6 Ways To Start Improving Your Gut Health Today
Considering the rapid rise in Kombucha, sauerkraut and probiotics we can find in the supermarkets these days, it’s pretty clear gut health is on everyone’s minds. And with good reason: More and more research is emerging showing just how important good gut health is for overall wellbeing and how little consumers still know about it.
The bacteria in your gut can be one of your strongest allies in getting healthy – or it can be one of your worst enemies. Most people don’t realize it, but what you eat and how you live is changing the makeup of your gut bacteria.
But how do you know when something’s wrong with your gut bacteria in the first place? And more importantly, what can you do about it?
Check out our 6 simple steps you can make starting today, to improve your gut health.
6.) Improve Your Gut Health: Stay Hydrated
Water is essential to your health in general, as it acts as a transportation system, circulating nutrients throughout the body and moving out waste products. Logically, it plays a major role for your gut health, too.
As you see, little is better for your digestive system than water. So stay hydrated! You’ll need to drink at least two liters of water every day to keep hydrated. Even m0re if you’re exercising.
Like not eating enough fiber, drinking too little water slows down your digestive system significantly.
The trick: You’re getting enough water when your pee is clear all day long. Easy, right?
5.) Improve Your Gut Health: Get Moving
It is scientifically proven that exercise alters your gut microbiota. Researchers say they noticed changes in the gut microbiome after only six weeks of exercise. Unfortunately, the gut makeup also returns to normal after exercise was dropped.It makes sense, that a sedentary is the major cause of constipation. Why? Exercise increases the blood flow to all your organs, and stimulates all muscles, including those in your intestines. One more reason to make exercise a regular part of your day!
Try walking, dancing or strength training for at least 30 minutes every day.
4.) Improve Your Gut Health: Drink Less Alcohol
Alcohol is not only addictive, highly toxic and can have harmful physical and mental effects. It can influence what kind and how many bacteria live in your gut. Even one night of drinking can damage the gut wall and lead to malabsorption of essential vitamins and minerals.
Recent research suggests alcohol can influence the gut microbiota. Alcohol abuse, especially, can disrupt the intestinal environment significantly. It irritates your digestive system. Even moderate drinking increases your risk of bowel cancer. It’s best to avoid it! If you do enjoy alcohol, be sure to do so in moderation.
On a side note: The polyphenol content in red wine is said to have a protective effect on gut bacteria when consumed in moderation.
3.) Improve Your Gut Health: Get Enough Sleep
We’re constantly inundated with factors that contribute to poor sleep. If you suffer from insomnia or just don’t get enough sleep, you can experience chronic fatigue, poor immune system health, and teeth grinding.
If you’re sleeping badly you are more likely to eat poorly, perhaps relying on sugary foods to pick up your energy levels through the day, and you are more likely to skip your exercise because you are tired.
Your gut and sleep patterns influence each other: When you’re unaware of this connection, it can lead you in a downward health spiral!
Most of us need 7-8 hours a night. While you might think you can function perfectly well on less, the research suggests otherwise. You are most unlikely to be functioning at your best.
2.) Improve Your Gut Health: Limit Processed Foods
Naturally, diet is important. High amounts of carbohydrates and soda drinks are associated with a troubled gut, whereas diets high in fruits and vegetables are linked with great gut health.
The first step to healing your gut is to remove foods making you sick, leaving you feeling zapped of energy. Many of these foods hide in the ingredients used in prepackaged products. Always read ingredients and stick with whole, unprocessed foods whenever possible.
Processed and fried foods slow down the digestive process, and should be kept to a minimum. A low fibre, high-sugar, processed diet encourages the wrong type of bacteria and yeast to grow in our gut, and damages the delicate ecosystem in your intestines.
1.) Improve Your Gut Health:
Eat Your Probiotics
While the research on probiotics is still in its relative infancy, they do seem to have benefit, but only if you take them every day. Taking them only now and again holds little value.
Probiotics may be especially valuable during and after taking antibiotics and for boosting immune function during winter as they have been shown to reduce the number and severity of respiratory infections.
Taking a probiotic supplement is the best means of getting a measured dose and identifiable species of bacteria. But you can also take them naturally by consuming fermented foods.
What are fermented foods?
Fermented foods are preserved using an age-old process that not only boosts the food’s shelf life and nutritional value, but can give your body a dose of healthy probiotics.
Good examples are: Natural yogurt, Sauerkraut (fermented cabbage), Kimchi (Korean fermented vegetables and spices), Tempeh (which is made from fermented soy beans), Kefir (a Russian inspired fermented dairy drink) and Kombucha.
Generally, the benefits of including fermented foods into your diet should be noticeable within 2-4 weeks, when the probiotic strains have colonized the gastrointestinal tract.
As you see, the solution is pretty simple. Implementing these six steps, you can improve your gut health today. No miracle cure, no expansive treatment. Changing your habits is not easy, but it will get you on track to cleansing, nourishing and healing your body.
Do you have any questions or further tips? Feel free to leave us a comment below!
Interested in learning more about gut health and a balanced diet?
Check out our articles on going vegan or the healthy yoga diet!