5 Of The Best Ways To Maintain Gut Health
How Can We Improve Our Gut Health And Maintain a Balanced Gut Microbiome?
Throughout the last decade, the medical community has been increasingly focused on the amazing complexity of the gut and its crucial significance to our overall health. The interest in this topic is steadily growing.
Multiple studies conducted in the past decades have shown undeniable links between gut health and the immune system. Gut health is also connected to mood, how we feel and think, and how our body responds to autoimmune diseases, endocrine disorders, skin conditions, and cancer.
In the past, the human digestive system was assumed as “just” another body system, composed basically of one long tube for our food to pass through, be stripped of nutrients, and then discharged.
This view of our gut and gut microbiome is, luckily, changing.
What Exactly Is “Gut Microbiome”?
The term “gut microbiome” refers precisely to the microorganisms living in our gut. We have up to 500 different species of bacteria in our digestive system. While some microorganisms can be detrimental to our health, many are proven to be quite useful and even essential to maintaining the health of our bodies.
There are about 40 trillion bacteria in an average human body and most of them reside in our gut.
Collectively, these bacterial colonies are what we call “the gut microbiome”. Nonetheless, some types of bacteria in our intestines can also cause numerous diseases.
Many aspects, including the foods we consume, can affect the type of bacteria located in our digestive system.
In the human gut, good bacteria perform more tasks than just help with our digestion. They help keep our bad bacteria at tolerable levels. They reproduce so much and consume so much space and nutrients, that the harmful kind of bacteria doesn't have an environment to thrive.
When we have a healthy balance of bacteria in our gut, we call that state the equilibrium.
What Can We Do To Achieve Gut Equilibrium, And Preserve Gut Health
- Eat Fiber-Rich and Probiotic-Packed Foods
Fiber is a plant-based nutrient that lowers the risk of metabolic illnesses by promoting the development and variety of good bacteria in the gut. Sweet potatoes, oats, nuts, sprouts, carrots, spinach, and beets are full of naturally gut-enhancing fiber.
Fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, and kombucha are also known for their gut-boosting capabilities, due to the abundance of probiotics they contain. Yogurt especially can help calm gastrointestinal infections, inflammatory bowel disease, and constipation. One study found that people who consume yogurt regularly have more Lactobacillus, a gut-benefitting bacteria, in their gut, and also fewer enterobacterium, a variety of bacteria correlated with inflammation.
- Consider taking some supplements
Probiotic supplements have become very popular as knowledge of the essence of gut health continues to spread. Probiotic supplements for sure aren’t a cure-all for gut health, but there is some scientific evidence that they can provide the microbiota a necessary boost and restore gut health.
Your physician may also suggest a probiotic supplement if you’re prescribed antibiotic therapy. Research indicates that this can aid in preventing diarrhea commonly associated with taking antibiotics.
If you’re interested in a probiotic supplement, you should consult your medic. While such supplements have a history of obviously safe use, particularly in healthy people, the risk of detrimental effects is higher in people with somehow compromised immunity.
- Exercise as often as you can
Exercise is a medicine in its own right. In studies done on both animal and human subjects, scientists have discovered that exercise promotes an increase in the variety of healthy bacteria in the gut.
Several analyses emphasize the roles that regular exercise and a controlled diet can play together in positively affecting gut health, a 2019 review specifically noted that workout has the potential to change gut bacteria composition. What’s even more amazing, is that this is true even independently of diet!
- Stop drinking alcohol
Drinking too much may negatively impact your microbiome, too. Repeated alcohol use is linked to gastritis, an irritation of the gut in which it becomes inflamed. Such inflammation can lead to heartburn, chronic discomfort, ulcers, and bacterial infections.
Drinking too much is also associated with intestinal inflammation, which is a sign of an unhealthy gut. Research suggests that this kind of inflammation alters the microbiota and can throw it off balance.
- Consume bone broth
Bone broth, sometimes referred to as “stock”, is a liquid produced by boiling bones. Chefs all over the world use stock as a base for soups, sauces, and gravies. Some people even drink it on its own.
Broth and soups based on bone broth can help you feel full despite their low-calorie content, making it an excellent choice for people trying to stick to a weight loss diet plan.
The high water content in bone broth helps you stay hydrated.
Research suggests anxiety and depression are affected by the gut and vice versa. They can raise the risk of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and people with IBS are at higher risk to have these mental health disorders.
The human gut is a far more intricate mechanism than formerly believed. It has a massive effect on our overall body health. A healthy gut promotes a strong immune system, improved mood, healthy heart, brain health, and effective digestion. There are a number of lifestyle changes you can make to positively influence your gut health. So, the good news is: that we can significantly contribute to gut health through our dietary choices!