The discussion surrounding the importance of intestinal wellness has recently exploded, with people recognizing how connected the health of their stomach is for the entirety of their body—from the way their body looks to how they feel mentally.
Much of this discussion can be attributed to various social media outlets, particularly TikTok, where conversations about gut health are thriving. Hashtags such as #guttok, #guthealth, and #guthealing have gained significant traction and have millions of viewers.
Do not discount the focus on gut health as a passing trend; rather, consider it to be a vital element of overall wellness since it is related to your general wellbeing. In the past fifteen years, Dr. Mark Pimentel, a gastroenterologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and an advisor at Good LFE, has learned that the bacteria in our gut has a considerable influence on our physical health and wellbeing.
What is the gut microbiome?
The interior of your digestive system has a huge populace of microbes, which adds up to trillions, residing in both your large and small bowels. Some of these bacteria are beneficial and others aren’t. Although each person’s gut microbiome is specific to them, it is necessary for both the helpful and unhelpful bacteria to exist in harmony inside the gut if an individual is in optimal health.
Maintaining a well-balanced state for the microbes in our digestives systems (i.e. gut microbiome) is of utmost significance, as it is responsible for a number of essential activities within the human body. For instance, were you aware that gastrointestinal wellness is directly associated with your immune system? Dr. Andrew Boxer, a gastroenterologist from Gastroenterology Associates of New Jersey in Clifton, N.J., noted that approximately 70 percent of the body’s immune system is in the gastrointestinal tract and it relies strongly on the gut microbiome. Essentially, having a healthier digestive system results in better functioning of the immune system.
The bacteria in your intestine are strongly connected to your metabolism, disintegrating essential elements your body requires and having an effect on your energy and body weight. Gut wellbeing has been connected to defensive steps for more serious ailments, controlling inflammation to reduce the chances of heart problems, diabetes, and cancer. It also has an impact on cognition and mental wellness.
Your body will give you signals when your intestine microbiome is not balanced correctly. Dr. Boxer typically gauges the wellness of his patients’ microbiomes based on how they report feeling. Gut health problems such as diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain and bloating are generally indicative, however, there can be further indications of an unhealthy gut that may not be so unmistakable. These can incorporate prolonged low vitality, skin disturbance and aggravation, overpowering longing for sugar, or even rest problems.
The amazing thing is that you can restore and boost the wellness of your gut without medication, as well as stopping digestive issues, by adapting particular lifestyle behaviors that have an impact on your microbiome.
The Best Habits for Gut Health
Eat more plants.
Desiree Nielsen, a registered dietitian in Vancouver and author of Good for Your Gut, asserts that adequate nutrition is the base of excellent gut health. Nielsen is also an ambassador for Silver Hills Sprouted Bakery. The food that you consume comes in potential contact with the lining of your digestive system and the bacteria that live inside you. The reason for that is that anything that does not get broken down totally and absorbed, such as minerals, plant chemicals, dietary fibers, and carbohydrates referred to as FODMAPs (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols) will have an impact on your digestive organs and the microorganisms in your gut – it could be a positive or a negative consequence. It’s also been found that the kind of food you take in affects what kind of bacteria will live in your intestines, as per Nielsen’s words. Furthermore, the helpful microorganisms inside your gut find plants more beneficial. Subsequently, consuming a multitude of plant-based foods is the most efficient means to begin enhancing your digestive system health without delay. This covers all types of produce, nuts, seeds, herbal teas, and whole grain products.
For example, onions, berries, tea, and coffee are all food items. These have flavonoids, a classification of phytochemicals that enhance the expansion of a beneficial species of bacteria known as Bifidobacteria. Furthermore, consuming meals which are laden with flavonoid compounds has been correlated to an upsurge in the number of germs that secrete butyrate, a type of short-chain fatty acid that is beneficial to the integrity of the gut and its immune system. Plant starches and arabinoxylan, located in whole grain goods, stimulate the production of butyrate.
One more reason plants are critical: Fiber, a type of nourishment that is not found in food from animal sources, helps to regulate your bowel movements and keeps your digestive system functioning properly. Insoluble fiber acts as a broom, scrubbing the intestines to enable waste to flow through more easily and make the stool bulkier. Soluble fiber produces a gel-like substance that helps keep stools moist and makes them easier to pass, according to Nielsen. Most Americans consume only around 15 grams of fiber per day, although guidelines advise that people should have between 25 and 38 grams on average.
Eat a wide variety of foods.
Having different types of food is not only exciting, but it is also good for the health of your digestive system. Analysis The American Gut Project’s findings indicate that individuals who munch on around 30 different plant varieties per week boast a more powerful and varied gut microbiome compared to those who consume fewer than 10 varieties of plants per week, according to Nielsen. It is important to have a wide variety of foods in your diet because the bacteria in your intestines will consume the same things that you do. By eating an array of different colorful foods, you will be able to provide a more varied collection of nutrients to the microorganisms in your gut. She states that due to their differing metabolisms, the various bacteria will have the nourishment that they need. 30 might seem intimidating initially, but think of something like oatmeal with blueberries, hemp seeds, soy milk, and cinnamon. In that one dish, you’re getting five plant foods!
Eat fermented foods.
If you’re a fan of fermented items like kimchi, tempeh, kombucha, and sauerkraut, consider yourself fortunate, as these are nourishing, gut-friendly sustenances that can promote the well-being of your digestive system. Want proof? A study published in the journal Cell showed that individuals who ate an average of 6.3 servings of high-fermented foods for 10 weeks had an increased microbial variety. Fermented foods are often created from nutrient-laden plant items such as soybeans, cabbage, and tea, and they possess commensal microbes which positivity affect the breadth and healthfulness of a person’s gut microbiome, mentions Nielsen. Below is a selection of some of the most nourishing fermented foods, as well as information on their various health advantages.
Exercise in your gut health diet.
Did you realize that increasing your heart rate and profuse sweating is beneficial for encouraging a wide range of microorganisms in your body? Well it is, and here’s why.
Studies have pointed out that people who are not physically active have a microbiome that is not as varied. It is not only the food you consume that matters in improving your digestive system’s health, there are numerous other aspects of a lifestyle that come into play.
Do not become despondent, there are basic things you can do to tackle the issue. Athletes have a greater variety of microorganisms in their digestive system than nonathletes. You don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to have a positive impact. Hitting the pavement or the dance floor for at least 150 minutes a week shoulder-to-shoulder with some strength exercises should do the trick. Believe us, your intestinal microbes will be grateful for it.
If you’re stressed, so is your gut.
The effects of stress can be destructive to different areas of wellbeing, such as bodily health, psychological wellbeing, and even digestion.
The bacteria in your gut aren’t just related to your digestive system, they can also affect other areas of your body, such as your brain. Your microbes can sense when you are stressed. It can even reduce the number of essential beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacillus.
Maintaining a good balance of helpful bacteria can increase your capacity to deal with difficult situations. Your intestinal microorganisms have an impact on stress and your emotional state hormones. Ease your pressure by not taking on tasks that are excessively challenging, and try out methods such as deep breathing and contemplation.
Consume less sugar.
Sugar is everywhere, even when you can’t taste it. Sadly, the excessive intake of processed sugar can impact the equilibrium of your digestive system and your metabolism.
A typical Western style of eating is often characterized by an excessive amount of sugar and fat, which is widely recognized as a recipe for health problems. Many foods contain easy-to-digest sugars such as glucose and fructose, but excessive intake of these could lead to health issues like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. It can also disturb the gut microbiota.
If you’re curious about eliminating unwelcome microorganisms in the digestive system, reducing the amount of sugar you consume can be beneficial. Beverages, pre-packaged meals, fast food, and dinners from restaurants can have a lot of sugar in them because it can add taste and hide other inferior constituents. Don’t mistake these sugars for the carbs found in plants that are necessary for the health of the bacteria in your gut.
READ MORE: 16 Sugar Free Diet Benefits
Improve the gut microbiome with sleep.
The communication between your gut and brain is facilitated by nerves and hormones which can affect your sleeping habits and emotional state.
Within you lies a biological clock also known as the circadian rhythm. It operates continuously, 24/7, and regulates vital activities like digestion and sleep. The microbes in our digestive systems have a routine, but if you are not sleeping enough, it can have an effect on your digestion and the bacteria in your system likewise.
An inadequate amount of sleep often goes hand in hand with an unhealthy diet, greater alcohol consumption, and putting on additional pounds. Studies have demonstrated that people who get enough sleep have a greater variety of microbes in their microbiome. Evidence demonstrates that not getting enough sleep is detrimental to one’s mental capacity. When your mental state is not positive, it can affect your whole body.
Give your gut a rest from a hard day’s work.
Taking a break from consuming food could guard against metabolic diseases and bring back intestinal health.
When your digestive system has a break from eating for 12 or more hours between yesterday’s dinner and today’s breakfast, it can recover because the process of digestion is a strenuous task. Your gut microbiome can be increased in variety, allowing the bacterium to help you stay well.
Some helpful microorganisms, such as Akkermansia muciniphila, truly appreciate time without food, and they aid strengthen the intestinal wall at those times when there is no incoming nutrition. No need to go to extremes here; just avoid snacking late at night and when you do eat, fill up with healthy carbs from plants.
Alcohol and gut health.
Drinking excessively too often can have repercussions on your digestive system, not just your mind and your finances.
It is well-known that alcohol is not good for the digestive system. It has an impact on the barrier of the gut and it also affects the rate at which food is digested and passes through the digestive tract. Alcohol can also lead to an abundance of harmful bacteria, as well as constipation, diarrhoea, and bloating – all of which are incredibly unpleasant.
In a nutshell, limiting your liquor intake is generally advantageous to your wellbeing, with the occasional glass of red wine not really being an issue. This substance contains polyphenols, which are compounds that can provide protection against inflammation and sickness, as well as improve the population of helpful bacteria. If you experience a flushed and splotchy complexion when drinking, it could be a sign of an intolerance to alcohol.
Easy on the painkillers for your gut flora.
Pain-relieving medications that are not steroids and reduce inflammation can disrupt the balance of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, resulting in an upset stomach.
Commonly referred to as NSAIDs, these drugs are among the most commonplace prescriptions. These medications are effective for reducing pain by focusing on inflammation and are particularly beneficial at relieving pain experienced during menstruation.
Despite providing temporary relief, the extended utilization of such a remedy can lead to harm to your digestive tract walls and adversely affect your gut bacteria. They cause inflammation and bleeding of the lining of your intestines, which can hurt the intestine and the ecosystem of bacteria in it.
Fad diets should be avoided.
Research has demonstrated time and again that those who try to lose weight through dieting have always been unsuccessful, yet there are still people who become involved in the latest craze diets.
Fad diets are usually limited to creative ideas and lack any real medical evidence to support them. Many times, they offer speedy weight-loss tricks with no information on the research, risks, and potential long-term effects on your wellness, digestion, and microbiome.
These dietary plans can involve omitting certain categories of foods or only eating a certain kind of food. The no-carb trend is an important factor to consider, yet we are aware that in order for the gut microbiome to be in optimal condition and the gut bacteria to be content those prebiotic fibers must be consumed which will lead to positive metabolites being produced. By taking away food, it can throw off the delicate environment and disturb your body’s equilibrium.
In short, here’s how to have a healthy gut!
Do not disregard the significance of intestinal health when it comes to your body and well-being. The residence of unimaginably large numbers of bacteria and real human cells, contribute to keeping you healthy and strong. The way you live your life can significantly affect this equilibrium.
You can improve your gut health and the health of your gut microbiome by doing simple positive things such as consuming more fiber, exercising more frequently, and reducing the use of unnecessary drugs. Bear in mind, you can definitely effect change, one move at a time.
READ MORE: 4 Steps To Improve Your Gut Microbiome