Do you ever wonder how your gut affects your health? According to studies, gut health plays an essential role in our overall health. Improving your gut might benefit many other parts of your body. Read this article to learn how to improve gut health in 9 simple ways.
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Our knowledge about the functions of the human gut microbiota has grown significantly over the last decade. The gut microbiota, therefore, has become a part of improving health. So, what is gut microbiota, and why is gut health so important?
5 Signs of an Unhealthy Gut
Gut flora (or gut microbiota) is a complex ecological system that develops in the intestines. It is the most significant reservoir of microorganisms. Plus, it comprises a complex of microorganism species that live in the intestinal tracts of animals. Changes in the gut flora might be the cause of several diseases.
So, we can say that gut health plays a vital role in a human’s overall health. A healthy gut ensures the regular operation of several body parts, from the immune system to the digestive system. In contrast, an unhealthy gut contributes to many health problems such as skin issues, hormonal imbalance, anxiety, and diabetes.
There are different signs to look for in an unhealthy gut. Let’s discuss a few in further detail.
The most noticeable sign of an unhealthy gut might be an upset stomach. An imbalanced gut might cause gas, bloating, heartburn, constipation, or diarrhea. Even though gas is a normal byproduct of our bodies’ fermentation and digestion, an unhealthy gut might cause excessive gas. Bloating and heartburn might occur if gas is trapped in the gut. On the other hand, diarrhea can worsen your gut health by expelling the healthy bacteria in your stomach.
Have you recently noticed that your weight has changed without you changing your diet? That could be another sign of an unhealthy gut. One of the most prevalent indicators of intestinal imbalance is unintentional weight gain or loss. Your body will be unable to absorb nutrients if your gut is not functioning correctly. It will also prevent your body from accumulating fat and controlling blood sugar. As a result, you may overeat to compensate for the nutrients you’ve lost.
Poor Sleep Quality
Researchers believe that serotonin has a function in sleep modulation. Serotonin is necessary for initiating and maintaining behavioral sleep. The digestive tract, surprisingly, produces approximately 90% of the body’s serotonin. Consequently, an unhealthy gut might cause sleep problems such as poor sleep quality or even insomnia.
A recent study showed that people with eczema might have an unhealthy gut. Eczema symptoms could improve by adjusting the gut bacteria or reducing gut inflammation. Probiotics, which are living microorganisms such as Lactobacillus bacteria found in milk and yogurt, may help.
Food Intolerances or Sensitivities
Depletion of protective bacterial strains with good metabolic activity in the gut microbiota may influence the risk of having food sensitivities. It causes symptoms such as bloating and stomach aches. Therefore, people with food intolerances have difficulty digesting certain foods.
9 Ways to Improve Gut Health
Have you just noticed that you have one of the signs mentioned above? Suffering from an unhealthy gut might be a bad experience for anybody. However, there are many ways to improve your condition. Here are the nine ways for how to improve gut health:
Research has shown that stress and depression can affect the gut bacteria’s composition. Therefore, reducing stress is one of the ways to improve our gut health. Some ways to relieve stress include listening to music, drinking tea, exercising, meditation, and reducing caffeine intake.
Extra salty foods might contribute to bloating. Try reducing the salt intake or replacing salt with other alternatives.
Carbonated drinks also cause bloating. When you drink something carbonated, you consume a large amount of CO2 gas, which gets trapped in your digestive system. Consider cutting down on the amount of soda or even eliminating it.
Get Sufficient Sleep
So we already know that poor sleep is a sign of an unhealthy gut. Getting sufficient hours of sleep can improve your gut health. Average adults should have at least 7 hours of good-quality sleep each night.
Dehydration is one of the reasons that cause constipation. If you don’t drink enough water, your body will absorb fluid from your large intestine, making your stools stiff and hard to pass. Try to take in sufficient amounts of fluid, which ranges from 2.7 liters for women to 3.7 liters for men, according to The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
Reduce Food Portions
You can eat smaller portions if you’re used to eating large meals and feel bloated afterward. Chewing your food thoroughly can also benefit you by minimizing the amount of air you swallow with your food, which is one cause of bloating.
Eat Various Kinds of Food
Dietary diversity contributes to a healthy gastrointestinal microbiome. Therefore, aim to consume a wide variety of foods. Diversified diets consist of nutrient-rich food sources, such as animal source foods, fruits, vegetables, and beans.
Check if You Have Food Intolerances or Sensitivities
Suppose you have symptoms of food intolerances or sensitivities such as cramping, bloating, diarrhea, or nausea after eating a certain kind of food. In that case, you might consider leaving that food out of your diet.
Take Probiotic Supplements
The last thing you can do to improve your gut health is taking probiotic supplements.
Probiotics are living microorganisms found in some foods and supplements. Probiotics supplements are generally safe to consume and have a positive impact on our health. Therefore, if you can’t take adequate probiotics through foods, you can consume gut health supplements. There are six common strains of probiotics that supplements can provide:
- B. animalis
- B. breve
- B. lactis
- B. longum
- L. acidophilus
- L. reuteri
Always consult with a healthcare professional before consuming supplements to know the best probiotic for your gut health.
RELATED: How to Treat A Leaky Gut With Food And Supplements
7 Foods That Improve Gut Health
In addition to the things you can do to improve your gut health, you can change your diet by consuming these foods. Food that is known to improve gut health include:
- Fruit that stimulates stomach acid production, such as pineapple
- High-fiber vegetables such as asparagus and broccoli
- Whole-grain foods like brown rice and oatmeal
- Garlic, onion, and ginger
- Fermented foods such as kimchi, yogurt, kefir, kombucha, and apple cider vinegar
- Collagen-boosting foods such as bone broth
- Foods rich in polyphenols such as cocoa and dark chocolate, red wine, grape skins, green tea, almonds
Now you know how to improve gut health in just some simple ways. Keeping your gut healthy and balanced is essential for your digestive system and many other aspects of your health.
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