10 Steps to Improving your GUT HEALTH
Gut health refers to the balance of microorganisms that live in the digestive tract. Looking after the health of the gut and maintaining the right balance of these microorganisms is vital for physical and mental health, immunity, and more.
These bacteria, yeasts, and viruses — of which there are around 100 trillion — are also called the "gut microbiome" or "gut flora."
Many microbes are beneficial for human health, and some are even essential. Others can be harmful, especially when they multiply. The Medical Medium explains " without candida in the system, a person would die. Candida is constantly trying to save your life by absorbing any food or debris in your body that could feed streptococcus, E. coli, Epstein-Barr, shingles, or any other harmful virus, bacteria, or toxin. When candida in the system is forced to gobble up too much of the offending food and debris while trying to protect you, an overgrowth of candida occurs."
Here are 10 ways to improve the gut health, your microbiome and enhance your overall health.
1. Take probiotics and eat fermented foods
To boost the beneficial bacteria, or probiotics, in the gut, some people choose to take probiotic supplements available in health food stores, drug stores, and online.
Research suggests taking probiotics can support a healthy gut microbiome. Fermented foods are a natural source of probiotics.
2. Healing Foods
Medical Medium explains how celery juice is essential for rebuilding hydrochloric acid and overall gut health. He recommends drinking 16oz of freshly juiced celery juice with nothing added on an empty stomach each morning when you wake up. He says this can start to turn around gut issues and calm an inflamed liver. Anthony William (the Medical Medium) explains that Aloe Water is anti-viral and anti-bacterial. He explains that it goes after harmful bacteria in the intestinal lining and helps to lower the build up of bad acids. In addition to celery and aloe water, he shares how phenomenal papaya is for your body and gut health. He believes papaya soothes the nerves and is wonderful for anyone suffering from any viral, neurological problems irritating your nerves or affecting your intestinal tract. He says that wild blueberries, oranges, spinach, all varieties of lettuce, sprouts, sweet potatoes, fresh mint, ginger, and lemon water are all great additions to your everyday diet and if you are looking for something to drink he feels that peppermint and ginger tea are two healing drinks you can enjoy.
3. Eat less sugar and sweeteners
Eating a lot of sugar or artificial sweeteners may cause gut dysbiosis, which is an imbalance of gut microbes. Research has indicated that artificial sweeteners can negatively impact blood glucose levels due to their effects on gut flora which may increase blood sugar. A 2015 study suggested that the standard Western diet, which is high in sugar and fat, negatively affects the gut microbiome and can influence the brain. Another study reported the artificial sweetener aspartame increases the count of some bacterial strains that are linked with metabolic disease. Fruit sugars are natural and taken at the right time and with the right amounts can be a positive addition to your health and your gut fora. We recommend aiming to remove processed sugar from your diet and indulge rarely maybe only when its your favorite sweet.
4. Reduce stress
Everyone encounters stress in the daily lives. It could be as simple as a quick road rage experience to paying bills or even greater. Doing things to help you de-stress at the end of your day are vital for many aspects of your health, as well as your gut health.
Studies have suggested that psychological stressors can disrupt the microorganisms in the intestines, even if the stress is only short-lived.
In humans, a range of stressors can negatively affect gut health, including: psychological stress environmental stress (extreme heat, cold, or noise, lack of sleep, disruption of the circadian rhythm).
Some stress reducing techniques can include meditation, a hot bath, natural oils, a massage, workout, deep breathing exercises, and playing with or hugging your pet.
5. Avoid taking antibiotics unnecessarily
Your doctor may express it is often necessary to take antibiotics to combat bacterial infections, but it has been said that overuse can possibly lead to antibiotic resistance.
Antibiotics are also damaging to the gut microbiota and immunity, with some research reporting that even 6 months after their use, the gut still lacks several species of beneficial bacteria.
According to the CDC, doctors in the United States prescribe around 30% of antibiotics unnecessarily. As a result, the CDC recommend that people discuss antibiotics and alternative options with their doctor before use. Rebuilding your healthy gut after you take prescribed medicine is key to keeping your health optimal.
6. Exercise regularly
Exercising contributes to good heart health and weight loss or weight maintenance. Research has also suggested that it may also improve gut health, which may, in turn, help control weight.
A 2014 study found that athletes had a larger variety of gut flora than non-athletes.
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week, along with muscle strengthening activities on 2 or more days each week. A few examples of exercise activities could be: pilates, yoga, spinning, hiking, soccer, basketball, tennis, weights in the gym, swimming and many more. We recommend trying to find something that pulls you off the couch and makes you excited to workout.
7. Get enough sleep
Getting quality sleep can improve people's moods, cognition, and believe it or not their gut health. A 2014 study indicated that irregular sleep habits and disturbed sleep can have negative results on the gut flora. It may also increase inflammatory conditions.
Aim to establish healthy sleep habits by going to bed and getting up around the same time each day. It is recommended that adults should get at least 7 hours of sleep per night. If you are having a hard time falling asleep we have loved the app HeadSpace for years and they give you guided sleep music to help us fall asleep or you can always go to YouTube and type in sleep music in the search tool to find one that resonates with you.
8. Use different cleaning products
Everyday we are smothered with smells t hat cross our paths. Too much perfume, disinfectant, scented candles and cleaning products. Just as antibiotics can disrupt the gut microbiota, so too can disinfectant cleaning products, according to the results of one study. A study in 2018 analyzed the gut flora of over 700 infants ages 3–4 months and the researchers found that those who lived where people used disinfectant cleaning products at least weekly were twice as likely to have greater levels of Lachnospiraceae gut microbes, a type associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes. At age 3, these infants had a higher body mass index than children without exposure. There are so many affordable natural cleaning products on the market now that should not tax your body or your gut either in your local supermarket or online.
9. Avoid smoking
Smoking affects gut health as well as the health of the heart and lungs.
A 2018 study published over a 16-year period of findings and it showed that smoking alters the intestinal flora by increasing potentially harmful microorganisms and decreased the levels of beneficial ones. We know that smoking can be toxic to the human body but these effects may also increase the risk of intestinal and systemic conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). If you are looking to stop smoking we applaud you! There are many support groups you can find online to help you through this new chapter of your life that your body will thank you for.
10. A vegetarian diet
Studies have shown the results of vegetarians and a significant difference between the gut microbiomes of those of people who eat meat. There are many experts that explain how a vegetarian diet may improve gut health due to the high levels of prebiotic fiber it contains.
For example, in one study, people with obesity followed a strict vegetarian diet that eliminated all animal products, for 1 month. At the end of the study, the participants had lower levels of gut inflammation due to the altered types of gut microbes and they also lost weight. If you are looking for information on how to eat a vegetarian diet you can look at: Medical Medium, Mark Hyman, Sugar Taco, Tawny Raw, and so many amazing chefs, content creators, ambassadors and health experts.
Maintaining a healthy gut contributes to feeling better, achieving a better resistance to fighting off germs, possibly a better intimate experience and a stronger immune function.
By making the lifestyle and dietary changes needed, people can increase the range and amount of microbes in their gut.
Positive changes one can make include taking probiotics, following a fiber-rich vegetarian diet, drinking celery juice first thing in the morning, and avoiding the unnecessary use of antibiotics and disinfectants.
Getting enough sleep and exercising regularly are lifestyle additions that can help your body heal and strength the flora in your gut. We do recommend if you plan to make any changes to your diet you speak to your doctor to ensure you are following a healthy plan they agree with and can help you achieve.
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