how to improve your gut health

Think of your gut as a carefully balanced machine with connections to other aspects of your overall health. The gut microbiome, in particular, has been a hot topic in the wellness world as researchers continue to uncover its link to digestive function. mental health even more.

The microbiome refers to the trillions of microorganisms (also called germs) that live in your body, such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi. The gut microbiome refers specifically to the microbes in your intestines, specifically the large intestine. These microbes help us digest food we can’t digest, enhance our immune function and control inflammation. They produce metabolites (substances our bodies use to break down food), including vitamins, enzymes and hormones, according to Gail Creasy, MD, a microbiome researcher and registered dietitian with the Cleveland Clinic’s Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition. .

Cresci told CNET that you should think of the gut microbiome as “the little pets living inside your intestinal tract.” What we eat feeds them, which can affect our own health.

Here are some tips to keep your gut healthy and how to spot someone who is indigestion.

Signs of an Unhealthy Gut

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

Other symptoms of an unhealthy gut may include vomiting or upset stomach, fatigue, trouble sleeping, skin irritations, food intolerances, and other symptoms. While it’s important to see a doctor to get to the root cause of your health concern and rule out other conditions, making changes to your diet or routine that can improve your gut and your overall health is a good first step.

But it’s also important to note that there’s no exact standard for a perfectly healthy gut microbiome, Kresky said, because everyone’s composition is so different.

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1. Eat these stomach-friendly foods

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The gut microbiome prefers foods that we cannot digest. This includes foods with a lot of fiber, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, seeds and nuts – foods we already know we should be eating for their nutritional properties.

According to Cresci, include foods high in sugar and fat and low in fiber, or foods to eat in moderation, to clear them out of your bowels.

“These are all associated with consumption of a Western diet, which is also associated with a disrupted microbiome,” she said.

Beyond a Gut-Healthy Diet That Doesn’t Coincidentally Match heart-healthy dietEating fermented foods may help replace good microbes and their metabolites. Cresci lists yogurt, kombucha and kefir as examples.

2. Pay attention to the medicines you are taking

It’s 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 developing a yeast infection. If you’ve been prescribed antibiotics or have frequent infections that make you take antibiotics too often, ask your doctor what you can do to help minimize disruption to your microbiome.

Other drugs that can disrupt our microbiome, Cresci says, include those that alter the pH of the stomach and flush away acid. Examples include proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and histamine H2-receptor antagonists (H2 blockers), which are used to reduce acid reflux symptoms and may be available over-the-counter.

By keeping track of the medications you’re taking, you can help determine the cause of your symptoms and take appropriate steps to improve your gut health.

3. Find Right probiotics or supplements

In addition to adding more yogurt or fermented foods to your diet, some people may Look for a Probiotic in hopes of balancing their gut, as they are designed mimic an intact microbiota, If you’re considering taking a supplement including probiotics, Cresci told CNET it’s important to know that probiotics are strain-specific, and “each strain has its own mechanism of action.”

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

“You want to take the one that has been studied for your problem,” she said.

Also, unfortunately, keep in mind that probiotics won’t completely override what you eat.

“If you have a bad diet, and you want to eat a bad diet but want to improve your microbiome, probiotics aren’t going to help you,” Creese said. “You have to do the second part too.”

Diagram of intestines surrounded by healthy foods

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

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4. Get more sleep and exercise your body

“Sleep better” or “get more exercise” may sound like trite advice, but improving your sleep hygiene and squeeze in more physical activity There are tried and true ways to improve your health, including the health of your gut.

Getting good sleep is another common piece of wellness advice that is directly linked to the health of our gut. Specifically, according to Cresci our microbiome obeys circadian rhythm, as well. And if we’re eating when our gut microbiome isn’t ready, we won’t be ready to properly process the nutrients in our food.

Lack of sleep also triggers an increase in stress and cortisol, which is negative mental and physical effects.

“There’s a lot going on with gut-brain interactions signaling back to the microbiome, and vice versa,” Kresky said.

Perhaps most fundamental is the fact that when we’re tired, we don’t have the energy to check out many of the things that keep us healthy, including exercising or finding nutritious food—both of which affect our gut health. affect.

“When you’re sleepy, tired, fatigued, you don’t do the things that we know are good for the microbiome,” Kresky said. “So it perpetuates itself.”

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to be health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider with respect to any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or health objectives.

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