You’ve probably noticed that gut health is getting a lot of attention these days. And not just from health gurus and influencers. There’s a lot of positive attention from the scientific community too.
So, what’s the best way to jump on this trend without having to take supplements, or try anything you may consider to be, shall we say experimental.
The good news is improved gut health isn’t that hard to achieve. And today we’ll keep it natural. No pills, no strict dieting.
If you want to make some informed changes to your lifestyle without having to go cold turkey on some of your favourite foods or stressing about the contents of a meal at a restaurant, then this is for you.
Here are 7 ways to naturally improve your gut health.
1. Cut down on junk food
This is a no-brainer. Fried foods are a sworn gut health enemy and you’ll want to limit them as much as possible. Why? Fast food is full of highly processed fats and sugary foods which negatively affect the balance of good bacteria in the gut microbiome. This study confirms the link between gut health and inflammatory foods – and points to the fact that eating a fruit and vegetable-rich diet stimulates a healthy gut ecosystem.
2. Drink enough water
The gut microbiome is a highly complex system with millions of bacteria doing their part to identify and eliminate pathogens, viruses, and bad bacteria. And sometimes, it’s the simple things that matter most – like drinking enough water during the day to keep your system healthy and hydrated.
3. Keep up regular exercise
Regular exercise has many well-known benefits for health in general. But why gut health? Studies show that keeping active can reduce obesity and maintain good heart health – both of which are important for a healthy gut. Getting a sweat on is always good news for the body – as it also gets a chance to release toxins and gain strength and resilience.
4. Optimise your sleeping habits
There’s nothing more natural than a good 7 hours of sleep. And the good news is getting the right amount – which is potentially more than you do now – will have a positive impact on your gut health. Research suggests that there is a strong link between the microbiome and a person’s sleep and circadian rhythm. Making sure you get enough shut-eye also balances out your hormones which are closely related to the gut.
While the amount of sleep is important – it’s also good to observe good sleep habits – like making sure you don’t go to bed stressed and keeping a balanced rhythm throughout the day.
5. Eat probiotics
A healthy gut can easily be boosted by introducing more probiotic-rich foods into your diet. But what do we mean when we say probiotics?
Probiotics are full of good bacteria and yeasts that help populate your gut microflora with all the natural goodness that it needs to operate at full steam. Here are some examples of probiotic-rich foods to get your hands on:
- Natural yoghurt
Including more probiotic-rich foods in your diet can also be a fun activity at home – with the right vegetable fermentation equipment you can make your own sauerkraut, kimchi, or even vegetable pickles.
6. Reduce stress
Stress is a bad sign for gut health. Research shows that psychological stressors have a negative effect on gut microbiota and can cause disruption which leads to a shift in your intestinal bacteria. It doesn’t sound glamorous – and the reality is no different.
Try to rest when you’re tired and avoid working long hours if you’re feeling burnt out. Your gut will thank you, and so will your mood.
7. If you don’t need them – stay away from antibiotics
Antibiotics are important. But not when you’re relatively healthy – and can easily recover with more natural alternatives. Antibiotics work by killing all the bacteria in your body – and unfortunately, that means all the good ones get thrown out too.
If you’re after a more natural way of boosting your gut health – it’s best to steer clear of heavy antibiotics – where more natural alternatives would suffice. Always consult with a professional medical professional before you make this decision.
Your body has all the tools to support a healthy gut – you just need to feed it the right food and provide the right environment to let it get on with the job of keeping you healthy.
And whether you’re on the mend after a spot of illness, or looking to shift gear into a healthier lifestyle, improving your gut health through natural means is an excellent starting point.
All change starts with small steps – so try as many as you can. Ultimately, good gut health depends on a variety of factors – and it’s up to you to get started.