The exceptional complexity of the gut and its significance for our general health is a growing topic of many medical studies. Over the past two decades, various studies have shown connections between gut health and immune system, state of mind, mental health, autoimmune disorders, endocrine disorders, skin diseases, and cancer. Our digestive system was once considered to be a fairly “simple” body system, consisting basically of one long tube for food to move, be consumed and then digested.
The term “gut microbiome” usually refers to the microbes that live in our gut. An individual has around 300 to 500 different bacterial species in his or her digestive tract. While certain microorganisms can harm our health, many are extremely beneficial and even essential for a healthy body. According to several studies, having a wide range of these good bacteria in your intestine can improve your immune body system, improve depression symptoms, help reduce obesity and provide many other benefits.
Signs of an Unhealthy Gut
Many aspects of modern life such as high levels of stress, insufficient sleep, eating unhealthy and high-sugar foods and taking medication can all damage our gut flora. This, in turn, can directly impact other forms of our health, such as the nervous system, circulatory system, immune system, weight, hormones, ability to process nutrients, and even cancer.
There are a variety of ways in which an unhealthy gut could occur. Here are the most widespread indications of an unhealthy intestine:
- Stomach distress – Gas, bloating, constipation, vomiting, and heartburn can all be symptoms of an unhealthy intestinal tract. A healthy gut will have less trouble processing food and disposing of waste.
- A rich-sugar diet – A highly-processed diet and added sugars can reduce the level of beneficial bacteria in your gut. This inconsistency can lead to increased sugar cravings, which can still further harm your gut.
- Unexpected weight changes – Signs of a bad gut may be a sign of gaining or losing weight without changing your diet or your exercise routine. An irregular intestine will hinder the ability of your body to process food, control sugar levels, and store fat.
- Sleep disorders or chronic tiredness – An unhealthy intestine may lead to sleep disorders like insomnia or lack of sleep, contributing to chronic fatigue. The major part of the body’s serotonin, a mood and sleep hormone, is created in the gut. So damage to the gut can also affect your ability to sleep properly.
- Irritation of skin – Skin conditions such as eczema can be connected to the damaged digestive tract. Infection in the intestinal tract related to poor food intake or food allergies can lead to increased “leakage” of certain components into the body, which can irritate the skin and cause issues like eczema.
- Autoimmune disorders – Unhealthy intestines are believed to increase chronic inflammation and modify the normal functioning of the immune system. This can contribute to autoimmune diseases, in which the body attacks not dangerous pathogens.
- Intolerances of food – Food intolerances are the manifestation of certain digestive problems. It is suspected that food intolerances can be related to poor bacterial composition in the gut. This can cause difficulties in absorbing the food and uncomfortable symptoms such as constipation, gas, vomiting, stomach pain and nausea.
How to Improve Gut Health Naturally
Gut health is related to the equilibrium of microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract. Taking care of the gut’s health and preserving the correct balance of these microorganisms is important for general health, immunity and much more.
These microbes, bacteria, and parasites are also referred to as the “gut microbiome” or “gut flora.” Most bacteria are beneficial to people’s health and some of them are even crucial. Others can be dangerous, particularly when multiplying. In this article, we will try to provide you with some scientifically valid ways to improve gut and overall health naturally.
1. Eat slowly
Eating your food thoroughly and consuming your portions slowly will help to promote better metabolism and nutrient absorption. This can help you avoid gastrointestinal discomfort and keep your gut balanced.
2. Stay hydrated
Consuming plenty of water was shown to have a positive effect on the mucosal lining of the gut and the ratio of beneficial bacteria in the gut. Drinking plenty of water is an easy way of encouraging a healthy gut.
3. Take probiotics and eat fermented foods
Most people take probiotic supplements to improve beneficial bacteria in the gut. Some studies show that taking probiotics can help a healthy intestinal microbiome and can prevent irritation of the gut and other symptoms. Fermented food is a natural source of probiotics, so eating foods such as kefir, kombucha and sauerkraut will boost your gut health.
4. Eat prebiotic fiber
Probiotics depend on carbohydrates known as prebiotics. Some studies show that prebiotics can help to make probiotics more resistant to certain environmental factors, including changes in pH and temperature. Anyone who wants to boost their digestive health may want to use more prebiotic-rich foods like bananas, garlic and whole grains in their diet.
5. Check for food intolerances
You may suffer from food intolerance if you have medical problems such as nausea, constipation, stomach pain, vomiting, skin infection, tiredness, and acid reflux. If you can detect food that contributes to your medical problems, you may experience a positive change in your gut health by adjusting your food choices.
6. Change your diet
Decreasing the amount of high-sugar, processed, and high-fat products can help to improve gut health. The intake of plant food and lean proteins can have a positive effect on your digestive tract. A high fiber diet has been used to make an important contribution to healthy gut flora.
7. Eat less sugar and sweeteners
Some sugars or sugar substitutes can contribute to intestinal dysbiosis, which is an inflammation in the gut. Researches have shown that the level of bacterial strains related to metabolic disease increased with the aspartame artificial sweeteners. Studies also found that human use of aspartame would adversely affect blood glucose levels because of their effects on the intestinal flora.
8. Reduce stress
Handling stress is critical for many health aspects including the health of the intestine. Few studies indicate that psychological factors can interact with the bacteria in the gut, even if the stimulus is only of a short duration. Several stress factors in humans can harm gut health, including psychological trauma and lack of sleep. Taking regular exercise, sleeping well and eating healthily can also alleviate stress factors.
9. Avoid taking antibiotics unnecessarily
While antibiotics are often needed to fight bacterial infections, overuse is a major public health issue, which can lead to resistance to antibiotics. Antibiotics are also harmful to the gut flora and immunity, with some studies suggesting that the gut still lacks many species of good bacteria even 6 months after antibiotic usage.
10. Exercise regularly
Regular training helps to maintain heart health and control weight. Some studies have also shown that exercising could also affect the health of the digestive tract, which in turn may help to regulate obesity. Some studies show that people who train have a greater variety of gut microbiome than people who do not. It is recommended that people undertake at least 150 minutes of exercise each week, together with muscle improvement activities on 2 days or even more per week to improve physical and gut health.
11. Get enough sleep
Sleeping well enough can reduce anxiety and improve cognitive function and digestive system. Some studies have shown that poor sleep behaviors and insomnia can have negative effects on the digestive tract, which could increase the chance of inflammatory conditions. Developing healthy sleeping habits by going to sleep and getting up at the same time every day can improve gut flora.
12. Use different cleaning products
Just as antibiotics might disturb the gut flora, the cleaning products can also be harmful based on the results of some studies. Several studies found that persons living in homes with weekly use of disinfectant detergents have higher concentrations of Lachnospiraceae gut bacteria, a category associated with obesity and diabetes.
13. Avoid smoking
Smoking impacts the health of the intestine as well as cardiovascular and respiratory organs. Several studies show that smoking changes the gut flora by growing potentially dangerous microorganisms and reducing the concentrations of beneficial ones. Such effects may increase the probability of gastrointestinal and systemic disorders, like chronic intestinal conditions.
14. Eat a vegetarian diet
Reports have shown a considerable difference between the gut flora of vegetarians and those of people eating meat. Vegetarian health can enhance the quality of the intestinal tract because of its high concentrations of prebiotic fibers. In one experiment people with overweight adopted a strictly meatless diet. At the end of the experiment, the subjects had lower concentrations of intestinal inflammation due to changed gut flora.
Tips for Improving Good Health
Changing your eating habits can be challenging. Changing your diet may also be effective if you have conditions that can be made worse through the food you consume. Symptoms of disorders like kidney disease, gluten intolerance, and food allergies can all gain from dietary changes.
Below are some tips for enhancing your overall health:
- Instead of frying food, roast it, barbecue it or broil it. Attempt to eat fish once per week.
- Reduce some extra fat, such as bread butter, sour cream on roasted potatoes and pasta sauces.
- Eat your food and snacks with some vegetables and fruits.
- Study the food labels before buying them.
- Be mindful of fats and bigger portion sizes while dining out.
- Drinking plenty of water is key to good health. Drink no-calorie liquids, such as water or tea, because sweetened beverages contain lots of sugar and calories for your diet.