Our gut is as complex as it is important. Keeping our digestive health in tip-top shape is vital to not only help us feel good but also help our wellbeing long-term. Research has shown that gut health and microbiota that reside in the gastrointestinal tract provide essential health benefits to the immune system, mental health, skin conditions, and more. Even with so many necessary benefits, gut health isn’t as often considered when it comes to proper nutrition and health and wellness practices. And, yet, it affects so much of our body’s functions.
How can you tell if your gut health is out of whack?
If you’re feeling a little out of sorts, there’s a possibility it may be related to your gut. This may be coming to head in the form of an upset stomach, whether nausea, bowel issues, or maybe food intolerances. You may also see signs of gut issues come out externally, in areas like your skin. Skin conditions like eczema may also be tied to a gut problem. A poor diet or allergies can cause gut inflammation leading to a “leaky” gut, or a gut that is more permeable, causing bacteria, toxins, or food waste to leak through. Certain proteins can leak into the body which can irritate the skin.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to give your gut a boost and treat your gastrointestinal system with care. Here are five tips.
1) Adjust your diet
Changing your gut health can often begin with what you’re putting inside it. Processed foods, high sugar, and foods high in fat can often lead to poorer gut health. Reducing those and sticking with whole, cleaner options is a good start. Then, add good fiber to increase positive digestive movement and flow. Most people don’t get nearly enough of the recommended daily amount of fiber in their diets. Women should aim for 25 grams of fiber per day, and men should aim for about 38 grams. And, average adults eat only 10 to 15 grams per day, according to Harvard. Adding items broccoli, beans, whole grains, and fruits will offer the gut that added bulk to keep its microbiome healthy and thriving.
2) Get enough, quality sleep
Lack of sleep contributes to a host of health problems and getting enough quality sleep can really help turn things around. But, most people aren’t aware that lack of sleep is also associated with your gut, and it can actually have an effect on your gut microbiome diversity. Those who experience better quality sleep tend to have a more diverse microbiome, which can promote better quality health and help to avoid other health conditions associated with poor gut health.
3) Add probiotics to your routine
Probiotics are live microorganisms that are intended to have health benefits when applied to the body. These bacteria live naturally in the digestive system and contribute to healthy gut flora. These are good bacteria, and they aid in digestion and keep your gut working smoothly. Probiotics can be found naturally in yogurts and other fermented foods — like Kombucha — or in a dietary supplement.
4) Drink more water
Many irregularity issues can be solved by looking at hydration levels. Many people generally don’t drink enough water each day, which can contribute to a variety of issues, including digestive challenges and bowel irregularity. Many health authorities recommend drinking eight 8-oz glasses of water per day. More likely than not, you’re not drinking enough water. So, increasing your H20 intake may help your digestive system flow more easily.
5) Boost digestion with a tea
If you’re in need of a boost, grab a few easy ingredients, water, and a pot, and brew yourself a tea filled with herbal ingredients that provide a variety of health benefits, including digestive help. One detoxifying recipe takes fresh ginger, lemon and turmeric to a pot, boil, and steep for 30 minutes. Then, cool slightly and sip. Turmeric is praised for reducing inflammation and ginger is known for supporting digestion. Ginger also can help reduce nausea and settle the stomach if you’re feeling a little queasy. But, if brew-it-yourself tea isn’t quite up to your alley, there are plenty of gentle herbal blends at the store to try.
Whether looking to maintain health and wellness long-term, lose a few pounds, or improve digestive regularity, maintaining gut health is necessary to feel good and staying well.