waste, the gut also plays a vital role in our immune system, mental health, and even weight management.
Poor gut health can lead to a variety of health problems, including digestive issues, autoimmune diseases, and mental health disorders. Fortunately, if you start a search online today, you can learn more about maintaining a healthy gut.
Protecting Your Microbiome
The microbiome refers to the community of microorganisms – including bacteria, fungi, viruses, and tiny organisms – that live in the gut. These microbes coexist peacefully and play a vital role in digestion, immunity, and overall health.
Recent research has shown that disruptions to the microbiome, from using antibiotics or changing your diet, can have far-reaching effects on health. Chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, and inflammatory bowel disease can result. Therefore, maintaining a healthy microbiome is an important goal in healthy living – and here’s how you can achieve it!
A Balanced, Varied Diet
Eating a variety of whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds can help to promote gut health. These foods contain fiber, which helps to feed the beneficial bacteria in the gut. Speaking of fiber, it’s optimal to consume at least 20 to 35 grams per day to reduce inflammation.
Another great way to ward off inflammation is to avoid high-fat foods and processed foods, such as processed meats, fried foods, and baked goods. Also, don’t forget to stay hydrated – the extra fluids will keep your digestive system in shape!
Probiotics and Prebiotics
Probiotics are live bacteria that can help to improve gut health by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria. Prebiotics, meanwhile, are dietary fibers that act as food for beneficial bacteria in the gut.
Fermented foods are a great way to get these probiotics into your system. Yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha contain live cultures of beneficial bacteria that can add variety to your microbiome.
In addition to these foods, many health food stores also carry probiotic supplements, which can provide a concentrated source of beneficial bacteria. Keep an eye out for these probiotic strains, which can be found on the labels of many fermented products:
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Bifidobacterium lactis
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus
- Saccharomyces boulardii
- Streptococcus thermophilus
It’s important to note that the effectiveness of probiotics can vary depending on the individual and the specific strain of bacteria. It’s always a good idea to talk to a healthcare professional before starting a new probiotic supplement.
Exercise and Sleep
Regular exercise has been shown to improve gut health by increasing the diversity of gut bacteria and reducing inflammation. Exercise may also help to improve gut motility, which can aid in digestion and help to prevent constipation.
Getting enough sleep is just as important as getting enough exercise. A lack of sleep can disrupt the balance of gut bacteria and increase inflammation, which can contribute to digestive problems.
Conversely, improving your gut health can remedy your sleeping problems, as influxes of serotonin and dopamine can reinstate positive sleep patterns. After all, approximately 95 percent of your serotonin supply is created by gut bacteria.
Manage Your Stress
While more research is needed to understand how exercise and sleep impact gut health, both are proven to relieve stress – which is another enemy to your microbiome. Chronic stress affects the trillions of microbes in your gut, thereby causing alterations in digestion like irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux, and various other stomach issues.
These changes in your gut can in turn directly impact your mental health. In the same way the brain can impact the gut and intestines, the gut and intestines can impact the brain. This is all thanks to the vagus nerve, which is a long nerve connecting the gut to the brain. Therefore, cases of anxiety or depression can in fact be caused by poor gut health.
Use Antibiotics Sparingly
Antibiotics can have a significant impact on gut health because they work by killing off bacteria, both good and bad, in the body. This can lead to a reduction in the diversity of gut bacteria and an overgrowth of harmful bacteria.
As a result, antibiotics can cause diarrhea, stomach pain, and other digestive problems. They can also increase the risk of infection with harmful bacteria, such as Clostridium difficile, which can cause severe diarrhea and other complications.
For many reasons, it’s important to be responsible when it comes to using antibiotics. Only take them when necessary and under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
Better Gut, Better You
Gut health is a crucial component to overall health and well-being. Since the human microbiome plays a vital role in digestion, immunity, and countless physiological processes, poor gut health should be remedied immediately. Otherwise, many health problems, including digestive issues, autoimmune disorders, and chronic diseases like obesity and diabetes, can arise.
Fortunately, by making healthy modifications to your diet, exercise routine, and sleep schedule, you can naturally boost your microbiome. As a result, you’ll have less inflammation, more energy, and a better mood.