Hey there! You all must have heard of the importance of keeping your gut healthy. A healthy gut can keep your digestion smooth, and keep you away from a host of nasty diseases. Our gut houses a large microbiome filled with bacteria that aid in properly digesting the food we eat.
Some foods and habits help maintain a healthy gut microbiome, while others can destroy our gut health. Today we’ll discuss habits and practices that can help naturally improve your gut health. Let’s get started.
Stopping These Five Habits Can Improve Gut Health Naturally:
Smoking is terrible for your gut health.
Some habits and certain lifestyle choices can be detrimental to our overall digestive health, and certain habits create a lot of bacteria in our gut, such as smoking. Smoking is a killer habit that can cause several disorders ranging from heart attacks to strokes to lung disease and cancer.
Smoking is especially bad for our gut microbiome as it destroys gut flora. Smoking causes several gut disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease, a condition where the intestines are inflamed, hindering digestion. The best way to improve gut flora and restore your gut health is to quit smoking immediately.
Watch your alcohol intake.
Alcohol consumption, especially excessive consumption, can be harmful to your gut. Alcohol is an intoxicant, which, when consumed excessively can lead to a person losing their sense of time and place, sometimes even passing out.
Consumption of alcohol in excess is harmful to our bodies, and it affects our liver and gut health by causing inflammation. Alcohol abuse causes diseases such as stroke, heart attacks, and even dementia over a long period.
However, alcohol in moderation and the consumption of certain types of alcohol, such as red wine, can surprisingly promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria and prevent the development of harmful gut bacteria such as clostridium.
The benefits of red wine on gut health are from the presence of polyphenols in it. Polyphenols are beneficial to gut health as they do not break down during digestion but are broken down by the gut bacteria, making them valuable for their proliferation.
Alcohol stands in the gray area as excess is bad for the gut and overall health, but some types of alcohol in moderation can be very beneficial for our gut health.
Not having diversity in your diet is terrible for your gut.
A balanced and diverse diet is necessary if we need to promote our gut health. Not having a wide range of foods and limiting one’s diet to only processed and sugar-rich foods can significantly damage your gut flora and cause obesity.
Dietary diversity is needed to maintain a proper gut microbiome. Typically, fiber-rich whole grains, legumes, leafy greens, and probiotic foods like yogurt go a long way in improving the gut health of its consumers. But the present diet of most people consists only of minimal plant and animal proteins.
A study reveals that a whopping 75% of the American diet comes from just a few sources of proteins and vegetables. This deprivation in the diet can lead to horrible consequences for the gut bacteria, and the only way to remedy this issue is by eating more wholesome foods and keeping away from processed foods as much as possible.
Antibiotic abuse prevents a healthy gut.
Antibiotics are life-saving medications that have an essential place in our civilization. They frequently treat several ailments, from a sore throat to life-threatening illnesses.
Antibiotics work by creating antibodies that destroy both the harmful and helpful microbiota in the body or inhibit their reproduction and spread across the body. Regardless of how useful an antibiotic is, even a single course of treatment can result in the gut microbiota being affected by it.
Sometimes, antibiotic use can increase the number of harmful bacteria like clostridium and reduce the number of good bacteria like lactobacilli.
Gut flora is consistently affected by antibiotics. Even though the number of good bacteria bounces back within a few weeks after treatment, they do not reach back to normal levels within the gut.
Sometimes the effects of antibiotic use can last up to two years, even if the use was only short-term. So after every antibiotic use, we must take the necessary steps to ensure that our gut flora returns to normal.
Also, it is best to avoid unnecessary antibiotic consumption for every condition and only take it when a doctor prescribes it.
Reduce stress to improve gut health.
Excess stress is another major killer of gut microbiota. A stressed body can lead to decreased blood flow to the gut, which can kill most of the bacteria in the gut and invariably alter the gut microbiota for the worse.
Studies on mice show how increased stress can lead to a proportionate decrease of good gut bacteria and an increase in bad ones like clostridium.
Studies on humans have shown a substantial decrease in the level of good bacteria like lactobacilli with excessive stress levels.
So reducing stress can contribute to an increase in good gut bacteria. Try stress-relieving exercises or yoga for the best results!
Several studies stress the importance of good gut flora. Here are some ways in which you can improve your gut.
Probiotics = a healthy gut
Perhaps the easiest and the most efficient way to improve gut health is by incorporating probiotics to your diet. Probiotic foods contain added bacteria that are beneficial for your gut health.
Probiotics help with metabolism but do not colonize your gut and need to be consumed regularly for the best results. Add them to your daily diet through foods like kefir, yogurt or kimchi, or probiotic supplements after consulting your physician.
Eat fruits, vegetables, and legumes.
Fruits, vegetables, and legumes are fiber-rich foods.Consuming fiber-rich foods leads to an increase in the number of beneficial gut bacteria.
Studies show that a diet rich in fruits can prevent the growth of disease-causing bacteria in humans. Studies also attest that foods like almonds, apples, and pistachios have increased the levels of helpful gut bacteria that prevent inflammation.
Foods that are good for maintaining a healthy gut flora include.
- Whole Grains
- Green Peas
Prebiotics are a must.
Prebiotic foods promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria. They are foods that break down through the bacteria in our gut.
Prebiotics are beneficial for the prevention of certain disorders such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Prebiotic foods are incredibly beneficial for maintaining a healthy gut and preventing diseases.
Some prebiotic foods are
Foods rich in polyphenols to keep your gut clean and robust.
Polyphenols are plant-based micronutrients digested by our gut bacteria. Polyphenols provide a host of health benefits, including a reduction in blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and inflammation, along with which they reduce oxidative stress.
For instance, dark chocolate, a food rich in polyphenols, has been shown to reduce the levels of inflammation in human beings.
Red wine is also rich in polyphenols. In moderation, red wine can do wonders to the human gut, significantly in terms of improving the number of beneficial bacteria. Try eating:
- Cocoa And Dark Chocolate
- Red Wine
- Grape Skins
- Green Tea
to improve your gut microbiota.
Eating whole grains.
Whole grains are a rich source of fiber, and fiber is essential for the microbiomes in your gut. Apart from fibers, whole grains also contain indigestible carbs, broken down by bacteria.
Studies show that consuming whole grains can increase the number of good bacteria like lactobacilli in your gut.
Studies also show that consuming whole grains, which are rich in beta-glucan (a nondigestible carbohydrate) can improve the levels of satiety, as well as reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by altering the gut microbiota.
Whole Grains are not suitable for everyone, especially those who are gluten intolerant. So check with your doctor or dietician before incorporating gluten-rich foods into your diet.
Fermented foods make your gut strong.
Fermented foods are another excellent source of healthy gut bacteria. Fermented foods are mostly complex sugars that break down into simpler sugars by yeast or bacteria.
Most fermented foods are rich in lactobacilli which are beneficial for overall gut health. Studies show that fermented foods like yogurt increase the levels of lactobacilli in the system while reducing the level of microorganisms that cause inflammation.
Yogurt also reduces symptoms of lactose intolerance in consumers. It’s best if consumers refrain from having flavored yogurts as they usually contain very unhealthy levels of added sugar.
So it’s always best to stick to the plain, unsweetened variety of yogurt. Choosing enhanced fermented foods with bacterial cultures will help consumers make the most out of their fermented foods.
Add these goodies to your diet.
Some popular fermented foods are:
Don’t hesitate to start eating foods suitable for you and try steering clear of habits that are not good for gut health, like drinking or smoking excessively.