If you’ve been experiencing digestive problems such as increased bloating, sensitivity to certain foods, gas, or cramps, chances are your gut is in need of a bit of TLC. With bad gut health also linked to autoimmune disease, mental health problems like anxiety and depression, as well as food allergies, good gut health should be prioritised as a key part of your overall health.
You don’t have to drink gallons of Kombucha or live off a diet of fermented foods to increase the health of all that good bacteria in your stomach. Here are easy and simple 4 steps to take to work towards a healthier gut!
Increase plant-based fibre intake
We all know fibre is good for us, as its predominant function is aiding in regulating bowel movements, ensuring everything moves smoothly through our digestive system. However, that’s not the only function of fibre—some fibre sources are also prebiotics. This means that they feed the good bacteria in our gut. Foods high in inulin, a form of soluble dietary fibre naturally found in garlic, onions, lentils and oats, should be a vital part of your diet, though there’s a gentle balance to be struck with amounts. While eating sufficient fibre is important, it’s also important not to eat too much fibre, as it can result in loose stools and diarrhea.
Take probiotics and eat probiotic-rich food
Probiotics are important for gut health because different probiotics target different aspects of gut health. It also helps to create a protective lining in the intestines, as well as shields it against pathogenic factors, such as salmonella and E.coli. It’s also proven to increase antibodies and lead to a stronger immune system. While there are lots of probiotic supplements out there, it’s still recommended that you get your probiotics through whole foods or fermented food, such as kimchi, kombucha, yogurt, and tempeh.
Reduce refined-sugar intake
Refined sugars already play the bad guy in many situations, but here’s one other reason you should purge it from your diet if you haven’t already. Refined sugars have been linked to Candida, as the sugar stimulates the growth of bad bacteria that eats away at your gut lining. Too much fructose has also been found to have an inflammatory effect on the gut lining, leading to chronic illnesses like leaky gut, SIBO, and Crohn’s disease.
Ever heard of the brain-gut connection? Turns out our gut is actually sensitive to emotion, meaning that what we feel can actually be “felt” in our gut—this is why we can feel butterflies in our stomach! The connection goes both ways so a person’s gut distress could be the cause or the product of stress or mental health problems. Excess anxiety has also been linked to reducing the diversity of bacteria in the gut, as well as harming the good bacteria. Exercise, meditation, and aromatherapy are great ways to reduce and manage stress.
It’s important to note while these are all steps to aid in better gut health, remember to make gradual lifestyle changes in order to make them sustainable and to not shock your system.
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