5 ways to improve your gut health today!
Gut health is a hot topic these days, and there’s plenty of money to be made from those looking for ways on how they can boost their gut microbiome. From probiotics supplements or bone broth drinkables; it seems like everyone wants some “gut-friendly” food advice and there’s more than enough ‘gut health guru’s’ to help. The only problem I have with all this? Differentiating between what is fact and fiction and identifying practical steps we can be taking to improve gut health because the truth is, we don’t yet know a lot about the gut microbiome and there is so much more to learn. No doubt we will see huge advancements in this area of science in the future but as it stands here is what we know.
What is the gut microbiome?
The human body is home to a vast community of microbes, known as the microbiota. The microbiome refers to all genes within these organisms and can be found in most parts of your gastrointestinal tract (aka ‘the gut’). It mainly consists of bacteria, viruses, fungi or other microscopic life forms that live on our skin- oral cavity included! Microbes perform many important functions in our bodies, including one that is just recently being discovered: regulating the immune system and reducing risks for allergic diseases. Recent studies have shown how these microbes also contribute to brain health by providing essential nutrients like B vitamins which help with memory retention or boosting serotonin production (a hormone associated primarily with feelings such as happiness).
Research suggests good gut bacteria may regulate other parts of your body’s systems like hormones.
What makes our gut microbiome unique?
The research of the human internal ecosystem, otherwise referred to as “the microbe” or simply microbes has only recently begun. Our bodies contain thousands upon millions of cells that are home to these little creatures – but how do they affect us personally and what does this mean for future prospects in terms of health & wellness?? There’s no current consensus yet about what exactly constitutes an ideal profile when it comes down…
When things go wrong…
The alteration or imbalance of your gut microbiome can result from any number of reasons including poor diet, antibiotics stress and even a lack in physical activity. This dysbiosis has been linked to many health problems such as irritable bowel disease (IBS) which causes abdominal pain accompanied by diarrhea or constipation or even Crohn’s Disease. So, with that said, it’s important to look after your gut health. But that doesn’t mean going out and buying every naturopathic herb under the sun. In fact, there’s a lot we can do without any supplements.
My top 5 evidence-based tips to improving your gut health
Tip #1 – Include pre and probiotics in your diet
Probiotics are live microorganisms (bacteria or yeast) that we can find in some foods. When these bugs grow and interact with our bodies, they help keep us healthy by improving digestion functions or boosting immunity while also reducing inflammation levels when consumed regularly enough! A prebiotic on the other hand is fibre found mostly in vegetables like legumes, beans etc., which promotes gut health through helping create more natural bacteria habitats where good vibes reside too – kind of like how your favourite animal might hang out at home before going off into adventures around town.
Examples of probiotics include:
- Fermented foods
Examples of prebiotics:
- Wholegrain cereals and bread
- Legumes such as lentils and chickpeas
Tip #2 – Eat a plant based diet that is high in fibre
You can take all the gut health tonics, powders and pills that you want but nothing quite moves the needle like having a fibre rich diet with plant foods.
Tip #3 – Limit alcohol
Chronic alcohol consumption has been shown to result in gut dysbiosis. This affects your ability to keep fit and healthy by making you more susceptible towards illness, while also increasing inflammation levels – something we don’t need! So limit yourself only on days where it’s planned activities like dinner with friends.
Tip #4 – Reduce stress
We all know how stressful it is to have an important deadline or event coming up. But did you also realise that chronic stress can affect our gut health? The body prioritises pumping blood toward major organs like the heart and toward muscles (to assist with flight or fight during periods of high-stress because they need more nutrients than other areas in order for survival. So, when we’re stressed out those areas get priority over everything else including digesting food!
Makes sense right?!
Tip #5 – Exercise often
Exercise is a great way for people who lead active lifestyles to maintain their health. It can help reduce inflammation and increase productivity of certain vitamins, minerals or other nutrients.
So what does this all mean for gut health and the microbiome? It means that we are only just beginning to understand the complex relationship between our guts and overall health. The good news is that there are many ways to improve gut health, including eating a healthy diet, taking probiotics, and getting regular exercise. And who knows – maybe someday scientists will find a way to manipulate the microbiome to treat conditions like obesity and diabetes. In the meantime, it’s important to focus on maintaining a healthy gut by following these simple tips.
Yours in health,