12 Easy Tips on How to Improve Gut Health Naturally

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From constant fatigue, stress, bacterial infections, heartburn, and stomach pain, having poor gut health affects your overall health negatively. This is because your gut microbiome is imbalanced, making them harmful to your overall health.

This post provides insightful information to help you understand what gut health means. It also provides you with 12 credible tips on how to improve gut health naturally and effortlessly.

how to improve gut health naturally

What Does Gut Health Mean?

The gut is the gastrointestinal (GI) system that includes your stomach, colon, and intestines. It is a part of the digestive system that helps break down the food you eat, absorb nutrients your body needs, and excrete waste.

However, there are microorganisms in your gut that are responsible for these, known as the gut microbiome. The gut microbiome consists of different species of harmless bacteria, fungi, and viruses in the digestive tract, known as “good bacteria” that protect you from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), diabetes, and psoriatic arthritis.

Hence, gut health refers to the overall health of your gastrointestinal system, a balanced gut microbiome, a strong immune system, and the absence of infections. A healthy gut means you have good bacteria and a strong immune system that fights off threatening bacteria and viruses that can affect your health.

On the other hand, your gut health is compromised when there are more harmful bacteria in your system.

What are the Signs of an Unhealthy Gut?

Wondering if your gut is unhealthy? Here are a few signs to look out for:

  • Changes in your stool length, frequency, and color
  • Abnormal weight loss
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Anemia (has to be diagnosed)
  • Regular digestive discomfort such as bloating, gas, constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Common cold
  • Skin irritation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea

12 Tips on How to Improve Gut Health Naturally and Fast

Embracing the necessary lifestyle and diet changes is required to fix your gut health and keep it healthy. Here are some tips to help you achieve quick and effective gut health:

Consume Healthy Foods

The food you consume contributes immensely to your gut health. You can keep your gut microbiome balanced with your diet, which includes fresh and plant-based foods like fruit, vegetables, beans, nuts, legumes, and whole grains.

Fermented foods are also healthy for consumption because they contain probiotics to boost the good bacteria for your gut health. Fermented foods modify the gut and support a healthy gut microbiome.

Fermented foods such as:

  • Kimchi
  • Tempeh
  • Kefir
  • Kombucha
  • Miso
  • Sauerkraut
  • Cheese
  • Sourdough
  • Fermented vegetables

You can infuse these fermented foods into your meals as an alternative to probiotic supplements.

Eat Fiber-Rich Foods

Fiber offers so many benefits to your gut health and your overall health. It enhances fast digestion and absorption of nutrients needed to strengthen the beneficial bacteria. Another health benefit of fiber-rich foods is that it limits your chances of developing diabetes and heart disease.

You want to add these foods to your diet to improve gut health. They include vegetables, whole grains, garlic, bananas, nuts and seeds, onions, asparagus, beans, etc. Whenever you need to boost your healthy gut microbiome, you should consume rich-fiber foods or a prebiotic fiber diet.

Reduce Your Stress Levels

Stress can increase harmful gut bacteria that can threaten your gut health. Whether it is psychological stress, physical stress, or lack of sleep, all these can disrupt the balance of the gut microbiome.

Hence, managing stress has proven effective in helping improve your gut health. To reduce your stress levels, you want to consider:

  • Prioritizing rest
  • Regular physical exercises
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Meditation

Avoid Antibiotics Unless Necessary

While antibiotics are effective in treating bacterial infections, they can also affect healthy gut bacteria when used too often.

Overusing antibiotics, especially without a proper diagnosis, damages healthy gut bacteria and takes months for your gut microbiome to balance itself.

So, it is best to ask your doctor to recommend other alternative drugs to use instead of antibiotics.

Reduce Your Sugar Intake

Consuming excess sweets or sugar poses a threat to your gut health and affects your gut microbiome. Excessive sugar intake reduces the number of beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract and increases the number of harmful bacteria, resulting in obesity, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic diseases.

Also, research shows that a high-sugar diet can accelerate the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It can also cause gut inflammation and chronic kidney disease.

Reducing your sugar intake will help improve gut health. By the way, this doesn’t exclude artificial sweeteners.

Eat Slowly

Swallowing your food without properly chewing it, probably because you are rushing or love eating fast, affects your gut health. This can also cause digestive discomfort, bloating, and stomach pain because you didn’t chew your food thoroughly.

On the other hand, you want to have a regular eating schedule so you don’t eat late or skip meals. Also, try to avoid late-night snacking to improve your gut health.

Reduce Alcohol Intake

Unhealthy lifestyle habits, like high alcohol consumption, affect your gut microbiome. It also compromises your gut health by causing inflammation, which can result in heartburn, discomfort, infections, and other symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Some signs to know if your gut is sensitive to alcohol include diarrhea or constipation. Having to deal with this regularly will affect the balance of your gut microbiome, leading to an unhealthy gut.

Consider Probiotic Supplements

Probiotics are great treatments to use to improve your gut health. They will give your gut microbiota the boost it needs to stay in the right condition.

Consult your doctor to recommend the right supplement so you don’t compromise your immune system. Besides that, probiotic supplements are effective in preventing infections and can be used with antibiotics to reduce the side effects.

While probiotic foods are a great bet, you can also consider using supplements to further improve your gut health.

Avoid Ultra-Processed Foods

Limit the amount of junk food and street foods you eat because ultra-processed foods often cause an unhealthy gut. To improve your gut health, you want to eat naturally processed foods that provide high nutritional value.

Also, you want to limit the intake of sugar, salt, additives, and fats because they endanger healthy bacteria in your gut and can also affect your blood sugar level. Ultra-processed foods include fast foods, sweet desserts, meat, and packaged snacks.

Instead, you want to eat unprocessed foods like lean red meat, fruits, vegetables, eggs, seafood, and whole grains, whose nutrition can support beneficial gut bacteria.

Stay Hydrated

The lack of fluid doesn’t only affect your body system, it also affects your gut health. You should always drink enough water before and after eating because this aids your digestive health and assists in the digestion of your meals.

Drinking enough water also increases the gut-diverse microbiome that your gut needs to stay healthy. Additionally, drinking enough coffee daily is linked to developing gut microbiome diversity.

Get Enough Rest

Sleep deprivation causes an unhealthy gut and can cause inflammatory conditions and affect your mental health. Getting enough sleep enhances your mood, prevents mental health disorders, and improves gut health.

Getting 7 hours of sleep every night is healthy. You also want to prioritize a healthy sleeping habit to improve your health and overall well-being.

Exercise Regularly

Every part of your body benefits when you move your body regularly. Exercise regularly contributes to your mental health and supports a healthy gut microbiome.

You want to focus on both medium- and low-intensity workouts every week, together with muscle-strengthening activities for gut microbiome diversity.

Apart from eating healthy meals, exercising regularly enhances your intestinal microbiome.

What Foods Restore Your Gut Health?

The importance of a healthy diet cannot be overemphasized when it comes to improving your gut health. From fermented foods to probiotic foods and prebiotic foods, these three superfoods are highly recommended to restore your gut health naturally.

Prebiotic fiber foods are great for gut microbiota, and they include:

Vegetables

  • Green peas
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Leeks
  • Chicory

Fruits

  • Bananas
  • Grapes
  • Watermelon
  • Apples
  • Peaches

Cereals

  • Oats
  • Barley
  • Rye bread
  • Rye crackers
  • Bran
  • Wheat bran

Nuts and Seeds

  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Pine nuts
  • Cashews
  • Sesame seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Hazelnuts
  • Sunflower seeds

Legumes

  • Lentils
  • Soybeans
  • Peas
  • Chickpeas
  • Baked beans
  • Red Kidney beans
  • Pinto beans

Fermented Foods

  • Kimchi
  • Miso
  • Natural yogurt
  • Pickles
  • Kefir
  • Kombucha
  • Sauerkraut

Collagen-rich Foods

  • Bone broth
  • Salmon skin
  • Citrus fruits
  • Broccoli

Foods to Avoid to Improve Gut Health

Here are some not-so-gut-friendly foods that you want to avoid to improve gut health and achieve a healthy body. However, the effects of these foods on gut health might vary from person to person. Regardless, some of these foods include:

Fried Foods

Fried foods can disrupt the balance of the intestinal microbiota because they are harder for the microorganisms in the digestive tract to digest. Since they are high in fat, these food types can also irritate your stomach. Besides, fried foods can cause gastrointestinal problems and harmful gut bacteria.

Red Meat and Animal Protein

Proteins are highly beneficial for healthy adults and it’s often recommended to include in your diet. However, consuming animal protein regularly can affect the balance of the gut microbiome. Eating red meats increases harmful bacteria linked with inflammation and diseases.

There’s nothing wrong with eating fish, eggs, poultry, and dairy foods once in a while. However, eating diets that are high in animal protein regularly isn’t good for your gut health. Avoid eating processed or marinated meat like sausage or pork.

FODMAP Diet

These are foods that aggravate the gut microbiome and can contribute to gastrointestinal problems for people dealing with irritable bowel syndrome.

This includes dairy-based milk, ice cream, and wheat-based meals like cereals, asparagus, garlic, etc. This also includes foods with refined sugars or alcohol that can irritate the stomach. Processed foods that contain artificial sweeteners, fruit juices, agave, honey, and jam, are considered to be high FODMAP foods.

Instead, you want to eat plain cooked meats, eggs, poultry, seafood, egusi seeds, dill seeds, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and so on.

Why is Your Gut Health Important?

Your gut health benefits other parts of your body system when it is healthy and it impacts negatively when compromised. There are over 200 microorganisms that consist of all the bacteria, fungi, and viruses in the human digestive tract. All of which are essential for a healthy body.

If you are still wondering if you need to take your gut health seriously, you need to understand that the gut health can impact your:

  • Mental health resulting in anxiety, mood changes, and depression
  • Digestive system, including inflammation, irritation, and discomfort
  • Liver health
  • Metabolism
  • Bowels

The gastrointestinal system is complex and as far as the gut system is concerned, your overall health is affected. A healthy gut contributes to the human health and helps:

  • Reduce digestive discomfort
  • Strengthen the immune system
  • Heart health
  • Brain health
  • Enhances quality sleep
  • Enhances digestion
  • Prevent infection and autoimmune diseases

Does Fasting Affect the Gut Microbiome?

Fasting heals the gut because it limits harmful bacteria that cause infection and diseases. Intermittent fasting benefits gut health by creating a diverse gut microbiome and beneficial bacteria that improve human health.

Also, you want to ensure that you eat healthy meals during your intermittent fasting to further improve gut health.

Why Does the Gut Microbiome Vary from Person to Person?

Each person has a unique gut microbiome which seems to vary in individuals because of several elements like the environment, diet, psychology, genetics, and sleep.

These elements determine the type of microbiota that lives in the colon. Hence, the family genes and the use of medications like antibiotics will influence the amount and type of microbiota that will be in the intestines of each person.

Wrapping Up

You can effortlessly improve your gut health without affecting your general well-being. You want to embrace the right eating and lifestyle habits that will boost gut bacteria and prevent health conditions like blood sugar spikes, weight gain, intestinal inflammation, and adipose tissue inflammation, among many others.

It all starts with eating healthy meals. Eat foods that provide the right nutrients that your gut microbes need. Also, you need to include exercises in your daily activities every week because it will prevent chronic sleep disruption and improve gut health.

Avoid smoking, reduce your sugar intake, and stay hydrated. Don’t hesitate to discuss this with your doctor before taking antibiotics or supplements.

Adhering to these tips will help you improve your gut health and stay ever-healthy.

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