The gut is more important to one’s health than many people think. It is home to 100 trillion microbes, both friendly and harmful, collectively called the microbiome or gut flora. The friendly bacteria play a crucial role in maintaining your overall health, ensuring your body stays functional and healthy. They support your digestion, nutritional status, energy levels, immune function, and even how you feel.
On the other hand, other microorganisms like harmful bacteria and yeast can negatively impact your health, particularly when they’re imbalanced. If you’ve been hoping to restore your gut health due to address several health issues, changing your lifestyle is a sustainable way to do it. Here are five ways to improve your gut health:
- Take Probiotics Every Day
According to the World Health Organization, probiotics are “live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.” That means probiotics help your gut break down the nutrients in what you eat, giving your body the nourishment it needs. It also supports your immune system and a healthy metabolism since your gut microbiome needs plenty of beneficial bacteria, like probiotic strains and colonies, to perform these functions. If your gut microbiome has been upset, an excellent way to restore balance is to take a probiotic supplement.
- Eat A Prebiotic-Rich Diet
Apart from probiotics, you’ll also have to increase your intake of prebiotic foods, a non-digestible fiber that the gut cannot break down. They go through your small intestine without being digested and move into your large colon, where it undergoes a fermentation process. They act as the ‘food’ of your colon’s bacteria, giving them what they need to thrive.
Prebiotic foods consist of fruits and vegetables like apples, garlic, asparagus, onions, and Jerusalem artichoke. Incorporate some of these into your diet every day for a healthy microbiome.
- Lower Your Sugar Consumption
Although sugary foods are one of the tastiest, most indulgent treats in the world, they can be bad for your health when consumed in excess. Sugar fuels yeasts and other similar pathogens, giving them the nutrients they need to grow and multiply, harming the good bacteria in your gut. When the harmful bacteria or yeast start to outnumber the bad bacteria, your gut will have a more difficult time breaking down the nutrients in the food you eat, causing you to miss the vitamins and minerals you’ve been dutifully taking. You may experience symptoms of poor digestion, develop irritable bowel syndrome, and be more susceptible to getting sick with a cold or the flu.
- Exercise Regularly
Frequent exercise does more than help you stay in shape and keep the excess weight at bay; it also stimulates your heart and makes it pump faster, activating the lymphatic system. This system is in charge of filtering waste products and toxins from your bloodstream, accelerating your body’s detoxification process. That means your body will more efficiently eliminate toxins, waste, and other hazardous substances, allowing your microbiome to combat invading pathogens in your gut and supporting your health.
- Drink Plenty of Water
Your body must be well-hydrated to continue functioning optimally. The recommended water intake is eight glasses a day, but most people fall short of that amount. However, making it a priority to drink lots of clean, filtered water every day will positively impact your gastrointestinal mucosal lining. It also helps flush out toxins that have gathered in your body, which can cause an imbalance in your microbiome. It also ensures that waste continuously moves through your bowels so that you can excrete them right away. Otherwise, without enough water, waste will start fermenting in your intestines, becoming a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and yeast.
Your gut affects you more than you may realize, supporting various functions that help you look and feel healthy. By making these lifestyle changes to restore your gut health, you’ll enjoy a stronger, thriving body that will easily fight off infections.
To learn more about how to improve gut health, be sure to visit us at Balanced Body Functional Medicine. We provide functional or integrative medicine that treats patients in a healthier, more holistic way than the traditional disease-drug model offered by other facilities. Call us today to schedule a consultation.