How to Start Healing Your Gut in 4 Easy Steps

Think of your gut microbiome as a half-tangle of connections to other aspects of your health and body.

In the world of wellness, there are few topics as trendy as “gut health.” But for good reason: your gut microbiome is linked to other aspects of your health, and researchers have linked it to digestive function, Mental Health, your skin and much more. In some cases, researchers are trying to determine whether an unhealthy gut microbiome is one of the causes of or a reaction to a symptom or health problem.

The microbiome refers to the billions of microorganisms (also called microbes) living in your body, such as bacteria, viruses and fungi. The gut microbiome, in particular, refers to the microbes found in your intestines, including the large intestine. This helps you metabolize foods you can’t digest, boost your immune function, and control inflammation. These microbes also generate metabolites (substances your body uses to break down food), including vitamins, enzymes and hormones, according to Gail Cresci, a microbiome researcher and registered dietitian in the department of pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition. from the Cleveland Clinic.

You should think of your gut microbiome as “little pets living inside your intestinal tract,” Cresci told CNET in 2023. What we eat nourishes them, and our internal environment dictates their ability to thrive.

As we learn more about the gut microbiome, there are some basic tips you can use to keep it as healthy as possible.

Learn more: 12 Probiotic Foods That Can Improve Your Gut Health

Signs of an unhealthy gut

“If you’re bloated or have a lot of gas, the composition and function of the gut microbiome can be disrupted,” Cresci said, adding that the only way to be sure is to measure it.

Other signs of an unhealthy gut may include vomiting or upset stomach, fatigue, trouble sleeping, food intolerance, and other symptoms. Irritation or skin problems can be a particularly noticeable sign, as some research links skin problems like acne and psoriasis to the gut.

Researchers are also studying its impact on reproductive health and hormone levels.

Learn more: The ABCs of Apple Cider Vinegar: Benefits, Precautions and Proper Dosage

An illustration of the intestinal microbiome, magnified by a magnifying glass

Carol Yepes/Getty Images

How to help your gut

It is important to consult a doctor to identify the root cause of your health problem and rule out other conditions. Making changes to your diet or routine that can improve your gut and overall health is a good first step.

It’s also important to keep in mind that there is no exact standard for a perfectly healthy gut microbiome, Cresci said, because everyone’s makeup is so different. That said, here are four things you can do to help you stay on track.

1. Eat these gut-friendly foods

Health Advice Logo Health Advice Logo

The gut microbiome prefers foods that we cannot digest. This includes foods high in fiber, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, seeds and nuts; foods that we already know we should eat for their nutritional properties.

According to Cresci, foods to eliminate from your gut or eat in smaller quantities include foods high in sugar and fat and low in fiber.

“All of this is associated with eating a Western diet, which is also associated with a disrupted microbiome,” she said.

Beyond a healthy diet for the intestines, which coincides, not by chance, with a heart healthy diet, eating fermented foods can help replace good microbes and their metabolites. Cresci cites yogurt, kombucha and kefir as examples.

Here is our complete list of the best probiotic foods for gut health.

2. Write down the medications you take

It is a well-known fact that taking antibiotics disrupts, at least temporarily, the family of “good” bacteria that thrive in your body. Some common side effects of taking antibiotics include nausea, diarrhea, and the development of yeast infections. If you are prescribed an antibiotic or have recurring infections that require you to take antibiotics often, ask your doctor what you can do to minimize disruption to your microbiome.

Other medications that can disrupt our microbiomes, Cresci says, include those that change the pH of the stomach and remove acid. Examples include proton pump inhibitors, also called PPIs, and histamine H2 receptor antagonists, or H2 blockers, which are used to reduce acid reflux symptoms and may be available over the counter.

By keeping track of the medications you take, you can help identify the cause of your symptoms and (with your doctor’s approval) take appropriate action or substitutions if gut health is an issue.

3. Find it RIGHT probiotics or supplements

In addition to incorporating more yogurt or fermented foods into their diet, some people may look for a probiotic hoping to balance their intestines, as they are designed to mimic an intact microbiota. If you’re considering taking a supplement, including probiotics, Cresci told CNET that it’s important to know that probiotics are strain-specific and “each strain has its own method of action.”

For example, some probiotics are designed to help people with antibiotic-induced diarrhea, but that won’t work for someone taking them for bowel regularity.

“You want to take the one that’s been studied, whatever your problem is,” she said.

Unfortunately, keep in mind that probiotics won’t completely replace what you eat.

“If you have a poor diet and want to continue having a poor diet while improving your microbiome, a probiotic is not going to help you,” Cresci said. “You have to do the other part too.”

A sketch of intestines surrounded by healthy food A sketch of intestines surrounded by healthy food

Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are great food choices if you want to start healing your gut.

piotr_malczyk/Getty Images

4. Move your body every day and prioritize sleep

“Sleep better” or “exercise more” may seem like outdated advice, but improving your sleep hygiene and do more physical activity are proven ways to improve your health, including your gut health.

Exercise can help your gut in a variety of ways, including improving your circulation, helping your metabolism, and helping your digestive muscles, according to information from the Cleveland Clinic. And if you dread running or don’t have time to go to the gym, don’t worry: there are small ways to get your body used to moving every day or at least more frequently.

Sleeping well is another general wellness tip directly linked to the health of our gut. According to Cresci, our microbiome adheres to the circadian rhythm, Also. So, if we eat when our gut microbiome is not ready, we will not be able to properly process the nutrients in our food.

Lack of sleep also triggers an increase in stress and cortisol, which have negative mentality and physical impacts.

“There’s a lot going on in the gut-brain interaction, which feeds back into the microbiome, and vice versa,” Cresci said.

Perhaps most fundamental is the fact that when we’re exhausted, we don’t have the energy to check off many of the things that keep us healthy, including exercising or finding a nutritious meal – which have both impact our gut health.

“When you’re sleepy, tired, exhausted, you tend not to do the things that we know are good for microbiomes,” Cresci said. “So it kind of perpetuates itself.”

News Source :
Gn Health

Back to top button