How to Improve Gut Health Naturally - 9 Things You Need to Do
By Greg Bastin • December 30, 2019
The bacteria in your gut perform many important functions for your body. Keeping them fed correctly is an essential part of a healthy life.
Your gut microbiome is a complex and important world that has many functions.
The good bacteria in your gut play a key role in digestion, immune function, and weight control. There’s evidence that it also contributes to everything from mood to fertility.
It’s no wonder then, that keeping a healthy gut is a crucial part of good health. An unhealthy gut can cause serious problems.
Keep reading to learn about how to detect it and why it’s so important to avoid it.
The Importance of Gut Health
Your body has many telltale signs of a troubled gut. Learning to understand and act on them is important for preventative self-care.
If they’re not resolved, gut issues can manifest in ways that are harder to diagnose later. Irritability, mood swings, and fatigue can all result from gut problems.
The key is to listen to the early symptoms before they develop into more serious ones.
Let’s take a step back and get a look at what’s really going on. First of all, it’s important to know that most of the bacteria in our bodies are not only benign but also necessary.
There are trillions of bacteria in your body, outnumbering your cells by a factor of 10. Most of them find a home in your gut.
Those bacteria communicate with other systems in the body, not just the gut. Autoimmune diseases are sometimes attributed to unstable gut microbiomes.
Even though the bacteria are helpful, they’re still foreign bodies. This stimulates the immune system to create low levels of antibodies. It’s all part of a complex system of homeostasis.
The bacteria that live in your gut can also influence your mental health. Most of your serotonin and dopamine come from the gut. Those are two important neurotransmitters that regulate mood.
Studies even show that variations in gut microbiota correlate with some mental illnesses.
The good bacteria also help your gut heal and remain strong. If your intestinal walls aren’t restored after exposure to damaging substances, they can “leak.” A leaky gut allows contaminants to enter your bloodstream and that can cause many problems.
You can prevent these and other issues with a few lifestyle and diet changes. Below, you’ll find some of the best advice on how to improve gut health naturally.
9 Ways To Help Your Gut Stay Healthy
It’s not that complicated to maintain a healthy gut. And it can benefit you in many ways, even if you don’t have any serious problems.
Most of the work on your body should be preventative in nature. We can’t help getting sick sometimes. That much is obvious. But every good decision we make makes us less likely to develop an illness.
1 - Get More Sleep
The first thing you can do is also one of the easier ones to implement. Proper rest is not only vital for gut health but also just about every bodily function.
Most guidelines recommend seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. A CDC study shows that 1 in 3 people in the US fall short of that regularly. Chronic sleep deprivation is very harmful to the gut and the effect is reciprocal.
A good and healthy gut microbiome contributes to restful sleep. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, it could be a symptom of a gut problem.
Conversely, not getting enough sleep, to begin with, can disrupt your gut. A 2016 study found a reduction in beneficial bacteria after only two sleepless nights.
2 - Get More Activity
It’s no secret that more exercise can aid in weight loss, heart health, and many other areas. But you may not know that it’s also important to keep your gut working right.
In studies, athletes had a bigger variety of good bacteria in their gut than a control group from the general population. That diversity helped the athletes synthesize proteins better.
Besides the impact on gut bacteria, exercise also helps to manage weight. This, in turn, plays a role in keeping a healthy digestive tract.
3 - Increase Fiber
Dietary fiber is a catch-all term for plant matter in our diet that doesn’t get digested. Instead, it travels through the intestines relatively untouched. That doesn’t mean it’s useless, though. Fiber is an important part of any healthy diet.
Fiber’s superpower is that it acts as a binder for stools. Certain types of fiber, called prebiotics, even nourish your gut biome.
Inulin is one of those prebiotics. It’s present in many vegetables and has a lot of benefits for the gut. Supplementing your diet with inulin powder is an excellent way to improve digestive health.
One user, Holly, had amazing results from using inulin powder supplements. She started using it for the prebiotics but found that it worked wonders for constipation as well.
Studies show that most Americans aren’t getting recommended amounts of fiber. Increasing your intake is a good way to nourish your gut and your whole body.
4 - Eat Probiotics and Fermented Foods
Probiotics are those beneficial microbes that do all the work in your gut. Many professionals claim that a great way to improve their function is to simply add more of them. The way you do that is by eating food that is rich with live cultures of probiotics.
Fermented foods are especially good for this. Fermented vegetables and dairy products, such as yogurt, are excellent sources of probiotics. There are also probiotic supplements that millions of Americans swear by.
If you want to try a probiotic supplement, it’s best to consult your healthcare provider. There are many low-quality probiotics on the market that may not work as advertised.
5 - Avoid Antibiotics
If you’re trying to increase and help the bacteria in your gut, it makes sense to stay away from antibiotics.
Sometimes you need antibiotics to get rid of bad bacteria. But the thing is that they’re like carpet-bombing your entire body’s microorganisms. Antibiotics don’t discriminate very well about which get to stay and which get taken out.
Only use antibiotics if you absolutely have to. And then, only under the supervision of a medical professional.
6 - Eat Prebiotics
Earlier you learned about prebiotics and how they nourish your gut bacteria. Many foods have them but the amounts can vary even in the same food.
The difference can be stark, especially in fruits. As fruits ripen, their starches turn to sugars. So a fully ripe banana has less prebiotics than a green one.
Cooking and then cooling down some starchy foods, like rice and potatoes, can also increase their prebiotic content.
The best way to add quality prebiotics to your diet is with the right supplement. Opportuniteas’ Organic Inulin Powder is one such supplement that has one of the healthiest prebiotics.
A success story with inulin powder comes from D. Dominguez. She’s using it to aid in losing weight and loving how easily it dissolves. Her mother also uses it with great effect to promote regular bowel movements.
7 - Limit Saturated Fats
As good as they are, your gut bacteria can become a problem if their numbers get too high. One particular species seems to thrive in people who consume high amounts of saturated fat.
Saturated fats can be problematic in other ways as well. A good guideline to follow is the 10% rule of thumb. Try to keep saturated fats at or below 10% of your total energy intake. So, if you consume 2000 calories a day, make it 200 or fewer from saturated fats.
8 - Avoid Smoking
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that smoking is detrimental to gut health. It negatively affects most of your bodily functions.
It can actually decrease the number of good bacteria and increases the bad bacteria in your gut.
There’s very good news for smokers, though. Studies show that the difference in microbiota is negligible between former smokers and never smokers. That means that those who stopped smoking could reverse the damage to their gut.
9 - Reduce Stress
It could be difficult to see how stress can impact your gut but think about it this way. What does stress do to your appetite? If you’re like most, you probably don’t want to eat as much when you’re stressed.
The effects are mostly caused by cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone and it gets secreted, fittingly, when you’re stressed.
It has many important functions but too much causes damage to the body. It can especially interrupt the communications between your gut and your brain. The long-term effects of this can be very damaging.
Listen to Your Gut
The gut sends messages to you all the time. It’s important to be aware of them and take action before problems arise.
In this article, you have some of the best ways to help your gut. But it’s as much about what you avoid as it is about what you seek out. Feed your gut with quality prebiotics for a big boost in function.
Inulin powder is one of the best prebiotics that we know of and available as a supplement. Opportuniteas’ Organic Inulin Powder dissolves quickly and has great absorption. It’s a terrific way to improve gut health naturally.