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How To Keep Your Gut Healthy

A healthy gut provides a balance of microorganisms living in the digestive tract. It’s essential to maintain the right balance and ensure good gut health in order to have strong immunity, and functional physical and mental health.

The microorganisms are composed of yeasts, bacteria, and viruses, which are called gut microbiomes. Most of the microbes found in the gut are beneficial and harmless to human health. Nevertheless, when these organisms tend to multiply and cause diseases, they’re considered pathogenic.

Some of the factors that result in an unhealthy gut are antibiotic abuse, stress, food intolerances, and a high-sugar diet. In order to restore the balance and maintain the health of your gut, you may consider doing some of the vital ways to improve gut health.

One of these ways is to consult your doctor to maintain your gut health. For instance, provides practical and science-based advice to enhance digestive health.

In this article, you’ll learn more beneficial and practical ways of keeping your gut healthy.

Take Probiotics and Consume Fermented Foods

Taking probiotic supplements helps boost the growth of good bacteria in the gut. In fact, a 2013 study published by PMC suggested that probiotics may support a healthy gut microbiome and prevent gut inflammation. These supplements are available in drug stores or online health food stores.

Eating fermented foods also provides the individual with a natural source of probiotics. Some of these foods include:

  • Fermented vegetables
  • Kimchi
  • Miso
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kefir
  • Kombucha
  • Tempeh

However, some individuals with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) shouldn’t take probiotics to prevent pain and diarrhea. Also, be careful with probiotic supplements that are low in quality and don’t provide satisfaction. To be on the safe side, consult your doctor before taking probiotic or prebiotic supplements.

Eat Prebiotic Fiber

Prebiotics are non-digestible fiber compounds in food that encourage the growth of probiotics or beneficial microorganisms, like bacteria and fungi in the gut. Additionally, prebiotics support probiotics to become more resilient to environmental challenges, like pH and temperature changes.

To enhance gut health, it’s essential to consume prebiotic-rich foods, such as:

  • Garlic
  • Bananas
  • Whole grains
  • Chicory
  • Onions
  • Jerusalem artichoke

Reduce Stress

Several stressors can trigger negative impacts of gut health. Some of these include psychological stress, environmental stress, like intense heat, cold, or noise, disruption of the circadian rhythm, and even sleep deprivation.

Managing stress is a vital aspect of gut health and improves overall well-being. Some stress management techniques include:

  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Meditation
  • Progressive muscle relaxation
  • Sleeping well
  • Regular exercise
  • Eating a healthy diet

Avoid Antibiotics Overuse

Antibiotics are used to combat bacterial infections, but misuse or overuse of the drug is a health concern that can result in antibiotic resistance. Overuse of antibiotics can damage the gut microbiota and immunity, and tends to decrease the species of beneficial microorganisms.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have revealed that about 30% of antibiotics or around 47 million prescriptions are unnecessarily authorized by the doctors in the United States. Therefore, the correct prescription of drugs is recommended and avoid self-medication.

Eat A Vegetarian Diet

A vegetarian diet contains high levels of prebiotic fiber and helps improve gut health.

In fact, a 2013 study published in the National Library of Medicine showed improvements in risk factors of metabolic diseases for people following a strict vegetarian diet. The participants had lower levels of intestinal inflammation due to regulated gut microbiota.

Eat Less Sugar and Sweeteners

Eating too much sugar or foods with artificial sweeteners can cause gut dysbiosis, a condition of unbalanced gut microbes. Western diet, which is rich in sugar and fat, have negative impacts on gut microbiomes, influencing cognitive flexibility.

On the other hand, artificial sweetener, specifically aspartame, tends to increase the number of bacterial strains that are associated with metabolic diseases. These diseases refer to health conditions that elevate the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Furthermore, artificial sweeteners may impact blood glucose levels because of their effects on gut flora. Hence, artificial sweeteners may boost blood sugar levels without the actual sugar component.

To keep your gut healthy, you can change your diet and reduce the amount of foods with high sugar content and processed and high-fat foods.

Stay Hydrated

Keeping yourself hydrated provides a beneficial effect on the intestinal lining and promotes a balance of probiotics in the gut. Drinking 8-9 glasses of water help facilitate smooth metabolic processes and encourage a healthy gut.

Sufficient amounts of water also help in better digestion, good absorption of food nutrients, and prevents constipation.

Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise provides good heart health and weight maintenance. Also, physical activity may improve gut health and helps control obesity. A 2014 study published in the National Library of Medicine indicated that athletes working out had a larger species of gut flora diversity than nonathletes.

According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, it’s recommended that adults participate in moderate-intensity exercise for at least 150 minutes and perform muscle-building exercises twice or more in a week.

Check For Food Intolerances

Common symptoms of food intolerances include bloating, abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea, rashes, fatigue, nausea, and even acid reflux. To prevent digestive discomfort, eliminate or avoid food that triggers the symptoms.

Some of the most common food intolerances include:

  • Dairy
  • Gluten
  • Caffeine
  • Salicylates
  • Amines
  • Fermentable Oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols (FODMAPs)
  • Sulfites
  • Fructose

Familiarizing yourself with the foods that induce the symptoms and changing eating habits may help you build good digestive health.

Get Enough Sleep

Lack of sleep can have serious impacts on gut health, leading to more sleep issues. If possible, get at least 7-8 hours of continuous sleep per night. Having sufficient good-quality sleep may improve mood, cognition, and gut health.

Disturbed sleep and irregular sleep habits result in negative outcomes for the gut microbiome that may pose a risk of inflammatory conditions. A good sleep habit is one way to prevent gut issues and maintain digestive health.

If you’re having difficulty sleeping, try to start healthy habits by sleeping and waking up at the same time every day. Or, you may consult your healthcare provider to help you restore your sleep cycle.

Final Thought:

Maintaining a healthy gut requires a balance of microorganisms living in the gut system. This can be done by considering dietary changes and appropriate lifestyle as it’ll alter the diversity of microbes in the gut. Taking probiotics, vegetarian diet, consuming fiber-rich foods, and avoiding antibiotic overuse can also provide positive impacts on gut health. Other lifestyle changes like exercising regularly, drinking lots of water, and getting enough sleep are practical ways of having a healthy gut.

However, some of the tips mentioned in this article may not be suitable for individuals with irritable bowel syndrome and other health conditions. Hence, it’s important to seek a doctor’s advice on drastic changes in diet before taking a probiotics supplement.

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