Is your digestive health in need of a reset? Here's how to naturally restore gut health.
Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician, often described as the "father of medicine," believed that all diseases begin in the gut... Perhaps it was this crucial knowledge that helped him live to around 90 years old. What we do know over 2,000 years later is that he was certainly right in his assumption on the importance of gut health.
Did you know that your gut is home to over 1,000 trillion bacteria? But not all bacteria are considered harmful. In fact, a good balance of bacteria is needed if we want to feel our best. An imbalance or overgrowth of "bad" bacteria in your gut can lead to all types of issues, including Crohn's disease, leaky gut syndrome, weakened immune function, hormonal imbalances, insomnia, IBS, diarrhea, constipation, and mood disorders such as anxiety, stress, and depression. This is by no means a complete list, with the gut having a significant impact on almost every system in your body.
How to Restore Healthy Gut Flora
If you've been on a course of antibiotics, painkillers, have had food poisoning, been sick, or have just led an unhealthy lifestyle lately, there's a good chance your gut is in need of some extra TLC. This can be done by taking a holistic approach to increase the beneficial bacteria in your gut and improve the overall health of your body.
Ideally, this is achieved through a combination of adding the right foods, avoiding the bad ones, taking probiotic supplements, getting enough sleep and exercise, and managing stress and anxiety. It's not going to be a short-term fix, but it will certainly be worth it with a bit of consistency, patience, and motivation. You could start seeing signs of improvement reasonably quickly, since your gut microbes are very responsive to positive change. Once you maintain the right balance of healthy bacteria, you'll start to see a positive impact in all areas of your well-being, from improved digestion to enhanced mood, sleep, and even skin clarity.
How To Increase Good Bacteria In Your Gut Naturally
The best way to boost your healthy gut bacteria is to eat diverse foods that include probiotics and prebiotics. You'll need to read on to discover what these are and why they are so important to your gut health!
We could probably learn a good lesson from the Hadza, modern hunter-gatherers living in northern Tanzania, who have what is believed to be the richest gut microbiome diversity in the world . The Hadza eat around 600 plants and animals a year, which varies seasonally. Plant-based diets are believed to benefit the human gut; the likely reason is that vegetarians tend to eat more high-fiber foods and less processed foods.
Signs and Symptoms of Poor Gut Health
The side effects of poor gut health on your body can be very obvious and have a big impact on your daily life. However, this is not always the case. It's possible for someone to have an unbalanced gut but with symptoms that are less apparent, or manifesting in different areas of the body (such a consistent skin breakouts). Many people with poor gut health can relate to the frustration of visiting a doctor many times about various symptoms, but with no answers or proper diagnosis.
The most obvious signs of poor gut health will be gastrointestinal issues. When your gut balance is out of whack, you'll likely feel it in your digestion (like needing to use the bathroom less or more frequently). Both constipation and diarrhea are common signs that the health of your gut isn't at its best. If you have a balanced diet, you'll have stool that looks pretty much the same each time you excrete. Healthy stool should represent the shape of your intestinal tract, namely formed like a sausage or tubelike in appearance.
The gut is also often called the second brain...and for good reason! It can affect the way we feel and think in a number of ways. This brain-gut connection works in two ways: Firstly, an unhealthy gut microbiome can bring on mood disorders, and we often find that people suffering from IBS have depression or anxiety.
Alternately, we've all felt those butterflies in our stomach when nervous or stressed. Many of us know serotonin as a brain neurotransmitter, but not many people know that around 90% of serotonin is produced in the digestive system. Depression is often a sign of low serotonin, so it makes sense that issues with our gut microbiome could influence our mood. Of course, there could be other reasons why we are suffering from mood disorders, but there is plenty of research to show how our gut can influence our brain.
And let's not forget about skin health. There are also many possible reasons why your skin may not be looking its best, such as hormonal influences. Some of you may have suffered from acne as a teenager, while pregnant, or while going through menopause, when chemicals and hormones were changing in your body. However, if you've run out possibilities for your skin troubles, it may be time to have a closer look at your gut microbiome. This is because an unbalanced gut can cause skin flare ups, breakouts, and irritation.
Unexplained weight loss is another symptom that can be attributed to poor gut health. If you haven't made any changes to your lifestyle or diet recently but have started losing weight, it could be down to harmful gut bacteria. If this is the case, it could be because of small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), a condition that occurs when you have too many microbes in your small intestine.
In other words, SIBO affects your capability to properly absorb certain important nutrients. However, sudden weight loss (or any of the above listed symptoms) can also be due to many other underlying health conditions, so it is always best to consult your physician for proper diagnosis and medical advice.
Healthy Foods to Improve Gut Health
Restoring gut health is all about balance, and since each of us has our own unique gut microbiome, it will take a bit of trial and error to get it just right. Adding the right foods to your diet and avoiding (or at least moderating) the bad ones, is the key to success.
Probiotics and Fermented Foods
Probiotics are live, active cultures that can be naturally found in many fermented foods and supplements. These "good bacteria" are vital for a healthy gut microbiome and help balance and restore our gut flora. Probiotic foods and quality supplements can help improve skin, mood, sleep, immunity, and mental clarity, just to name a few.
While fad diets come and go, the benefits of probiotics have been documented for hundreds (if not thousands) of years. Across multiple cultures from ancient Rome, Greece, India, and Asia, pickled, fermented vegetables and probiotic-filled yogurts have been eaten for their health advantages over many centuries.
The majority of fermented foods contain probiotics. However, in some cases, the probiotics may be removed, such as with beer and wine (we'll soon discuss what alcohol does to your gut microbiome). While there is no doubt that fermented foods are incredibly beneficial to a healthy gut, the flipside is that many people do find the smell and taste of them unpleasant.
However, listed below are a wide variety of probiotics foods worth considering. While kimchi might not be top of your list, you might enjoy a bowl of natural probiotic yogurt with some delicious berries as a healthy dessert. Perhaps the easiest method of all? There's also the option of restoring gut health through supplements high in probiotics and postbiotics.
Kefir - is a fermented milk drink loaded with prebiotics. Traditionally it was made from kefir grains, which combine lactic acid bacteria and yeast and added to whole cow's milk. Nowadays, you can find kefir made from many types of milk, including sheep, goat coconut, and soy milk. The consistency is similar to drinking yogurt, and it has a sour and creamy taste.
Parmesan cheese - While most of us limit our use of parmesan cheese to sprinkling it on our pasta, it could be a healthy choice to add as an ingredient to other dishes, such as a soup or stew. Due to its long aging process, it contains fermented lactic acid bacteria that is beneficial for your gut . As a bonus, you will also get plenty of calcium for healthy bones.
Kombucha - is a sweet, fizzy fermented tea, with its likely origins in China or Japan. Kombucha is made by combining bacteria and yeast with sweetened black or green tea. Like other probiotic-rich food and beverages, kombucha can help promote a healthy gut microbiome . Both tea and probiotics have many health properties, so the combination offers a potent concoction for general well-being. Though you can make homemade kombucha, it can be tricky and even dangerous, so ensure that you know what you're doing before getting started. The commercially-made kombucha should be an excellent choice, but check to make sure it's not too high in added sugar or artificial flavors.
Sauerkraut - If you've tasted it before, you either love it or hate it, but as probiotic-rich foods go, it's one of the healthiest. Sauerkraut is a traditional European side dish that translates as 'sour cabbage,' which is essentially what it is - fermented cabbage. As well as supporting a healthy gut microbiota, it also contains vitamins, antioxidants, and is abundant in dietary fiber. You are much better making homemade sauerkraut than buying the canned pasteurized type often found in stores, but either will do!
Yogurt - King (or queen) of the probiotic world. It's likely the one that we've all tried at some point and it's the most widely known and widely used probiotic. The probiotic strain Lactobacillus Acidophilus found in probiotic yogurt is famous for boosting gut health. It's also rich in calcium, protein, and vitamin B12. Once again, as with many other products, check the ingredients to ensure that it's not loaded with added sugar or artificial flavors.
Kimchi - Koreans have been staying on top of their gut health for thousands of years thanks to the many benefits of kimchi. What is kimchi? It's essentially like a souped-up version of sauerkraut, made from fermented vegetables such as cabbage and bok choy, but also chock-full of healthy spices. If that's not reason enough to give this fermented food a try, it's also an excellent source of antioxidants and dietary fiber .
Miso - Traditionally eaten as a breakfast soup in Japan, miso is made from fermented soybeans. Miso can add some more probiotic diversity to your diet, though it is relatively high in salt, so it's probably best not to overdo it. Miso is also a good source of folic acid, minerals, and vitamins.
Cottage Cheese - This has similar probiotic properties to yogurt. High in protein and low in calories, it's a popular food choice for weight loss. However, not all cottage cheese is made the same, so check the package to ensure it has live and active bacteria cultures.
Pickles - You can pickle all sorts of vegetables and fruit, but pickled cucumbers are usually what comes to mind. When you buy pickles to add to your probiotic diet, ensure that they are fermented in saltwater brine rather than the pickled variety using vinegar. Saltwater brine olives are another tasty option.
Sourdough Bread - This kind of bread not only tastes great, but it is made using Lactobacillus, which gives it its tartness. It is also easier to digest than regular bread varieties that can cause bloating. This is because the gluten in the bread is broken down during the fermentation process. Gluten in bread can have a detrimental effect on your gut health, even if you don't suffer from gluten intolerance.
Peas - One of the newest probiotic discoveries is that of fresh green peas that were found to contain the probiotic bacteria strain Leuconostoc mesenteroides by a Japanese research team in 2013 . Leuconostoc mesenteroides are shown to stimulate Secretory IgA (SIgA), which is the immune protein that safeguards our mucosal surfaces from those harmful disease-causing bacteria. Green peas will only be effective as a probiotic if eaten raw, so add them to a salad if you want to benefit from the good bacteria you get from them.
Sometimes there is confusion regarding the difference between prebiotics and probiotics. It's quite simple; probiotics are the good bacteria in your gut and in the food items mentioned above. Prebiotics, on the other hand, are the fibers that healthy gut bacteria eat. These fibers can't be digested, so they remain in the gut, giving your beneficial bacteria something to feast on. If your diet is rich in vegetables, then chances are high that you are consuming many prebiotic food sources already. Nearly all fruits and vegetables contain the inulin, pectins, and resistant starch that a healthy gut requires, though some offer more benefits than others.
Here are some of the more powerful prebiotics that help good bacteria thrive:
Green bananas - Unripe green bananas are high in resistant starch, the stuff that those good gut critters crave . If you let the bananas ripen, they won't have the same amount of prebiotic fiber to be of any real benefit to your gut. Also, bananas are loaded with potassium, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. If you don't like to eat your bananas unripened, you can still get the same benefits from green banana flour, which is available widely and is also gluten-free.
Chicory root - With a flavor similar to coffee, it is often used as a caffeine-free substitute. With a prebiotic fiber content by weight of 64.6%, it's reputed to aid digestion and help with the relief of constipation. Another advantage of adding it to your diet is that it is high in antioxidants that help protect the liver and protect against free-radical damage.
Dandelion greens are rich in inulin fiber. You might find these weeds in your garden are if you do, they are definitely worth picking and adding to a salad or blending into a smoothie. This superfood, as well as being great for gut health, contains calcium, iron, and vitamins K and A.
Jerusalem artichoke - This root vegetable is full of fiber from inulin and is also loaded with potassium and iron; this is definitely one of the best prebiotics you can eat. To prepare them, you can cook them as you would potatoes, but they also can be enjoyed raw.
Onions - To get the best of their prebiotic benefits, then you need to eat them raw. Onions also are great for cardiovascular health and may even help boost your immune system.
Garlic- Just as with onions, garlic is a great prebiotic when consumed raw, but cooked garlic tends to have some gastrointestinal benefits. Garlic contains around 11% inulin fiber content and approximately 6% fructooligosaccharides.
Cooked potatoes, pasta, or rice ate cold - Your gut microbiota love resistant starch; by cooking these types of foods and then eating them cold, you'll be doing your gut a great benefit. A potato, pasta, or rice salad combined with some of the other tasty prebiotics or probiotics we've discussed can make a great healthy meal.
Bone broth is made from simmering the bones, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments of animals or fish. It has gained popularity in recent years for its overall health-supporting properties, one particular benefit being the role it plays in gut health. The many nutrients in bone broth, including seventeen different amino acids, gelatin, and glycine, help strengthen the intestinal barrier and mucus layer.
Bone broth can also positively affect your gut microbiota and support overall wellness. This is because the broth is full of minerals such as copper, iron, magnesium, zinc, and more. Add some healthy vegetables, herbs, and spices to the broth, and you have the perfect tonic for your digestive system. Bone broth can be purchased ready-made, but it makes more sense to make it yourself, since it is so easy and cheap. Just simmer some leftover bones in water for around 12 hours, with a little salt, and possibly apple cider vinegar as well.
Gut Healing Herbs
Here are some gut-healing herbs that you can add to your favorite foods or beverages for some extra goodness.
Turmeric - This Indian herb can be found appearing on pretty much any list of the top health-supporting superfoods. It may help soothe and balance the acids in the gut and improve your digestive system’s function. It can be consumed by using it to spice up your meals, sipped as a tea, or (most preferably) taken as a concentrated turmeric curcumin supplement.
Ginger - This is an excellent herb for gut health. You might have been given ginger ale to drink when you were a kid if you had an upset stomach, because it is soothing to the gut. Ginger can be added to food or consumed as a beverage, such as ginger tea. Ginger is also believed to improve the circulatory system, so the benefits are plentiful when it comes to this gut friendly choice.
Basil - This herb is one of the oldest known to man and goes back thousands of years. There are 35 different basil species, and it is grown and loved for its taste and health properties worldwide. It is said to help reduce and alleviate stomach cramps and upset.
Cinnamon - A sprinkle of cinnamon on your coffee or cocoa can be excellent for your gut health, providing relief from nausea and stomach upset .
Avoid Eating These Foods to Maintain a Healthy Gut Microbiome
Increasing your probiotic and prebiotic food intake or taking supplements is only half the battle. You’ll want to avoid certain foods (or at least moderate) to give the beneficial bacteria in your gut a fighting chance. The typical modern Western diet is full of foods that contain all types of harmful ingredients that aren't natural to our bodies. Educating yourself on the right and wrong foods to consume is crucial if you want to restore a healthy gut flora.
You might have noticed a trend in that most of the foods that we suggested to promote a healthy gut microbiome were the foods our ancestors ate, which are natural and nutritious. Processed foods are those that are loaded with various additives, chemicals, and preservatives, so that the shelf life of the product is increased. This might benefit the longevity of these food products, but they have the exact opposite effect on your gut microbiome.
These additives could be industrial formulations extracted from foods such as oils, fats, sugars, starch, or those synthesized in laboratories, such as flavor enhancers and colors. Processed foods are believed to disturb the gut microbiome and cause inflammation according to this research article from 2018 'The Western Diet–Microbiome-Host Interaction and Its Role in Metabolic Disease .'
Sugar and Artificial Sweeteners
As you probably imagined, sugar is going to turn up as one of the bad guys in this article, and you were certainly right. The bad bacteria in the gut flourish on a diet high in artificial sugar. Let's be realistic - we all enjoy a cake, chocolate bar, or ice cream from time to time, but the key is moderation. The worst sugars are those that have been refined, as well as the high fructose corn syrup that you'll find hidden in the ingredients in many food products these days.
The outlook on artificial sweeteners doesn't look rosy either. A study from 2018 found that six artificial sweeteners all approved by the FDA were discovered to negatively affect the gut microbiota of mice . Artificial sweeteners have been linked to a whole host of other conditions, such as stroke, dementia, and insulin resistance, so it is best to limit them as much as possible. We'd suggest trying to cut back on refined sugar or artificial sweeteners and replace them from time to time with more natural options, like honey or maple syrup. Not only will it benefit your gut, but it could aid in weight loss and do less damage to your teeth!
Soda is typically a highly acidic liquid form of candy unless, of course, it is a diet soda (and we have already talked about why these artificial sugars should be avoided). Soda drinks can affect your gut’s pH, killing the good bacteria and feeding the bad ones. If you like fizzy drinks, why not try healthy probiotic kombucha? You might be pleasantly surprised by how good it tastes.
Excessive alcohol consumption, as we are sure you are aware, can wreak havoc on your gut health. Still, it's not all bad, especially if you are a red wine drinker. Studies have found that red wine drinkers had a greater diversity of gut bacteria. It is believed that this could be down to how the polyphenols contained in red wine engage with the gut . As always, it's best to consume alcohol responsibly and in moderation if you want to keep your gut balanced and happy.
Antibiotics and Your Gut Flora
Antibiotics, since their inception, have saved many lives, and they have been a great addition to modern medicine. However, in more recent times, some doctors may be less discriminating in antibiotic use, sometimes prescribing when not truly needed. This can not only build up antibiotic resistance, but it can also do damage to the gut health of regular antibiotic users. According to the CDC, 30% of outpatient prescriptions for antibiotics aren't necessary.
Antibiotics have the potential to wreak havoc on your gut microbiome. They are indiscriminate in the bacteria they kill (meaning they kill bad bacteria AND good bacteria). Essentially, antibiotics don't see the difference between the good guys and the bad guys. Hopefully, they’ll treat the infection by killing off the harmful bacteria that have caused it, but unfortunately, the good gut bacteria will also pay the price. Because of this disruption in gut microbiota, the antibiotics can result in side effects such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, indigestion, nausea, and vomiting. Vaginal yeast infections are another common occurrence as a result of taking antibiotics. Some people are more susceptible to the effects of antibiotics than others.
So how long does it take for your gut health to recover after a course of antibiotics?
A study from 2018 found that it took gut health around six months to get back to normal after antibiotic use. The caveat here is that this research was carried out on healthy young adults and using a cocktail of specific antibiotics . Each and every person has a unique microbiome, will be taking different types of antibiotics, and will vary in age and overall health. For this reason, it is very difficult to put an exact time on how long an individual's gut flora will take to return to how it was in its pre-antibiotic state.
There is conflicting advice on taking probiotics during antibiotic treatment. Some doctors believe it is a help and suggest taking them 2 to 3 hours after taking the antibiotic to ensure they have the best chance of surviving. Other doctors believe it is best to wait until after the treatment has ended before taking probiotics. Be sure to speak to your personal physician for the best individualized medical advice when in doubt.
It is important to get on track and start replacing those good bacteria as soon as possible if you have taken antibiotics recently. This can be done by eating fermented foods, resistant starch, and high-fiber foods (in addition to probiotic supplements) to kick start the process. The bottom line is if you have a bacterial infection, then you are likely to need antibiotic treatment. But taking them unnecessarily may not only compromise your health, but could build up antibiotic resistance making future infections more challenging to cure.
How To Improve Your Gut Microbiome with Sleep
There are a wide range of studies being carried out to test how the gut microbiome affects our health. Research is showing that gut microbiome diversity facilitates healthier sleep .
Your gastrointestinal systems' health may cause insomnia and other sleeping disorders, or make an existing issues even worse. Studies on young adults who routinely had insomnia revealed that many had poor gut health, which caused changes in their body’s circadian rhythm. In addition, many of those tested also showed signs of anxiety, such as teeth grinding.
It has long been known that eating spicy or greasy food before sleeping can result in poor quality sleep. This is especially the case if you have acid reflux. People that suffer from acid reflux have a backwash of acid that travels from the gut into the throat. Not only can this cause nausea, but also heartburn and indigestion. These symptoms also tend to become worse when in a reclined or sleeping position. Avoiding greasy and spicy foods late in the evening is certainly the best strategy to improve your sleep quality, but consuming more probiotics and prebiotics will also help you circadian rhythm function properly, aiding restful sleep.
Sleep deprivation and poor gut health can also be a vicious cycle. Even if your sleep disorders initial cause wasn't related to your gut bacteria, if you don't get enough sleep, it soon will impact it (which could mean your sleep quality becomes even more disrupted). You may suffer from other health problems caused by the imbalance of bacteria in the gut. Along with diet and exercise, restful sleep is vital to our health and well-being. If you have fragmented sleep where you are continually waking up in the night, you will not get the right amount of deep restorative sleep that your body needs to function at it best.
Here are some ideas to add to your night-time routine that could help you sleep better:
Sleep in a dark room - Even the smallest exposure to light while sleeping can affect your production of the hormone melatonin that helps regulate your sleep. As soon as you finish dinner, dim the lights to help simulate the sunset outside, and you will soon begin the production of melatonin. Your body will be highly sensitive to any light source, so installing blackout curtains, removing light exposure from any LED lights such as alarm clocks, and glow from devices such as mobile phones or tablets, will help ensure your bedroom is totally dark. If this is difficult, then the easiest solution is to wear a sleep mask that blocks out all light. If you are a light sleeper and easily woken by noise, you can also wear earplugs.
Eat and drink early - We realize that some people have to work late, and it's not always straightforward to eat early in the evening, but if you can do it, It will ensure that you go to bed at night with the food in your gut fully digested. If you eat late, try for something light. This is because a big meal before sleep can make you uncomfortable and make your gut work overtime when your body should be at rest. Aim to avoid snacking and drinking coffee or alcoholic drinks late in the evening. It's probably best to go easy on all liquids before bed, as trips to the bathroom will be disruptive to your sleep quality.
Avoid stress triggers - Cortisol is the primary stress hormone, and if you are stressed, it will activate your 'fight or flight' response, keeping you alert and focused. Stressful feelings at night can cause stomach upsets or make you nauseous, constipated, or bloated. While many things can make us stressed, it could be advisable not to watch intense TV shows late at night or spend time checking our phone or upsetting news stories. Meditation before sleeping or a few light yoga exercises could help calm your nerves (and therefore, soothe your gut).
Sleep in a cool room - For optimal sleep, set the thermostat to 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit; it’s natural for temperatures to drop at night for both the outside environment and our bodies, so we should mimic our natural state as much as possible. Our sleep will be thrown out of balance if we are too hot.
Stress is Connected to Gut Health
Stress is strongly connected to gut health . If you are under a lot of stress, your brain goes into survival mode, also known as the 'fight or flight' response. This fight or flight response is designed to keep you safe in times of acute danger, but unfortunately, it responds to threats both real and imaginary, including many of the stresses of modern living. This threat response affects your body in many ways, such as making your heartbeat faster, dilating your pupils, and reducing blood flow to certain areas of your body (including your gut).
When the blood flow is reduced in your gut, it may result in beneficial bacteria in the gut being damaged or weakened. While a little stress does little harm, if you are always stressed and activating the acute stress response in your body, it can not only cause gut health issues, but potentially other serious complaints such as high blood pressure and heart disease.
If your gut health has been affected by stress, it can be evident in several ways. Symptoms that could manifest include lack of energy, problems sleeping, diarrhea, nausea, constipation, and even vomiting. Though inflammatory bowel disease and gastric ulcers aren't caused by stress, it can exacerbate them. In addition, emotional stress may cause excessive stomach acid production, which can cause bloating, nausea, and other uncomfortable symptoms.
To improve gut health and reduce your stress levels, you will need to take a two-pronged approach. The key is to tweak your diet and develop stress-reducing habits. When people are stressed, they often neglect healthy eating, for instance, eating junk food for comfort or being too distracted to prepare healthy meals. Stomach issues might even cause them to avoid eating altogether. So the first part of the equation is to add a few of the food items from our list of probiotics, prebiotics, and gut-friendly herbs and supplements, followed by finding ways to alleviate the issues.
Let's look at a few stress-busters that can help when times are tough:
Relax and unwind - We all have different coping methods that help us wind down after a stressful day. For example, many people enjoy a hot bath, adding some Epsom salts or essential oils like lavender or chamomile. Some people enjoy listening to soothing music, too, as well as journaling and taking a walk in nature.
Meditation - Once the domain of 'spiritual people' and New Age celebrities, meditation has now gone mainstream, as everyday more people discover its endless benefits. There is nothing mystical or complicated about it, and the biggest plus is that it is totally free. You can meditate sitting, standing, or lying down, just find a quiet and relaxing spot in your home and begin. There are plenty of free apps that offer guided meditations to follow along with an experienced meditator.
Yoga - Besides being a potent stress buster, yoga plays another positive role in your overall health by correcting the poor posture that can also be associated with poor gut health. If you spend much of the day in a chair hunched over a computer, it can put a strain on the internal organs, including the gut. Performing various yoga poses either in a class or at home can do wonders for emotional and bodily stress. If you are new to yoga, there are plenty of beginner-friendly videos free to watch on Youtube, and the equipment needed is very affordable. A similar pastime is Tai Chi that has comparable benefits.
In addition to a balanced diet and incorporating some of the stress-relieving techniques above into your life, it could be a good idea to examine the stressors in your life and understand how to cope with them. For instance, if you are someone who finds it hard to say no and is inundated with tasks you can't deal with at work, then it may be time to be more assertive and talk to your boss about your workload. You might want to explore therapeutic treatments such as hypnosis or cognitive behavioral therapy to retrain the brain to cope better.
Exercise for Better Gut Health
It seems that every generic health article you read will tell you to get more exercise if you want to stay healthy. So you've heard it all before, and you probably know that you should be exercising more. However, as this article is about restoring gut health and exercise is essential to the process, we can't neglect discussing it.
Several studies have shown that exercise can improve gut health. For instance, in one recent study, it was found that a group of participants who undertook a steady fitness program saw improvement in their gut microbiota after a period of six weeks. However, it was also the case that after six weeks of a sedentary lifestyle, the gut reverted to how it was prior to the exercise regimen .
Another benefit of regular exercise is regular bowel movements. When we exercise, our intestines get a workout too, naturally contracting so that waste will be efficiently passed through our gastrointestinal system.
So what sort of exercise is best?
It honestly doesn't really matter! Anything that gets your body physically moving is fine. There is no need to invest in a gym membership if you don't want to. A consistent brisk walk and some stretching should help. It's all about what works best for you and your personal needs. As we have previously mentioned, yoga is a great exercise to consider, because it is gentle on the body.
We hope that by now, you fully understand why it is so important to take care of your gut health. You might even have some of the symptoms of poor gut health but didn't even realize it until you read this article. Ensure that you take a holistic approach to your health, so that you can feel your best and enjoy the glowing health you deserve! Eat prebiotics or probiotics as part of your daily diet, try high-quality supplements (like our Primal Probiotics), get plenty of sleep, drink water, and work on reducing stress.
A good strategy is to make small changes to your lifestyle. Eating raw bananas by the bunch and attempting a marathon won't be sustainable or healthy! Enjoy walks in nature and add a few more of the right veggies to your diet, and you'll start to see positive results. It's all about moderation! Don’t deny yourself that slice of cake from time to time, but don't make it a daily habit either if you want to heal your gut.
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