How to Improve Gut Health Naturally
You’ve probably heard the term “gut health” and know that having good gut health is ideal, but what exactly does that mean and how can you improve it? If you thought that referencing a gut simply meant a little extra in the stomach area, think again. Gut health is referring to the microorganisms that live within your digestive tract. While that may sound like a strange focus to have for health, the truth is learning how to improve your gut health can have a noticeable impact on your physical and mental well-being.
To help you lead a healthy lifestyle, we’re talking about how to improve gut health naturally. With a few adjustments to your lifestyle, you can help yourself stay happy and healthy all year round!
Ways to Improve Gut Health
Your gut microbiome consists of trillions of types of different bacteria and other microbes. Finding the right balance for those can go a long way to keeping yourself healthy, in a good mood, and physically active. To maintain this, there are different foods and healthy lifestyle habits that can assist with how to improve gut health naturally without disrupting your daily routine.
Some of the easiest ways for how to improve your gut health on your own include:
- Eating probiotic foods for gut health
- Managing stress levels
- Keeping physically active
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Quit smoking
- Get enough sleep
Eating Probiotic Foods for Gut Health
You have to eat, right? Instead of greasy foods or sugary snacks, there are plenty of probiotic foods to jumpstart how to improve your gut health naturally that are packed with nutrients and flavor. Just because you’re eating healthy doesn't mean it has to be boring!
You can start including these foods with any meal with things like sauerkraut, yogurt, olives, pickles, and miso. If you’re a cheese lover, try options like Gouda, cheddar, and Swiss, which are made with lactic acid bacteria, a probiotic content source. Be sure to keep a balanced diet, however, and consider any food sensitivities you may have to avoid excess inflammation within the body.
Managing Stress Levels to Protect Gut Health
Have you ever been stressed out or anxious and felt a little sick to your stomach? There's a reason for that! Managing stress levels is vital for how to improve gut health naturally. Even if your stress is short-lived, studies have pointed to its ability to disrupt the microbiome of your intestines.
Not all stress comes at you the same, however. You should be aware of mentally stressful situations and how you react to them, but other common stressors include sleep deprivation, environmental stress like extreme heat or cold, and even stress caused by physical discomfort.
To avoid this and work on how to improve your gut health, find ways to de-stress and relax as needed throughout the day. For example, stepping away from your desk during a break to practice calming breathing exercises is a popular method for reducing stress that could also help with how to improve gut health naturally. You can also start beneficial habits like a relaxing nighttime routine unwinding in a zero gravity chair while meditating at home, journaling, or listening to calm music. This kind of a routine can help you reduce stress both physically and mentally.
Improve Gut Health With Physical Activity
Next up in our exploration of how to improve gut health naturally is staying physically active. Studies have shown that not only could physical activity help improve gut health, but it may also aid in fighting obesity or digestive disorders. Experts recommend getting at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week. This doesn't have to be at a fancy gym, however. There are plenty of full body workout exercises you can do from the comfort of home.
In addition to the ways exercise may help with how to improve your gut health, there are also indicators that it may increase the diversity of your gut flora, as well. A study showed that athletes tended to have a larger variety of gut flora species than non-athletes. Some experts even suggest that exercise has the potential to alter gut bacteria composition and its functionality independently of your diet, making it crucial to improving gut health.
Limit Alcohol Consumption
Following a healthy diet with probiotic foods isn’t the only way to alter your food and drink intake as part of how to improve gut health naturally. While alcohol, in moderation, may not be inherently bad for your overall health (varying per person, of course), repeated over ingestion of alcohol can lead to health conditions like gastritis in which the gut becomes inflamed. Simply put, drinking too much can have a negative impact on your gut microbiome and cause it to be imbalanced.
To combat this potential issue, limiting your alcohol intake is a simple adjustment for how to improve your gut health and lead an overall healthy lifestyle.
While limiting alcohol intake is advised for how to improve gut health naturally, quitting smoking all together is essential. Not only does smoking negatively impact your gut health, but it can lead to all sorts of potential health risks including heart disease, high blood pressure, and even contribute to symptoms of depression. A study conducted in 2018 showed that your gut flora is altered by smoking, increasing potentially harmful microorganisms and decreasing the levels of helpful ones.
Get Enough Sleep
While it may seem strange, the last item on our list of methods for how to improve gut health naturally is getting enough sleep! Good sleep habits are absolutely key to bettering our overall mental and physical health. Not only will getting enough sleep help with gut health, but it may also lead to improving digestive health overall.
Short sleep habits or poor sleep quality can have a direct impact on gut flora, leading to inflammation and irritation. Implementing evening routines to wind down before bed is a simple way to adjust your lifestyle for the better. This could be relaxing in a zero gravity chair, taking a warm bath, or any routine that helps calm your mind and body to prepare for sleep. To help keep your circadian rhythm in check, make sure you limit screen time before bed to avoid blue light exposure. Experts suggest turning off the television and avoiding your phone for at least an hour before you intend to go to sleep.
As you can see, there are many simple ways for how to improve gut health naturally. As always, before you begin any new health routine you should consult a medical professional for guidance. Once you’ve been given the okay, try out these small lifestyle adjustments and experience the difference they can make for yourself! From eating right to unwinding in a zero gravity chair, improving gut health with healthy habits is a change you won’t regret.
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