It’s often thought that good gut health is the basis for better overall health and that when we care for our gut and digestion, we give our body the tools that it needs to stay strong and healthy. Put simply, good gut health is about balance. There are tiny bacteria and microbes in our digestive system, which must remain balanced for excellent gut health. If we eat too much, or too little of certain things, this balance can be thrown off, which can cause issues with digestion, but also other symptoms such as a lack of energy and low mood. Other lifestyle habits can also affect this balance and play a part in keeping our guts healthy. Here are some things that you need to do to keep your gut balanced and improve its health.
Whenever we have any digestive issues, whether it’s a short-term tummy ache, constipation, or more long-lasting issues, one of the first things we’re asked is if there’s plenty of fiber in our diet. A diet rich in fiber is associated with good digestion and a healthy gut. Not enough fiber is the first thing that we think of when things aren’t running as smoothly.
Fiber stimulates the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut and is essential to good gut health. Foods naturally high in fiber include fruit, veg, and whole grains.
Probiotics are great for our gut health. They are typically found in yogurts, fermented dairy products, and other fermented foods and drinks such as kombucha and kimchi, but many people choose to take a supplement if their diets don’t contain much of these foods.
Some people also take prebiotics, which have their own range of benefits and can improve the effectiveness of probiotics on our gut health. But it is important to note that probiotics and prebiotics aren’t recommended for everyone (people with chronic health conditions affecting their guts, for example), and while some people can take one, they shouldn’t take the other. Learn more about understanding probiotics vs. prebiotics and speak to a healthcare professional about your specific needs.
Eat a Varied Diet
Your gut is home to hundreds of different species of bacteria. In theory, the more good bacteria that are present, the more benefits your gut will enjoy. Eating a varied diet with a wide range of fruits, vegetables, meat, pulses, beans, and legumes gives you access to a much greater range of healthy bacteria and other essential nutrients to keep your gut healthy.
Movement and diet work together in so many different ways to keep us strong, healthy, and happy. Exercise helps us to maintain a healthy weight and some studies show that it can, even independently of diet, change the composition of the bacteria in our gut, helping to stimulate growth and diversity.
Exercising and moving your body also works by massaging your organs, improving circulation and rhythm, which can be especially beneficial in your gut.
Reduce Alcohol Consumption
Too much alcohol, like too much fatty food, can lead to irritation in the gut, causing symptoms like stomach aches, viruses, bacterial infections, ulcers, heartburn, and bloating. Try to reduce your alcohol intake if you have these symptoms regularly, and make sure you are drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated and clear toxins.
Other lifestyle changes, like sleeping more, and finding ways to reduce your stress levels can also help to improve your gut health. If you have any symptoms, such as constipation, stomach aches, regular heartburn, or gassiness, take a look at your diet, and ask yourself if there are things that you could do to improve things.