How to improve gut health naturally is a question frequently pondered upon by many.
Have you heard of the mind-gut connection? You must have experienced butterflies in your stomach before a speech or rumbling in your stomach when anxious or stressed, proving our mind and gut are strongly interconnected.
The human gut has a range of diverse microbe which controls digestion, assimilation, immune system and maintains overall health.
The microbiome of healthy people is unique, just like their fingerprints. A healthy gut guarantees good overall health.
The gut microbiome should have the right balance of the different bacteria, which aids digestion and absorption. Gut health affects blood sugar levels, the immune system, mental health, and the liver.
1) Symptoms of Unhealthy Gut Health
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1.1) Stomach Upsets
If you frequently have stomach upsets like diarrhea, constipation, gas, or bloating, you are suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). These health conditions are related to the large intestine. The imbalance in gut bacteria, called dysbiosis, is mainly responsible for developing IBS.
Fatigue is tied with gut health. An unhealthy gut leads to exhaustion; it can further cause Chronic fatigue syndrome(CFS) if not treated.
1.3) Gaucher Disease
Understanding inflammation is important to tackle Gaucher’s disease. Inflammation is the body’s immune response to harmful bacteria and viruses. When the body notices the signs of intrusion, such as bacteria or viruses, it attacks the intruder by swarming the area with immune cells. The inflammation calms down within a few hours or a few days and gets back to normal.
Chronic inflammation develops when the body cannot resolve the issue of inflammation. Chronic inflammation develops symptoms of Gaucher disease, which include-
- Swollen belly
- Low platelet count
- Bone pain
1.4) Unwanted Weight Gain or Weight Loss
The imbalance of bacteria in the gut deteriorates intestinal health and results in the malabsorption of nutrients. Weight gain or loss is due to overgrowth of undesirable bacteria in the gut or lack 0f nutrients.
1.5) Crohn’s Disease
It’s a type of inflammatory disease caused due to chronic inflammation in the digestive tract. This disease leads to diarrhea, anemia, and weight loss.
1.6) Lowered Immunity
Frequent constipation, bloating, diarrhea, and gas degrade your immune system. The good bacteria protect you from inflammation to keep your immune system healthy.
If your body exhibits any of the above symptoms, it’s high time you look for ways to improve gut health naturally.
2) How to Improve Gut Health Naturally
- Probiotic food
- plant-based foods
- Balanced diet
- fruits vegetables
2.1) Top Foods that Answers how To Improve Gut Health Naturally
1) Probiotic-rich foods repairs your gut health
Probiotic is the combination of live good bacteria and yeast. The gut bacteria has both good bacteria and bad bacteria. The good bacteria kills the bad bacteria and hence restores gut health.
Probiotic is live bacteria that supplement the gut microbiome. It also improves the microbial balance of the gut flora. Probiotic health benefits are –
- Maintaining a healthy immune system.
- Improves the digestive system.
- Absorption of nutrients, the bioavailability of nutrients.
- Alleviating inflammation.
- Helps with irritable bowel syndrome.
- Managing blood cholesterol and hyperlipidemia.
Below is the list of probiotic foods which are capable of answering how to improve gut health naturally-
- Yogurt – fermenting milk with Lactobacillus bacteria and bifidobacteria.
- Kefir- Fermenting kefir grains with cow’s milk. Kefir is not a grain but a culture of lactic acid bacteria with yeast.
- Sauerkraut- fermenting cabbage with lactic acid bacteria.
- Tempeh- fermented soybean dish.
- Pickles- Cucumbers fermented with salt and water.
- Kombucha- fermented green tea or black tea.
- Natto- A soybean product.
- Miso- Japanese dish, soybeans fermented with salt and a type of fungus called koji.
- Kimchi- It’s a fermented spicy Korean dish made from cabbage.
If you want to know How to improve gut health naturally, don’t miss out on prebiotic foods in your diet.
Are the probiotic and prebiotic foods the same? Well, the answer is ‘no.’ The prebiotic food contains the live strain of good bacteria, whereas the prebiotic foods have fibers that act as fuel for healthy bacteria.
Prebiotic food has fibers or complex carbs that human cells can’t digest; instead, it is the food source for healthy gut bacteria.
Here are some top prebiotic foods-
- chicory roots
- Dandelion greens
- whole grains
- Jerusalem artichoke
2) Whole Grains Improve Digestion
Whole grains like wheat, oats, barley, and maize for loaded with nutrients and vitamins. Helps with constipation by softening the stools, thus improving digestive health. The fibers in probiotics are fuel for the beneficial gut bacteria.
Today people are looking for gluten-free options. A gluten-free diet is not good as gluten acts as a probiotic.
Skipping gluten can negatively affect the gut microbiome. You can opt for a gluten-free diet only if you are allergic to gluten or have intestinal inflammation. As wheat and barley contain gluten, substitute it with oats, quinoa, millets, and rye.
3) Green Leafy Vegetables Are Fiber-Rich
Green leafy vegetables are loaded with fiber, vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, folate, and antioxidants. Research shows that the sugars in leafy greens help feed the gut’s healthy bacteria.
4) Lean Proteins for Bodybuilding
Lean protein is rich in protein and low in fats. The fats contract the intestine, leading to problems like gas, bloating, and ultimately deteriorating digestive health.
The animal source of lean protein-
- Plain Greek yogurt
- Skinless white meat poultry
- Low-fat cottage cheese
Plant source of lean protein-
- Beans, peas, and lentils
5) Banana Neutralizes Stomach Acid
The banana is low sugar and low acid fruit. It neutralizes stomach acid to relieve you from problems like acidity and heartburn. Its insulin content promotes the growth of good gut bacteria.
6) Guavas Are Gut-Friendly
Guava is gut friendly fruit. Rich in fiber, minerals, and vitamins. It’s a laxative and helps smooth the passage of stools. Guava is extremely beneficial to restoring overall digestive health.
7) Chia Seeds Are Fiber-Rich
Chia seeds are at the top of high-fiber foods. It forms a gel-like substance in your stomach upon ingestion.
It contains probiotics and supports essential gut microbes, hence helping in constipation.
8) Yogurt is the best probiotic supplement
How to improve gut health naturally? The answer is to start your day with a bowl of yogurt. Yogurt is one of the best probiotic supplements. Enhances the essential healthy gut bacteria. It strengthens the digestive tract and boosts the immune system.
9) Dark chocolate is gut-friendly
Hunting for how to improve gut health naturally? Well, the good news is that tempting chocolates, too, are gut-friendly.
Recent research suggests that dark chocolate offers gut health benefits. Gut bacteria ferment the fibers and antioxidants in cocoa.
10) Ghee (clarified butter) for smooth digestion
Ghee is the most treasured food in Ayurveda. Easy to digest, stimulate the digestive fire and boost metabolism. It has beneficial gut bacteria, and its butyric acid content helps to strengthen the gut lining.
Ghee is anti-inflammatory and helps in IBS and Crohn’s disease. It has short-chain fatty acids called butyric acid, which keep the colon healthy.
3) 14 Hacks on How to Improve Gut Health Naturally
Naturally, these hacks work best if you are puzzled about how to improve gut health.
3.1) Eat fermented foods for better gut health
Yogurt is the top-notch choice when it comes to fermented foods. It supplements the beneficial bacteria and is key to a healthy gut.
3.2) Stay hydrated
Drink plenty of water. Water helps to break down food and increase absorption. Drinking water 30 minutes before meals are recommended to improve digestion.
3.3) Eat food slowly for better digestion
Your digestion process starts from your mouth. The saliva produces during chewing signals the upper muscle of the stomach to relax for easy passage of food. Finely chewed food makes digesting food easier and thus reduces the load on the digestive system.
3.4) Healthy foods determine your overall health
How to improve gut health naturally? Your diet answers it all. You need to correct your diet first, as the diet has the main role in gut health. Poor diet impairs gut flora composition, which in turn impacts your health.
Diet must include fermented and fiber-rich foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, beans, and whole grains. You should essentially pick low-sugar content fruits like bananas to avoid problems with bloating, gases, or abdominal distention. Eat raw salads or steamed veggie salads as they are easier to digest.
3.5) Diverse food is equal to a diverse microbiome
Recent research suggests that having a diverse range microbiome is considered healthy as its diversity makes the gut microbiome more healthy and resilient. Diversity benefits gut health because bacteria have various roles in our gut.
A diverse diet results in a diverse microbiome; thus recommended to include various types of food in your diet.
3.6) Exercise regularly for a diversified microbiome community
Exercise must not be skipped if you are looking for ways to improve your gut health naturally.
Regular Exercise is imperative for a healthy gut. It helps to diversify a healthy microbiome. The studies show that the diversified microflora improves the development of commensal bacteria, which improves gut health. It helps in both digestive and mental health.
3.7) Your sleep pattern affects your gut microbiome composition
A study published in PLoS One 2019 examined and quantified sleep with the gut microbiome. It studied 26 adult males and examined their sleep efficiency and duration. A study showed that sleep is correlated with gut microbiome composition, cognition, and immunity. To sum it up, good enough sleep equals a healthy gut.
3.8) Go for a vegetarian diet
The diet pattern influences the composition of gut microbiota. The study shows that people having a plant-based diet have a broad range of gut microbiota. The prebiotic effect produced by dietary fiber induces diversity in gut microbiota.
3.9) Stress management for both gut health and mental health
Stress, diet, and mood independently or mutually impact the gut microbiome. High-Stress levels can also alter the metabolic responses to ingested food. Even mild Stresser leads you to make unhealthy food choices.
Stress and depression increase the permeability of the gut lining to produce a ‘leaky gut. ‘Leaky gut’ allows bacteria to seep and circulate in the system to trigger the inflammatory response; it can further cause chronic inflammation if overlooked.
Stress management is crucial for gut health. Practice meditation and other relaxing therapies to lower your stress levels.
3.10) Probiotic supplements are not always the right idea
A probiotic supplement adds good bacteria to your gut microbiome.
They are made from bacteria and yeast. Lactobacillus and bifibacterium are commonly used supplements.
Supplements should not be the only source of probiotics. You should prefer taking the probiotics through probiotic foods like yogurt, preferably plain greek yogurt, sauerkraut, pickles, and kefir.
3.11) Say No to Artificial Sweeteners
Searching for ways to improve gut health naturally? Then say no to artificial sweeteners.
Diabetic patients take artificial sweeteners to add sweetness devoid of calories. People without people with diabetes consume sweeteners to promote weight loss.
Unfortunately, synthetic sweeteners change the composition of the gut flora. When ingested, unabsorbable sweeteners create an imbalance in the gut microbiome. Thus consuming artificial sweeteners daily can cause numerous health-related issues like constipation, diarrhea, nausea, IBS, anxiety, troubled sleep, chronic liver disease, and weight gain or loss.
3.12) Go for Healthy Lifestyle Habits
Maybe your unhealthy lifestyle habits have brought you here to answer on how to improve gut health naturally.
The lives of people have become more sedentary and stressful. The lack of physical activity is detrimental to gut health as physical activity helps good bacteria thrive.
Nowadays, people tend to become more westernized; they are making food choices that are more westernized. Westernized food comes with more processed foods, loads of processed sugar, high animal protein, and is devoid of fibers. Western food is less diverse and thus not favorable for a healthy gut.
3.13) Antibiotics Kill Good Bacteria
Taking antibiotics can kill bacteria in your gut. It alters metabolic activities and makes the gut flora less diverse.
3.14) Seek Doctors Help
If an impaired gut affects your everyday life, seek a doctor’s help.
The Bottomline for How to Improve Gut Health Naturally
If you are looking for how to improve your gut health naturally, a healthy diet is key. Eat Prebiotics foods as it fuels a healthy gut flora. Therefore include probiotics in your diet daily and eat fermented foods. Include lots of greens in your diet.
Practice yoga and Exercise daily to diversify the gut bacteria. Take enough sleep. Perform meditation and relaxing therapy to relieve stress. Stay away from artificial sweeteners and antibiotics.
Hope the article has given you a glimpse of how to improve your gut health naturally.