If you want to naturally improve the health of your gut there are several things you can do. There are also several things that you can avoid doing!
How Can I Naturally Improve My Gut Health?
So you want to improve your gut health naturally and are wondering where to start?
The fact that you have sought out an article like this one suggests you probably already know there’s more to it than eating a few pots of probiotic yogurt.
Indeed there is. Your gut is home to trillions of different types of bacteria. You may be surprised to learn it also contains fungi. All of these things combine to form your gut microbiome.
Bacteria are generally thought of as being something bad. Something that can make us ill. This is not always the case
However, although that is true for a lot of bacteria, some bacteria is good. It works with the body instead of against it. Probiotic bacteria, or gut flora, belongs to the latter category.
Probiotic bacteria support good health in a lot of ways. One of the things it does is reinforce the gut barrier that prevents harmful bacteria from entering the blood.
It also manufactures useful nutrients like Vitamin K.
However, one of the most important things probiotic bacteria do is control levels of harmful bacteria and prevent them from reaching unhealthy levels.
When diet, lifestyle choices, or other factors cause the system to break down, the bad bacteria increases, causing inflammation and disease.
There are many things you can do to support your probiotic bacteria and improve your gut health naturally. Let’s take a look at that now.
4 Things You Can Do to Improve Gut Health Naturally
1. Give your Probiotic Bacteria a Top-Up
Consuming probiotic food and supplements (such as Complete Probiotics Platinum) is one of the most obvious ways you can improve your gut health naturally. They give you a top-up by providing live probiotic bacteria.
When people think about probiotic food, probiotic yogurts are often the first thing that comes to mind.
The truth is, any yogurt that contains live bacteria provides the beneficial kind whether it says “probiotic” on the pot or not.
Many foods are natural sources of probiotic bacteria too. Sauerkraut is a good example. Apart from being high in nutrients and dietary fiber, it provides probiotic bacteria as well. So do certain pickled products and most types of sourdough bread.
2. Eat More Prebiotic Foods
Like any other living organism, gut bacteria need food. The good type feeds on prebiotic fiber. This is present in certain foods. You can get it by taking prebiotic supplements too.
There is often confusion with many people not au fait with the differences between probiotics and prebiotics.
Put in simplistic terms probiotics are beneficial bacteria that live in your gut. Whereas Prebiotics refers to a type of indigestible fiber you get from certain foods.
Foods that are good sources of prebiotic bacteria include:
- Jerusalem artichokes
Feeding your good bacteria with prebiotic fiber helps it to multiply in your gut and attain/retain maximum strength.
Increasing your intake of prebiotic fiber is an excellent way to naturally improve your gut health.
However, when you have been using antibiotics, the medication may have killed a lot of your probiotic bacteria. At times like this, prebiotics may offer less benefit. There will be fewer good bacteria to feed so you may need to top-up your probiotic bacteria levels as well.
3. Keep Active
It’s not just what you put into your body, external factors can affect your digestive health as well. Believe it or not, exercise is one of them.
Research shows people who lead sedentary lives have a less diverse gut microbiome.
Does that mean good gut health is something only top athletes can enjoy?
Absolutely not. There are many things you can do to increase your levels of physical activity.
Furthermore, you don’t need to go to aerobics classes, do Zumba, or head for the gym. Although all of these options are incredibly good.
Walking is a very good way to get extra exercise and it’s an athletic pursuit that’s totally free. Take the stairs, instead of the lift.
Walk instead of going by bus. Take a few leisurely evening strolls. It will be good for you and your gut microbiome.
4. Get Enough Sleep
Lack of sleep can play havoc with your gut health. The human body has an inbuilt clock called the circadian rhythm.
It has a 24/7 schedule that determines important biological functions. Sleep is one of them. Digestion is another.
The microbes in your gut work to a set schedule. When you don’t get enough sleep, it can cause unnecessary turmoil that may disrupt digestion and have a negative impact on health.
It’s also worth remembering digestion is a complex activity. It can be quite abrasive. When you are asleep it gives your digestive system a break. That’s one of the reasons why it’s so bad to eat large meals just before going to sleep.
Certain good bacteria, like Akkermansia muciniphila, help reinforce the gut lining. They do most of this work at the times when they are not being fed.
6 Things You Need to Avoid to Improve Your Gut Health Naturally
Stress isn’t good. Apart from being bad for the body and mind, it’s also not good for the health of your gut.
When you are feeling stressed, it has a negative influence on many organs and your gut microbiome can feel it too. When stress levels go up, levels of Lactobacillus and other good bacteria can go down.
The best course of action is to avoid stressful situations and stress-causing people. That’s not always easy but meditation, yoga, and similar pursuits are good ways to get your stress levels under control. Getting more exercise can help as well.
2. Sugar and Artificial Sweeteners
When it comes to gut health, sugar could be seen as the evil nemesis of prebiotic fiber because it feeds up the bad bacteria and helps it to breed.
Refined sugar and foods that contain it can upset your gut health and interfere with energy metabolism.
The best course of action is to avoid foods that are full of sugar. However, if you have a sweet tooth, artificial sweeteners aren’t the answer.
Some studies show they may actually increase blood sugar and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Alcohol is another substance that can wreak havoc with your gut microbiome. It can have a negative effect on the protective coating that lines the intestines.
It also influences the speed of food as it travels through the digestive tract.
More importantly, alcohol can oppose the benefits probiotic bacteria provide by increasing the levels of bad bacteria sufficiently to throw the gut microbiome out of whack.
Snacking is also one of the things that help keep so many people in an overweight state.
Snacking! Some people do it and others don’t. A good way to improve your gut health naturally is to become of the people who don’t.
Eating triggers an immune response known as postprandial inflammation. It’s normal, so no worries there.
However, eating snacks between meals extends the inflammatory state. This is not good for your digestive organs. Snacking is also one of the things that help keep so many people in an overweight state.
5. NSAIDs (Painkillers)
NSAIDs (non-steroidal, anti-inflammatories), such as ibuprofen, have the potential to upset the stomach and alter the gut microbiome.
People take NSAIDs for many reasons and they can be very good for controlling things like toothache and period pain.
Unfortunately, NSAIDs can also harm the gut lining, and extended or overuse of this type of medication may lead to inflammation of the intestines and, in some cases, bleeding as well.
Taking laxatives is a good way to remedy constipation but it can also disturb your normal intestinal rhythm. Laxatives may cause you to lose probiotic bacteria as well.
Poor diet is one of the main causes of constipation. A lot of people don’t eat enough fiber. Getting more exercise can help keep you “regular” as well.
So instead of using laxatives, why not try eating more fiber. Especially the probiotic kind. Doing so is one of the best ways to naturally relieve constipation and will improve your overall gut health as well.
How Can I Improve My Gut Health Naturally? – Summary
You began reading this article because you wanted to know how to improve your gut health naturally.
Unless you have skipped much of the content, you should have the information you need.
Perhaps you are already doing a lot of things right. Maybe you are also getting a few things wrong.
Either way, you will now be able to make positive changes and put together your own gut health battle plan.
As you may have already noticed, trying to live clean and enjoy a healthy lifestyle is a big step in the right direction.
Getting plenty of exercise, not starving your body of sleep, and eating nutritious foods that are low in fat and sugar isn’t just a good way to improve your gut health, though.
These things can improve your level of fitness, help keep you slim, and enrich your life in numerous ways.