9 Tips to Support and Heal Your Gut
How important is your gut health to your overall health?
It’s way more important than most people think. Your gut is the foundation of your health, and making sure that your gut is healthy is also essential to healing many diseases and chronic conditions.
Numerous studies over the last two decades have found links between gut health and the immune system, mood, mental health, autoimmune diseases, hormonal disorders, skin issues and cancer.
So now you probably realize how important your gut health is!
The balance between beneficial and harmful bacteria is pivotal for your gut microbiome and health
We have trillions of bacteria and other microorganisms in our bodies, and these are predominately in our digestive tract. Some bacteria are harmful and can cause health problems and sickness, whereas many are incredibly beneficial and even essential to a healthy body.
The beneficial bacteria act as a gatekeeper to your body’s immune system. They provide immunity from the flu, viruses, diseases and other unwanted invaders – and they are also necessary to digest and absorb nutrients.
The right amount of good gut bacteria will build your immune system and your body will absorb the nutrients from food better. Therefore, you want to have a wide variety of good bacteria in your gut to enhance your immune system function and your overall health.
So what can you do to have a healthy, well balanced gut microbiome (the best possible bacteria balance in your digestive tract) to support and even heal your gut?
9 Tips That Can Help To Support And Heal Your Gut:
1 Reduce Sugar Intake
Sugar is considered to be a toxin by many scientists since it can be damaging to all cells of your body. High amounts of sugar is linked to increased inflammation in the body, and inflammation is a precursor to a number of diseases.
Moreover, sugar can decrease the amount of good bacteria in your gut, which can cause sugar cravings, and thereby lead to an even higher sugar intake, causing more damage and inflammation.
Although certain sweeteners may be a better option than refined sugar for your dental health (e.g. Xylitol), they are unfortunately not a great substitute. Sweeteners are usually harder to digest and certain types of bad bacteria in your gut thrive on artificial sweeteners. This can lead to bad bacteria becoming too prevalent in your gut.
2 Limit the Consumption of Processed Foods
A diet high in processed foods can decrease the amount of good bacteria in your gut. Processed foods are also less nutritious, tend to be high in fat and sodium, but low in fiber, and is often harder for your body to digest.
Try to reduce your consumption of processed foods such as cereals, pasta and breads (gluten), potato chips, French fries, sausage rolls and salami, and exchange them for healthier options.
Tip: Try to choose organic whole foods and cook your own meals as often as possible so you know exactly what’s in it! Here are some healthy cooking tips =>Healthy Cooking
3 Be Careful with Antibiotics and Synthetic Drugs
When it comes to antibiotics, steroids, anti-inflammatory drugs and other medication, choose wisely and use them only when it’s really necessary. Some medication can break down the gut lining and be very damaging to your gut health.
When you take antibiotics they don’t only wipe out the bad bacteria, but also the good and beneficial bacteria in your gut – causing a microbial imbalance. However, sometimes we must take them, just be sure to not over-use them.
4 Adjust the Fiber Intake
A diet high in fiber has been shown to contribute tremendously to a healthy gut microbiome. One of the reasons for this is that natural soluble fibers feed the good bacteria in the large intestine. These special fibres are called prebiotics, and they help to promote a well balanced gut flora.
Prebiotics are naturally occurring in many foods e.g. whole grains, asparagus, green leafy vegetables, flaxseed, tomatoes, apples, onions, garlic and Jerusalem artichokes.
Moreover, fibers can help digestion and prevent constipation. Most people need to eat more fibre to have a healthier gut. However, some people can have problem digesting too much fiber, therefore each person must figure out what’s optimal for his or her digestion, and then slowly increase more fiber in their diet.
5 Eat Fermented Foods – and Consider Taking Probiotics
Eating fermented foods can help boost the number of beneficial bacteria found in your gut. Yogurt and sauerkraut are two of the most common examples. Miso, kefir, tempeh, pickles, and kimchi are other options. Eat more fermented foods, and your gut will thank you!
Several factors can damage and upset the gut bacteria balance, such as a one-sided diet, stress and medications – particularly antibiotics. So depending on your situation, you may also benefit from adding a good, quality probiotic supplement – to increase the good bacteria in your gut. Start with a low dose and take it 30 minutes before a meal. It may take weeks for you to see any positive effects so you must continue taking it for a few weeks.
Please note that before you start taking a probiotic supplement, you should talk with your doctor or a nutritionist first to make sure they’re a good choice for you and that they contain the most beneficial strain of bacteria for your needs.
6 Check for Food Intolerances & Food Sensitivities
If you struggle with symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, rashes, nausea and acid reflux, you may be suffering from a food intolerance. There are different tests you can take to see if you’re intolerant or sensitive to a certain food.
However, you can also keep track of what you eat and drink and how you feel after every meal with a Food Journal. When you see a pattern of digestive issues after consuming a certain item, try eliminating this item to see if your symptoms decrease.
After you have eliminated the food(s) and/ or drink(s) that seem to trigger your issues for 1-2 months, you can try to re-introduce it in a small portion and see if it still gives you the same issues. Sometimes, your gut heals itself from a food sensitivity if you give it a break from the trigger for a few weeks. Otherwise, you must continue avoiding the food or drink that triggers your issues.
Should your problems with bloating and/ or other digestive problems be persistent and cause more serious symptoms, it’s important you see a doctor.
7 Relax & Stress Less
Stress is hard on every part of your body, and that includes your gut. Minimizing the amount of stress in your life can do wonders for your overall health. If you can, remove the sources of your stress or learn how to relax in spite of the stress in your life.
It’s also important that you slow down before you eat. Before your meal, stop what you’re doing and sit down while eating. Your body needs to be calm to actually digest, so don’t stress when you eat and chew your food thoroughly. The uptake of nutrients starts in the mouth and the more you chew your food, the easier it is to digest.
Furthermore, make sure you get enough sleep. Your overall health, including your gut health, improves when you get enough sleep.
8 Consume Bone Broth
If you struggle with digestive issues, one of the best soothing and healing foods you can have is bone broth, it can help restore a damaged gut. Bone broth is made from simmering beef or chicken bones, with water and seasoning, extracting the beneficial healing nutrients from the bones.
Bone broth contains collagen, glycine, and other beneficial nutrients that help to soothe inflammation and restore a damaged gut lining. If your gut lining is damaged (this condition is called leaky gut), then undigested food particles and bacterial toxins can enter your bloodstream, which can cause chronic inflammation throughout the body.
Therefore, poor gut health doesn’t have to cause digestive issues. Your symptoms can show in other areas of your body in the form of brain fog, anxiety, skin problems and even autoimmune conditions.
Bone broth is safe for most people, but those with histamine intolerance could have a problem with it.
9 Eat a Healthy Diet
I’m sure you hear this all the time… but what exactly is a healthy diet? There are so many different diets out there, Atkins, HCG, Keto, Paleo, Vegan…. You name it!
Since we’re all very different, there is no “best diet” for everyone. Instead, you basically have to find out what diet works best for you, your body and your individual needs. For some people, following e.g. a Keto or Paleo diet works great, for some it doesn’t.
Instead of focusing on a certain diet, it’s easier to start from foods you should limit or avoid. As mentioned before, a diet high in processed foods and sugars can decrease the amount of good bacteria in your gut, so you want to limit and avoid that as much as possible.
And if you find that certain foods trigger digestive issues or headaches or eczema or other health issues for you – the triggers can also be healthy foods! – then you must remove them from your diet. It will help you feel much better and decrease an unnecessary stress on your immune system.
In general, eating plenty of vegetables and lean protein can positively impact your gut. Additionally, you need healthy fats such as avocado, olive oil and salmon, and remember to add foods high in fiber since that contributes to a healthy gut and gut microbiome.
Get this Checklist of Healthy Foods => Healthy Foods
What you choose to eat and drink has the greatest impact on the gut flora. Maximize your health by eating the healthiest possible diet.
In today’s life, most of us have to deal with high stress levels, too little sleep, eating too much of processed and high-sugar foods because we don’t have time to cook healthy meals, and taking medications like anticids, NSAID and/ or antibiotics too often. This can all damage our gut microbiome, which in turn can have a negative effect on our health: the brain, the heart, the immune system, the skin, hormone levels and more.
Therefore, if you’re not paying attention to your gut health, you’re not as healthy as you could be. What you eat and drink has the greatest impact on your gut health. Not only does the food you eat impact the health of every cell in your body, but it also affects the bacteria in your digestive tract.
And when your gut bacteria are healthy and in balance, you’ll be much healthier too!
I hope you’ve found this article interesting, and if you suffer from digestive problems, I do hope you can find something that can help reduce it. And don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions!
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