How Do I Improve My Gut Health?
Improve My Gut Health. Think of your gut microbiome as a lush forest of all kinds of different trees. It needs to grow, flourish, stay fresh. You need to keep that forest healthy.
What are the trees? They are trillions of bacteria, fungi and viruses. Together, they are known as the microbiome. A largely important ecosystem in your body.
Some of these bacteria, fungi and viruses are associated with disease and illness. Most should be doing incredible works for your body.
To put in your mind how important gut health is- did you know we are more bacteria than we are human? How can this be? Science has shown us that there are roughly 40 trillion bacteria only 30 trillion human cells.
A healthy gut goes beyond digestion: it plays into your energy levels, mood, your immune system, weight, heart health, and more. (Source)
If you struggle with gut issues, fear not. It can be a long and patient road, but results can come. Health can be achieved.
We’re here to give you ways to improve your gut health and reclaim your vitality.
How The Microbiome Relates To Proper Digestion
In a nutshell, the gut microbiome = all the microbes in your intestines. A good gut microbiome helps control digestion.
With every meal, millions of microbes enter our body. Nothing comes in contact more with these microbes than your digestion system (besides skin.) Turning food into nutrition can take a lot of work on a molecular level. (Source)
The stomach hosts very few microbes, the small intestines is where food gets digested and the large intestines is where food ferments after digestion. As you can see, there are many roles.
To not be feeding your gut microbiome with the good bacteria that it needs, would be a disservice to you.
Let’s look at ways to help improve your current situation.
1. Eat a variety of different foods
The worst thing you can do is rely on the traditional Western Diet- which is largely beige (pastas, breads, processed grains, lack of color, etc) and rarely includes fresh vegetables and fruits. You want to be eating a rainbow of color every single day to prevent complications down the line and to get your gut thriving. (Source)
There is no specific diet that will guarantee you results. For instance: people tie weight loss to gut health, and they believe that a high protein/ low carbohydrate diet can help them achieve those goals. That’s true, but high protein and low carbohydrate can actually hinder your gut health! (Source)
A better thing to think about? Proper fiber, lots of fruits and vegetables, nuts, and seeds! That should be bulk of your diet. Diversity is key. (Source)
2. Place a focus on probiotics and prebiotics
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria. They can help with gut inflammation, keeping you regular, help maintain your weight and keep intestinal problems at bay. Taking your probiotic everyday has recently become fairly trendy in the health and wellness world because we finally realize how much it can do for us. (Source)
We should aim to take a probiotic supplement every day especially if we are not getting enough probiotic foods in our diet. Foods like sauerkraut, yogurt, kimchi, tempeh, etc.
Want to make your probiotics more effective? Make sure to get in enough prebitoics.
There are non-digestible carbohydrates that we call prebiotics. Prebiotics feed probiotics. They help make conditions in the gut tolerable for probiotics to survive.
Popular prebiotic foods include: asparagus, bananas, garlic, onions, and certain whole grains. They add to our FIBER intake- which also helps our digestion and keeping us regular. (Source)
3. Eat less sugar
Oh we know this is tough for those with a sweet tooth! But hear us out, eating too much sugar (and other sweeteners) can negatively affect the gut microbiome but putting it out of balance. Want to improve your gut? Keep it in balance!
This study showed that sugar can create an imbalance in the gut and thus can affect the brain and our behavior/mood in a negative way.
This animal study showed that artificial sweeteners are also not great for the gut- in one test it showed that too much aspartame in the gut can trigger bacterial strains that are linked to metabolic diseases.
4. Don’t take antibiotics unless you absolutely have to
Using too many antibiotics can deprive gut bacteria. In fact, it can take up to 6 months to get your gut flora back. That is a long time. It can also cause dysbiosis and other gut imbalances. (Source + Source)
You should first look at natural cures and figuring out the root cause of your situation before you choose antibiotics. Of course, there are times when we need to act fast and antibiotics are the best answer but understand that with prolonged use, our gut will be negatively impacted.
If you’ve always relied on antibiotics for a condition, and switch to a natural remedy- your gut will be better for it! (See our article on healing yourself after a round of antibiotics.)
Science has found that physical activity, even just moderate levels and this is independent of diet- can actually alter the composition of your gut microbiome. It does this by increasing the production of short-chain fatty acids- which we know positively impact our health. (Source + Source)
Another thing to think about: Exercise raises our core temperature and slows down blood flow to the intestines. What does that mean? It could lead to more direct contact between gut microbes and immune cells in within the gut— this has the potential to shift our gut microbiome composition! (Source)
There are multiple ways to help improve your gut health, but these five are an excellent place to start. They are accessible and we can start on them right away! Be patient with your gut, it takes time to heal (months, sometimes years!) but with consistency, we can get there!
GUT FRIENDLY MINI CINNAMON ROLLS
This is a recipe that was inspired by LilSipper! We changed a few things and added in some extra benefits, but the end result is DELICIOUS!
The cassava flour is a resistant starch, so it can benefit our gut by nurturing healthy bacteria.
The lucuma powder is a Karen Berrios favorite- it is also loaded with both insoluble and soluble fiber!
The blueberries provide antioxidant support and the yogurt also feeds good gut bacteria!
…. Kind of hard to believe this is a TREAT as it is so good for us!
Courtesy of Katey Yurko @thevioletfog
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