Your gut is the fuel tank of the body. If you feed it the right kind of food, it will function perfectly. But, if you give it things it does not like, you’re bound to experience all kinds of illnesses and symptoms. If you’re reading this post, chances are you want to improve your gut but aren’t sure where to begin.
Well, with this beginner’s guide, you’ll have a structure to stick with in terms of things to avoid and follow. You should be able to make a lasting positive impact on your stomach health if you can follow these tips.
But, before we talk about the dos and the don’ts, let’s take a look at some of the symptoms of an unhealthy gut:
- Digestive Issues
- Hormonal Imbalances
- Mood Swings
1. Enjoy a Wide Variety of Foods
Eating a rainbow of vegetables and fruits is another excellent thing. One way to judge whether or not you have a good produce in your kitchen is to look at the stock and check if you see a variety of colors. If it doesn’t look bright enough, go and buy as many varieties as you can. Limiting your food options is just as bad and consuming unhealthy foods. So, enjoy colorful foods and a variety of it.
2. Avoid Stress
Studies show that there’s a strong link between stress and chronic gut issues. If you do an honest self-assessment, you’ll notice that your gut issues probably started with the onset of some kind of trauma which led to persistent stress. Check out this clinical study for instance. Therefore, it’s a good practice to indulge in lighthearted activities like spending time with a pet or friends. Watching fun stuff on the TV is another good thing. Laughter therapy is also an excellent alternative. In short, a happy disposition will keep gut issues at bay.
3. Get Exercises
Most people don’t exercise because they set too big a goal. Instead of aiming for big, try to incorporate whatever form of exercise you can into your routine. To that end, brisk walking, yoga, stretching exercises, and even dancing are all excellent options. The idea is to get some kind of movement every day; not just once or twice a week.
4. More Sleep
Research suggests that people who are chronically sleep-deprived are more likely to experience gut issues. Most of us haven’t had a good night’s sleep in a long time. If you can relate to it and find yourself constantly battling with some or the other gut issue, it’s about time you paid attention to your sleep patterns. Do you have a healthy sleep pattern where you have a good 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep? If not, make it a priority to get the rest your body needs and you should notice a huge change in your gut health.
5. Take a Prebiotic or Probiotic
Probiotics are essentially fermented foods that have gone through a process wherein they become loaded with the live-bacteria strains that resemble the microbes residing in our gut ecosystem. If you’re lacking a variety of those microbes, it’s a good practice to include probiotics in your diet. You get a bundle of options to pick from such as kimchi, kefir, miso, yogurt, sauerkraut, and pickled veggies.
While probiotics increase the microbial ecosystem, prebiotics feed them for healthy growth so the bacteria can function better. Examples of prebiotic foods are leafy greens, bananas, berries, artichokes, spinach, etc.
1. Avoid Processed Foods
While this is a no-brainer and you’ve probably already heard it a million times, not many people take this seriously. While it can seem impossible to avoid processed food all the time, you should try to limit its intake as much as you can. Stick with home-cooked and fresh food. Processed foods are loaded with unhealthy fats and laden with all kinds of chemicals that our bodies simply don’t know how to handle. Cutting back on processed food is a good place to start with.
2. Consume processed sugar and junk food
Beverages like sodas are loaded with all kinds of chemicals and processed sugar that can lead to insulin resistance and eventually cause diabetes. Additionally, all junk food does is load up your system with toxins and chemicals that the body is trying so hard to get rid of. They can also increase the population of pathogens and bad bacteria that feed off of you and cause inflammatory conditions like IBS, Crohn’s disease, diarrhea, constipation, and even autoimmune conditions.
3. Give Up on Sweets
While it may seem like a natural instinct to give up sweet stuff altogether when you’re on a health kick, we don’t recommend you do that. Instead of giving up all-things-sweet cold turkey, it’s wiser to find a few good alternatives to make-up for what you’re ditching. To that end, 100% natural stevia is an excellent option.
4. Avoid Smoking and Alcohol
Smoking and alcohol can exacerbate any preexisting gut condition that you may have. And so, while we don’t recommend avoiding alcohol for good, mostly because it’s not feasible for the majority, it’s good to consume alcohol only occasionally. The same goes for smoking. Cigarettes are loaded with thousands of chemicals that can hurt your gut lining and can cause gut dysbiosis. It can be brutal for the ecosystem of your gut.
5. Consume unnecessary antibiotics
Antibiotics work by disrupting the gut ecosystem. They can take a major toll on the working functionality of your stomach and intestines. But, while you need antibiotics for some conditions, talk to your doctor and see if they can prescribe you something milder. You should also try to find herbal alternatives to antibiotics and avoid them as much as you can. Consuming antibiotics unnecessarily can irritate the stomach lining and in the long-run, it could cause irreparable damage to the intestines and the gut.
Now that you know the dos and the don’ts of gut health, you know where to start. In the end, you should know that maintaining gut health is a life-long process that demands ongoing attention. But, if despite all efforts condition still persists – talk to a doctor.