Eat a Wide Range of Foods
Your body relies on a wide variety of nutrients to remain healthy, which means you need to eat foods from all the food groups. This creates a diverse microbiota for your body. Typically, you’ll want to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, some dairy products, healthy proteins, and whole grains. However, it is a good idea to avoid gluten. Found in many foods, gluten can worsen symptoms of Celiac disease and tends to cause digestive problems even in those who don’t have a diagnosed gluten sensitivity.
This doesn’t mean you need to avoid grains altogether, though. You can still eat quinoa, rice, sorghum, and many other grains. The big question people ask is if oats are gluten free. The answer is a strong maybe. Naturally, oats do not have gluten. However, when packaged in processing plants, there is often cross-contamination. Look for products that specify being gluten-free to better protect your gut health.
Boost the Amount of Probiotics You Consume
Probiotics are essential for a healthy gut, but most people don’t consume enough of them. There are foods to add to your diet to help your consumption, such as fermented vegetables, kombucha, sauerkraut, and miso. However, if you have trouble consuming them via your diet, you can also purchase supplements at most drug stores or grocery stores.
Avoid Artificial Sweeteners When Possible
While artificial sweeteners are typically touted as a healthy replacement for traditional sugar, some research studies disagree. Some show that artificial sweeteners such as aspartame increased blood sugar and reduced insulin response in rats. They also had higher amounts of Enterobacteriaceae and Clostridium, both of which can lead to disease in high numbers. Another study also found that aspartame raised blood sugar in mice and humans alike, which negatively affected gut microbiota.
Try To Reduce Your Stress
Of course, reducing stress is easier said than done, but it is important to do what you can to ease some of it. Too much stress is bad for your mental health and your physical health, including your gut. In animals, psychological stressors have been known to disrupt the microorganisms in their intestines. In humans, any type of stress can negatively affect gut health, including not getting enough sleep or dealing with extreme temperatures or noise. Try to exercise regularly, eat right, and sleep at least eight hours a night to ease your stress. Other options include deep breathing exercises, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation.
Avoid Unnecessary Antibiotics
Too often, people think that as soon as they start feeling poorly, they should take an antibiotic. Unfortunately, this can do more harm than good. Antibiotics only work for bacterial infections, and overuse is a common problem. Taking them when you don’t need them causes the bacteria in your body to build up an immunity to them, making it harder for antibiotics to work when you do need them. Using antibiotics can damage the gut microbiota for six months or longer after use, which is another reason to avoid them unless necessary.
You already know that smoking is bad for your heart and lungs and increases the risk of developing cancer. What you might not realize is that it’s also bad for your gut health. Research published over a period of 16 years found that smoking increases potentially harmful microorganisms in the intestinal flora while deceasing beneficial ones at the same time. Over time, smoking can lead to a range of intestinal problems, including inflammatory bowel disease.
Improving your gut health is essential for enjoying a long, healthy, and active life. Start now and soon you’ll find you have more energy, sleep better, and feel healthier.