Gut health is a popular topic these days, but is it really that important? It’s easy to forget that nutrition really does play a vital role in your overall health, and it starts in your gut. Without the ability to efficiently and effectively process food, your body cannot get the nutrients it needs to feel its best and function properly. For these reasons, it’s important to take steps to support your gut so you can maintain a healthy digestive system.
1. Consume More Probiotics
Believe it or not, not all bacteria are bad. Many are quite beneficial and play an essential role in maintaining balance in your gastrointestinal tract while contributing to your gut’s flora. Much of it enters through the mouth and makes its way to the stomach. A good balance of healthy bacteria can help to support a normal gut flora to help you feel on top of your game.
Probiotics are healthy bacteria that help promote gut health. Most people do not consume enough of these in their diets, so a supplement may be beneficial. You can also increase how often you eat foods that are rich in beneficial bacteria, including:
You can also consume more foods and products that support your natural supply of healthy gut bacteria, such as whole grains, chickpeas, raspberries, lentils, and certain probiotic supplements.
2. Eliminate Problem Foods
Some foods can lead to inflammation or irritation in the digestive system, causing bloating, irregular bowel movements, indigestion, and discomfort. You can prevent this by limiting or avoiding foods that are notorious for causing digestive upsets. Dairy products tend to be some of the worst offenders, along with cruciferous vegetables, beans and legumes, and wheat products. Some experts recommend adhering to a FODMAP diet to keep digestive irritation to a minimum.
It’s also wise to limit foods that have little to no nutritional value to the body or can be harmful in large amounts. This includes foods that are high in sugar, sodium, and trans or saturated fat. Fast food, packaged processed foods, and deep-fried foods often fall into this category and should be avoided or only enjoyed on rare occasions.
3. Add More Fiber to Your Diet
Fiber is excellent for your digestive system for many reasons. First and foremost, it helps keep you regular by encouraging healthy bowel movements. It also has a satiating effect and helps you feel fuller longer, so you’re less likely to overeat when you add it to your diet. Fiber is also important because it helps support your gut’s natural bacteria. Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are all excellent sources.
Fiber is also added to many foods to improve their nutritional profile. You can even find fiber supplements to help keep your digestive system moving. Take care when consuming fiber from unnatural sources though. Too much can lead to cramping and an upset stomach.
4. Keep Your Body Moving
Exercise plays an important role in the health of many important body systems. In terms of digestion, it helps promote circulation to all of the organs involved in the process, keeping things productive and efficient. It also helps prevent constipation, which can lead to a host of issues and can even be dangerous if left untreated. Exercise can look very different from person to person, but most people need at least 30 minutes of moderate to intense activity three times a week. Always get medical clearance before you start a new exercise program.
5. Get Plenty of Sleep
Getting a good night’s rest is a simple way to support your digestive system. First, make sure you’re getting the recommended amount of sleep on a regular basis. Also, keep in mind that certain positions help support better digestion through the night. Sleeping on your left side allows gravity to help move things naturally through your system. As an added bonus, it can also help keep snoring to a minimum.
Your gut health affects your entire body, so it’s worth prioritizing. These tips are a good starting place to keep your guy happy and healthy.