Wondering how important your gut health to your overall health condition? While many people still don’t know the importance of improving gut health to obtain a healthier body, it’s essential to know it by now. After all, it’s simply that if you don’t have adequate knowledge about properly nourishing your body, then you can’t have a long life. This health topic is gradually gaining attention worldwide. Opportunely, the medical community working tirelessly to unravel the incredible complexity of the gut and its importance to overall health.
Gut health has been linked to numerous health aspects, which seemingly have no direct connection with digestion, from developing autoimmune diseases, emotional stress, and chronic diseases like cancer and diabetes.
Besides that, it’s also necessary to know important things about your gut health, the type of food you must ingest to help maintain a healthy GI, and the essential ways of improving your gut health.
Healthy Guts, Healthy Body
At some point in time, the digestive system was considered to be a relatively simple body system, with only the sole responsibility of digesting food and excreting waste. However, the notion about this system changes gradually, especially through the effort and works of research and the medical community.
The gastrointestinal tract (GI) plays a pivotal role in overall health. Being the primary system responsible for every digestive process in the body. The digestive tract is also responsible for converting food into nutrients and energy, absorbing minerals, and getting rid of body wastes. Additionally, the digestive tract is relatively connected to gut health, which affects everything from sleep patterns, energy levels, immune system, and stress response.
Aside from that, numerous researches and studies in the past decades show direct links between gut health and the immune system, autoimmune diseases, endocrine disorders, skin conditions, mental health, and mood.
5 Essential Ways to Improve Your Gut Health
Gut health is the balance of microorganisms that live in the digestive tract. Maintaining the right balance of these microorganisms and looking after your gut health is crucial in maintaining a healthy body.
However, many people still suffer from digestive problems and an unhealthy gut microbiome. The term ‘microbiome’ refers to the microorganisms living in your intestines. Collectively, there are about 300-500 varied species of bacteria in your digestive tract. While some of these microorganisms may be harmful to your health, many are interestingly beneficial and necessary to a healthy body.
Having an unhealthy gut microbiome may cause people to experience diarrhea, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Fortunately, there are several ways you can do to improve your gut health and they are as follow:
1. Follow A Balanced Healthy Diet
Knowing what’s going on in your gut isn’t possibly down all the time, and you don’t have to do so. As long as you’re maintaining a healthy lifestyle, following a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and getting a good night’s sleep, you’ll be able to protect your gut health just fine.
Aside from that, you must also seek professional help in cases of unpleasant symptoms to prevent acquiring maladies and diseases. You must also follow the doctor’s orders not just to obtain a healthy body, but also to benefit your microbiome.
2. Reduce Sugar Intake
Having a high sugar level due to excessive sugar intake may cause gut dysbiosis or an imbalance of gut microbes. Several types of research also show that eating a lot of sugar or artificial sweeteners may increase bacterial strains which are linked with metabolic diseases. These diseases refer to a group of conditions that increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Additionally, researchers suggested that several artificial sweeteners may negatively impact blood glucose levels due to their effects on gut flora. They also indicated that the Western diet, which is high in sugar and fat, may pose negative impacts on the gut microbiome and may influence brain activities and behavior. Excessive sugar intake may also result in frequent mood swings and irritability.
3. Manage Stress Levels
Proper stress management is crucial not just for mental health, but also for your gut health. Medical experts suggest that even short-lived psychological stressors might rattle the living microorganisms in the intestines, and harm the gut.
Some examples of psychological stressors include:
- Environmental stress (e.g., unstable weather, noise, extreme heat, and cold)
- Psychological stress
- Sleep deprivation
- A sudden turn of life events
To effectively handle stress, you may try some stress management techniques, such as progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, and deep breathing exercises. Also, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and sleeping well can reduce stress levels.
4. Take Probiotics and Select Fermented Food
Not all bacteria are considered bad for your health. For example, there are good bacteria or probiotics in your intestines like Lactobacillus. To effectively boost their beneficial bacteria, some people even take probiotic supplements, which are available online, in drug stores, and registered food stores.
Taking probiotics may significantly help support a healthy gut microbiome and prevent gut inflammation. Aside from this, people also resort to eating fermented food, which is a source of natural probiotics. Some of the fermented food which may improve gut health include:
- Fermented vegetables
5. Choose Prebiotic-Rich Food
Aside from probiotics, prebiotics may also be of great help to your gut health. While probiotics feed on non-digestible carbohydrates called prebiotics, the process significantly encourages beneficial bacteria to multiply in the gut.
Studies also suggest that to become more tolerant to a certain environmental condition like temperature changes and pH, prebiotics may help probiotics.
You may include the following prebiotic-rich food in your diet if you want to further improve your gut health:
- Whole grains
- Jerusalem artichoke
The gastrointestinal (GI) tract is crucial to human health. Aside from being responsible for transporting food from the mouth to the stomach, its primary role involves converting food into absorbable nutrients and stored energy and getting waste of the body. Similarly, maintaining healthy gut health may significantly help your overall health. To achieve this goal, you may try several helpful ways, such as follow a balanced diet, reduce sugar intake, manage stress levels, take probiotics, and select prebiotic-rich food.
Aside from that, it’s also important to always seek professional help to effectively address health issues and follow your doctor’s orders to have improved gut health.