Gut health refers to having an appropriate balance of microorganisms and bacteria in the digestive system.
In the human intestines, there are 200 or more distinct species of microbes. They are microorganisms in the digestive system that include bacteria, fungus, and viruses.
These microbiomes present in the gut can help you establish a robust immune system, fewer mood swings, and healthy digestion with a happy heart and brain.
Gut microorganisms are helpful to our bodies and necessary for a healthy body and life.
Gut Microbiomes are the bacteria and microorganisms present in the gut and they are 40trillion microorganisms, more than 200 different species of microorganisms live in our gut.
Importance of Gut health:
- Your gut acts as your second brain.
- A healthy gut means a healthy you.
- The gut digests the food you take.
- It absorbs nutrients and fiber and helps you maintain your body.
- Your immune levels depend on your gut health.
If you notice any rectal bleeding, abrupt weight loss, changes in bowel movements, discomfort in stool passage, or severe anemia, consult a doctor right immediately.
Your gut microbiota will be impacted by intestinal inflammation and acute gastritis.
Gut health should never be jeopardized.
What To Eat to Improve Gut Health?
You must consume a diverse range of foods that are high in whole foods, as this will result in a diversified microbiome that will benefit your general health.
The greater the variety of species of bacteria in the body, the better for your gut health. Different bacteria species are found in the intestines, and they require different nutrients for growth, therefore you must eat a variety of foods to enhance your gut health.
A healthy diet that includes a variety of foods can result in microbiomes made up of several species.
Plant-based foods include more nutrients that are needed by intestinal flora. Sugary and highly processed foods have fewer nutrients.
Vegetables and Fruits
Plant-based foods are excellent for maintaining a healthy microbiota.
Fruits and vegetables are excellent providers of nutrients not just for our bodies but also for the health of our microbiomes. Fiber is abundant in plant-based foods.
We are often reminded that fiber in food is difficult to digest and takes a long time to absorb. But have you ever wondered why they still recommend eating foods high in fiber? This is because the bacteria in your stomach can digest the fiber and use it to proliferate. To increase your gut microbiota, it is recommended that you consume foods high in fiber, such as beans and legumes.
Raspberries, artichokes, green peas, pistachios, broccoli, chickpeas, lentils, beans, whole grains, bananas, and apples are high-fiber foods that are beneficial to your gut bacteria.
A specific bacterial species called Bifidobacterium, which developed in conjunction with high fiber, will assist in preventing intestinal inflammation and improving gut health.
Fermented foods are beneficial for gut bacteria, fermented food enhances the function of the microbiome and reduces the disease-causing bacteria in the intestines.
Fermented food undergoes a fermentation process and in the fermentation process, the sugars present in it will be broken down by the yeast and bacteria.
Fermented foods are helpful to gut bacteria; fermented foods improve microbiome function and lower disease-causing bacteria in the intestines.
Fermented foods go through a fermentation process in which the sugars in them are broken down by yeast and bacteria.
Gut flora will benefit from kimchi, pickles, and yogurt. Lactobacilli are found in the intestines of people who consume yogurt on a regular basis.
People who drink yogurt on a daily basis will have lower levels of Enterobacteriaceae. Plain yogurt is preferable, as store-bought yogurt is generally heavy in sugars.
The gut flora would help you with inflammation and other chronic conditions. Intestinal bacteria will be improved, the lactose intolerance will be reduced.
In the fermented foods try having yogurt, pickles, kimchi, tempeh, soy milk, etc.
Prebiotics and Probiotics
Prebiotics are non-digestible carbs, taking prebiotics helps in the multiplication of useful bacteria in the gut.
Fruits, vegetables, whole grains asparagus, chicory, banana, garlic, and onions contain prebiotics. Resistant starch is also a prebiotic, and it is not absorbed by the small intestine, the microorganisms will break it down and will use it for the growth of microflora.
Prebiotics help in the growth of the bacteria in the gut. The human body cannot digest fiber and complex carbs but still, it is beneficial to have food rich in fiber and complex carbs. The bacteria present in the gut will break them and use them for their growth.
Prebiotics promote the growth of many different beneficial gut bacteria.
Prebiotics helps the probiotics to be tolerant to gut ph and temperature changes.
In obese people, prebiotics will help in reducing insulin resistance, triglycerides, and cholesterol levels. Prebiotics will be helpful in the prevention of diabetes and heart diseases.
Infant Gut Bacteria
It is always recommended to breastfeed infants from the hour they are born. An infant fed with breast milk will start developing a healthy microbiome. The infant microbiomes are full of bifidobacteria, these bifidobacteria can digest the sugars present in breastmilk.
In the initial years, the infant gut flora continuously increases in breastfed infants, and the gut is rich in bifidobacteria. With healthy gut flora in kids, it will be helpful for infants to fight against many deadly diseases and health conditions in the future.
Polyphenols are digested by gut bacteria. Polyphenols are hard to digest. Polyphenols can increase the bifidobacteria and lactobacilli and they reduce the clostridia.
With lower levels of triglycerides and c -reactive protein it will reduce inflammation and heart-related issues.
The whole grains contain some complex carbs which the human body cannot digest but the gut flora would break these complex carbs and use them for the growth of gut microbes. These beneficial microbes help with metabolic health. Whole grains are rich in non-digestible carbs and fiber. They have beta-glucan which is not digestible in the small intestine so as the carbs are not absorbed in the small intestine, they make their way to the large intestine and promote the growth of bacteria in the gut.
You can even take a supplement to improve your gut health. When a person is ill, and the doctor prescribes antibiotics there is a chance that your gut bacteria will be reduced or they may be affected, in such cases, doctors usually prescribe a probiotic drink. This probiotic supplement would help you by providing antibiotic-associated diarrhea.
What To Avoid Doing to Improve Gut Health
Alcohol usually leads to inflammation of the intestines and gut; it usually disturbs the gut microbiome. It is better if you can quit or limit the alcohol intake if you wish to have a healthy microbiome in your gut. Excessive alcohol intake may lead to heartburn, ulcers, and gut discomfort. It will lead to severe gastritis in a few people. So, if we don’t want to disturb the microbiome it is better to avoid alcohol.
Smoking affects the gut microbiome.
Smoking not only affects the health by causing lung cancer and gastritis, but it will also lead to intestinal inflammation, throat cancer, and many other deadly diseases. Regular smokers would alter the intestinal flora.
In smokers, we observe that the harmful microbe levels would increase decreasing the useful microbes the intestinal flora is altered which would lead to inflammatory bowel disease.
A healthy gut means a healthy immune system, so don’t let the bad habits affect your overall health.
High sugar intake will help the yeast to grow, which would disturb your gut flora. High sugars, processed foods, and packaged foods disturb the gut flora.
Artificial sweetener bacterial strains are linked to metabolic diseases like diabetes and heart issues.
High sugar intake will lead to an imbalance in the microflora of the gut called gut dysbiosis.
Too much stress and strain will disturb the gut microbiome. You need to reduce stress not just for your health but for your gut health.
Gut health can be affected by psychological stress and even environmental stress.
Sleeplessness also will disturb the gut microbiome.
The circadian rhythm should not be disturbed, when it is disturbed, it affects the health as well as the gut health.
To keep the stress at bay practice breathing techniques, meditation, hearing to music, and yoga will help.
Research and studies showed that muscle relaxation techniques will help greatly in reducing stress and having a good night’s sleep.
Reduce stress by doing meditation and pranayama-like breathing exercises.
Good food and diet will help in reducing stress.
Did you even know disinfectants can show an effect on gut flora? It is proved in a study that people who use disinfectants regularly are prone to obesity and type two diabetes. Even in kids, it is shown that kids at a very young age are prone to high Body mass index and obesity issues.
Lachnospiraceae microbes are found in higher levels in the gut of people who used disinfectants.
No Antibiotics or NSAIDs
Antibiotics as already discussed will alter the gut flora, so it is always advised to take antibiotics only when required.
NSAIDs are painkillers which would reduce pain and inflammation. The Gut lining will be affected by the NSAIDs and antibiotics too.
Certain people have the habit of using painkillers frequently. Pain killers irritate the intestinal lining, leading to bleeding of the intestine too.
So, it is recommended not to use painkillers and antibiotics regularly.
Avoid laxatives as they may disturb the gut flora. Being constipated seems to be difficult but using laxatives often will disturb the gut flora. A rich fiber diet, good sleep, and workouts will help you overcome your constipation problem.
When you have a problem try making lifestyle changes.
Lifestyle Changes to Improve Gut Health
Regular workout is important not only for you to stay healthy but for your gut bacteria as well. A regular and intense workout will bring diversity to the gut bacteria. Studies showed that there is an increase in gut bacteria. It is seen that people who are slim and fit have a more diverse microbiome in a regular aerobic workout than people who are obese.
Good Sleep for the Microbiome
A human being requires sleep of eight hours to maintain good health, stress-free life. Good quality sleep will improve health, mood, concentration, and gut health as well.
Irregular sleep will lead to an increase in inflammatory conditions, lack of concentration, and many health conditions.
It’s always good to lead a life within a circadian rhythm. Eat healthily on time and do not eat just before going to bed. Make sure to eat at least two hours before going to bed.
Good lifestyle changes can increase the diversity of good microbes in your gut.
Good health comes from a healthy lifestyle, and good gut health means a healthy immune system that will protect you from many systemic conditions.
It is very important to maintain the diversity in the microflora. Have probiotics, prebiotics, and food rich in fiber, and polyphenols. Avoids anything which affects the gut flora as smoking, alcohol consumption, and stress. Sleep deprivation would also show an effect on gut flora so, give proper rest to the body, seven to eight hours of sleep is recommended in adults. Use antibiotics only if required.
A healthy lifestyle change can be achieved through following a good diet which will enhance your gut flora, good sleep, meditation, and exercise. Probiotic supplements are to be taken only on doctors’ advice. Doctors usually prescribe one when you are under a prescription of antibiotics.