How To Improve Gut Health Naturally
The proper digestion of the food we intake is very essential for the healthy functioning of our body. Moreover, good digestion is the work of trillions of good bacteria present in our gut. This group of microbes helping in the assimilation of food are known as the gut microbiome or gut microbiota.
Studies have shown a link between gut health and mental health, mood, immune system, sleep, skin conditions, and even cancer. Therefore, one must learn to control the factors responsible for the disruption of microbial numbers in the gut.
Some factors such as stress, bad diet, sleep issues, gut microflora disrupting medicines, vitamin deficiencies, and infections are found to be responsible for the same.
Hence, it becomes mandatory to understand ‘how to improve gut health naturally, so that some common issues like gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps can be avoided. Furthermore, a healthy gut will help you enjoy equally good mental health leading to more energy, better decision making, and happier life.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO HAVE A HEALTHY GUT
A) GUT-BRAIN AXIS
Gut-brain axis is the inbuilt communication system between the gut and brain. The scientific facts prove that the microbiota in the gut speaks to the neurons in the brain via the vagus nerve. Thus, the gut microbiome can affect your mood, or you can say that your mood can affect the functioning of your gut.
The chemicals called neurotransmitters that are produced in the brain convey messages between your gut and brain. Thus, they are said to control your feelings and emotions.
Although, it is shocking to know that 95% of some neurotransmitters like serotonin or happy hormones are produced in the gut. Another hormone i.e., gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), that controls the feelings of fear and anxiety, is also produced in your gut.
Hence, your gut and brain work simultaneously, helping your body function appropriately, thus, keeping you happy,
B) GUT HEALTH AND IMMUNITY
About 70% of immunity is said to be found in your gut. Therefore, ensuring that your digestive system works optimally and you enjoy good immune health becomes important.
A poorly functioning gut can easily catch a cold, flu, and viruses. When these pathogens attack your digestive tract you will have few healthy microbes to fight against them. Consequently, your immune system will be compromised, deteriorating your overall health.
Hence, understanding how to improve gut health naturally will also help you improve your immunity.
HOW TO IMPROVE GUT HEALTH NATURALLY
Diversifying and regularizing your diet will help in the flourishing of your gut flora. One must include a wide variety of foods in their diet plan and help the system digest the food properly. Some of the vital foods good for your gut are:
1) HIGH-FIBER FOODS
Fiber is found in plant-based foods and is further classified as soluble and insoluble.
Both types improve your gut health by assisting in digestion and preventing problems like constipation.
Consuming fiber-rich foods also protect you from gaining excessive weight and prevents you from falling prey to chronic disease conditions. Fibrous foods can protect you from some common chronic diseases such as heart diseases, type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and some types of cancer.
- Some good sources of fiber are:
- Dried peas, lentils, beans
- Bran(oats, wheat)
- Whole grain foods like whole grain bread
- Dried fruits e.g.,, prunes, raisins
- Fresh fruits like apples and pear with skin, all types of berries
- Seeds and nuts
- Vegetables like broccoli, potatoes, green peas, sweet potatoes with skin
Probiotics are living microorganisms that are similar to the health-promoting microbes found in our gut. Some common bacterial groups found in probiotic foods are lactobacillus and bifidobacterium.
Probiotic foods are prepared by adding microbes to food or allowing the process of fermentation to take place.
- Some common sources of probiotics are:
- Fermented milk like kefir
- Fermented soy foods like miso
- Fermented tea drinks like kombucha
- Fermented vegetables like kimchi
In some individuals with health-related issues, dietary supplements with probiotics may also be required. But these must be taken with the doctor’s advice only.
Including plenty of probiotics in your diet is not enough. One needs to eat foods to feed these live microorganisms also. These types of foods are called prebiotics and thus help in the multiplication of the beneficial microbes.
Some common sources of prebiotics are:
4) SYNBIOTIC FOODS
Symbiotic foods are the combination of prebiotic and probiotic foods taken in a single meal. For example:
- Banana smoothie made with yogurt
- Stir fry made with asparagus and garlic
- Yogurt taken with blueberries
Your meal will be more beneficial if you add high-fiber ingredients like nuts, seeds, vegetables, and fruits.
5) ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FOODS
Inflammation can occur as a result of some infections. Although, at times, inflammation may also be seen due to an increase in the level of inflammatory chemicals like cytokines.
Anti-inflammatory foods containing nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids should be consumed. Some sources of these types of foods are:
- Fatty fish like salmon
- Fruits like berries and grapes
- Vegetables like broccoli, tomatoes, peppers
- Flax seeds
B) EXERCISE DAILY
There are many exercises that can aid in digestion and help cut down belly fat too. Thus, exercising regularly proves helpful for your gut microbiota to thrive. It accelerates the process of assimilation of food. Physical activity of the body will also help you get rid of the problems like bloating and gas.
Some common exercises are:
1) Brisk walking
4) Breathing exercises
5) Yoga like boat pose, child’s pose, triangle pose, etc.
C) IMPROVE SLEEP PATTERN
Understanding how to improve gut health naturally can surely augment our gut health and overall health. However, there is one unknown fact that also has a great impact on our digestion, and that is our sleeping pattern.
Although a direct connection between our sleep and gut health has not been established,, it affects our digestion secondarily. Lack of sleep increases stress which further affects our gut.
The person has to deal with problems related to the gut like bloating, inflammation, stomach pains, food sensitivities, and, in some cases, change of the gut microbiome.
Fasting is said to reset your gut at the cellular level. When we practice fasting for an extended period of time, it helps our gut in a number of ways.
- Fasting can quickly heal our gut
- It can balance the microbiome
- It can improve digestion
- Fasting helps overcome health problems like obesity, malfunctioning metabolism, poor sleep, etc.
FACTORS TO BE AVOIDED FOR A GOOD GUT HEALTH
- Lowering the intake of sugar, artificial sweeteners, saturated fats, and processed foods.
- Alcohol and smoking must be avoided. They contribute to the depletion of bacteria in the gut and contribute to many common disorders like heartburn, gastroesophageal reflux disease, peptic ulcers, and some liver diseases.
- Avoid stress. Stress leads to the slowing down of the stomach but increases motor function in the large intestine. Therefore, stomach ache, indigestion, heartburn, and nausea will be accompanied by bowel urgency or diarrhoea.
- Avoid taking antibiotics unnecessarily.
Learning about the facts on how to improve gut health naturally gives us the chance to improve our overall health. Thus, bringing a little change in your diet and lifestyle will yield a healthy and happy life. For more information, download the JOYSCORE APP and enjoy a joyful life.
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