Feeling bloated, constipated or just generally concerned about your digestive tract? Luckily there are plenty of ways you can naturally restore your gut health with certain foods and healthy habits your lifestyle may be missing.
First, let's dive into, what exactly does a healthy gut entail?
A healthy gut means you have an appropriate balance of microbiomes and bacteria in your digestive tract. Yes, you actually need bacteria in your digestive tract. It's not the "bad" bacteria you are familiar with, but "good" bacteria that is necessary for fighting off toxins.
So, what is healthy bacteria?
Believe it or not, there are certain bacteria that our bodies need for digestion, weight management, and to support a healthy life. Keeping the good bacteria balanced in your gut is essential.
Because the gut is so closely connected to your immune system, keeping your gut healthy means you're helping to promote your general wellness too.
One gastroenterologist, Sabine Hazan, M.D., found that "a healthy gut means you have a stronger immune system, a better mood, effective digestion that’s free of discomfort and a healthy brain and heart."
Consider the following 5 tips to keep your gut healthy this summer!
1. Take a Probiotic Supplement
Probiotic supplements are popular among the health community because they are known to restore gut health by giving microbiota within the gut an extra boost.
The Primal Probiotic helps to promote healthy inflammatory response, modulate and support immune responses and encourages the growth of "good" gut bacteria.
Considered a superior species of Lactobacillus probiotics, Bacillus coagulans create beneficial “spores” that, when combined with your stomach acid, can grow and multiply in the intestines. Primal Probiotic include the patented form of Bacillus coagulans known as LactoSpore®, which has been clinically-backed in over 20 studies to promote a healthy gut microbiota, ease digestive distress, and support healthy organ function.
Adults, as a dietary supplement, take one capsule daily, preferably with a morning or afternoon meal, or as recommended by your healthcare provider.
For best results, combine with a healthy routine that includes balanced meals, exercise, water, and plenty of rest.
It's always best to consult your physician when adding a new supplement to your diet.
2. Eat Fermented and High Fiber Foods
One sure fire way to clean your gut and keep the bacteria balanced is to incorporate both fermented foods and high fiber foods into your meal plans. And as always, it's important to consume fruits and vegetables every day. Shopping for colorful produce is fun!
Fermented foods contain microorganisms that convert the natural sugars found in foods, such as lactose, fructose, and glucose, into lactic acid through a process called Lacto-fermentation. This process helps to preserve the food and enhance its micronutrient properties at the same time. Fermented foods are an important part of a healthy diet because you are adding to that healthy bacteria that is so important to keep in your belly.
Also known as ‘roughage’, fiber is a type of carbohydrate found in certain foods. Good sources of fiber include foods like certain fruit and vegetables, whole grains, cereal fiber, oat bran, beans, nuts and seeds, and legumes. Fiber rich foods are easy to find and are super tasty!
For a deeper understanding check out our article on fermented foods and the importance of fiber.
3. Cut Back On Alcohol
You’re probably aware of many of the reasons consuming alcohol is bad for your health. For gut health in particular, drinking alcohol, especially in excessive amounts, can negatively affect your microbiome and lead to long term issues such as chronic discomfort, ulcers and intestinal inflammation.
Overdoing it with alcohol can potentially affect the permeability of the intestinal walls, allowing toxins and other "bad" bacteria in. Your gut microbiome is a delicate system, so when it is upset by outside toxins your digestive health may end up paying the price.
Alcohol can also cause you to sleep poorly. It's actually a myth that a glass of wine or a beer to calm down before bed makes for a better night's sleep. Any alcohol in the system can affect your REM movement and leave your body dehydrated throughout the night. Getting a good night's sleep is one of the most important aspects of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Overall, excessive alcohol use may negatively impact your digestive health, deplete your body of hydration, and affect your sleeping patterns negatively. If you are serious about restoring your gut health, it might be a good idea to reassess how much alcohol you consume per week.
Eating processed foods can also have a harmful impact on your gut health in the long run. It's generally best to stick to fresh, whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and unprocessed food. We're not saying you can't still enjoy the occasional treat - but everything in moderation. Take a look at our Greens recipes if you need some inspiration.
4. Drink Plenty of Water
Other than daily exercise, drinking enough water is one of the most important habits for good health. It may seem like a no brainer, but many people do not drink the recommended amount of water they should be consuming per day.
On average, women need to consume about 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) a day. For men, it is recommended as 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) a day. People get busy and, understandably, forget to meet these needs. Keeping a water bottle on hand is a good first step to increasing your water intake.
For good health, it's so extremely important to stay hydrated. Your digestive system will thank you!
5. Reduce Stress Levels
This may sound easier said than done, but there are ways to reduce and improve your overall stress levels. Money, relationships, work deadlines, life changes, etc. can become burdensome and cause worry. We can’t escape these parts of our lives, we can only learn how to deal with them better. Recognizing when your body is stressed is a crucial first step.
How can you recognize signs of stress?
When you undergo a difficult situation, your body to releases chemicals and hormones that make you feel tense. So really, what you want to be aware of is what challenges you may be facing and how your body is responding to them. Feeling anxious, having a hard time sleeping or eating regularly, or just generally feel unmotivated are usually good indicators.
When you encounter temporary stressful situations, you may experience an increased heart beat and feel your fight or flight response rising. Your adrenaline will spike and you may find it hard to breathe. These are more immediate signs you are entering a stressful situation. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to calm yourself down and manage your stress before it becomes long term.
Natural Stress Relievers
Other than getting a good night's sleep, eating right, and exercising daily, there are few natural ways to relieve stress. Have you thought about incorporating CBD oil into your daily vitamin intake? CBD is used by some people to help promote feelings of calmness and relaxation.
Daily meditation is another way to find relief. Meditation focuses on breathing patterns and teaching thoughtfulness. This will allow you to slow down your breathing and in turn, will relax your body and mind.
Journaling can also help keep your thoughts from scattering and becoming overwhelming. By taking a few minutes a day to write out what is on your mind, you will instantly feel lighter and more relaxed.
We hope these tips help you understand the importance of keeping a healthy gut and will keep you moving toward your health goals! For more information on gut health check out our related blog posts.
DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVORITE TIPS TO BOOST YOUR GUT HEALTH THIS SUMMER? SHARE AWAY IN THE COMMENTS BELOW OR FOLLOW AND TAG US ON OUR SOCIAL CHANNELS. WE CAN'T WAIT TO HEAR FROM YOU!
IT'S ABOUT YOU. IT'S ABOUT YOUR HEALTH. IT'S ABOUT RECONNECTING.