Restore gut health back to fighting shape with just some small lifestyle and diet changes. Keep reading to find out more.
In this article:
- Identify and Eliminate
- Diversify Your Diet
- Eat Plenty of Plant-Based Foods
- Load up on Fermented Food
- Avoid Sugary Foods and Artificial Sweeteners
- Eat Polyphenol-Rich Foods
- Take Herbal Remedies and Supplements
- Breastfeed up to Six Months
- Avoid Stress
How To Restore Gut Health in 9 Easy Ways
1. Identify and Eliminate
The saying goes: You are what you eat. So, if you’re eating too much food you’re intolerant to, it takes a toll on your body.
An unhealthy gut can lead to weakened immunity. This can result in a proliferation of bad bacteria in your gut, leaving you more vulnerable to disease.
To restore gut health, you must identify what part of your diet and/or lifestyle needs some minor changes. Slowly wean yourself off foods like sugar, wheat, dairy, and spicy foods.
The best way to go about this is to visit your doctor or nutritionist. That way they can pinpoint which specific foods you should avoid or eat less of.
You can also try gauging it on your own. Does eating too much sugar make you feel sluggish, or having too much-processed food leave you feeling bad?
Eliminate foods you’re sensitive to for about 10-28 days. After that, you may slowly start reintroducing them.
2. Diversify Your Diet
Your gut is home to hundreds of bacteria species. Each of them plays varying but important roles in your gut, and they require various nutrients to be able to flourish.
The more diverse your gut flora, the better. Meaning, the more species of good and friendly bacteria living in your body, the more health benefits you can reap.
Eating a diverse diet rich in different food types is the only way to diversify gut flora. But in many Western countries like the United States, diets are not diverse enough and focus mainly on sugary and fatty food, which studies suggest have an adverse impact on immune function.
3. Eat Plenty of Plant-Based Foods
Plant-based foods such as beans, legumes, fruits, and vegetables are essential to restore gut health. This is because they are high in fiber, most of which your body cannot digest.
But undigested fiber is the favorite meal of good gut bacteria. They digest the fiber, which helps them grow and flourish in your gut.
Plant-based foods are also an example of prebiotic foods. Their undigested fibers are also known as prebiotic fibers, which are what feeds the good bacteria colonies.
Here are some examples of plant-based foods you should eat to restore gut health:
- Whole grains
4. Load up on Fermented Food
Foods that undergo fermentation often involve bacteria. They convert sugars into acids or alcohol.
This fermentation process also results in probiotics. They are live bacteria that, upon consumption, move into your intestines and contribute to a healthy gut.
Here are some examples of fermented foods that contain probiotics:
These foods also contain high amounts of various lactobacilli species. Lactobacillus species are known to help prevent the occurrence of diarrhea, and can even help improve symptoms of lactose intolerance.
Bifidobacterium is another beneficial bacteria present in many fermented dairy products. They help ease irritable bowel syndrome and live in the large intestine where they help fight off harmful bacteria.
5. Avoid Sugary Foods and Artificial Sweeteners
Diets high in both natural and artificial sugars can lead to a decrease in good bacteria living in your gut. Once your gut flora is out of balance, sugar cravings may kick in, which makes things worse.
There are already so many dangers associated with high fructose corn syrup. Because of this, it may be best to limit its intake or to avoid it completely.
Artificial sweeteners are also a surprising culprit in weaker guts. They may help with weight loss, but may still lead to increased blood sugar levels and impaired insulin response.
6. Eat Polyphenol-Rich Foods
What are polyphenols? Compounds that give many plants their naturally dark color. They also have many health benefits that include management of inflammation, lower cholesterol levels, and less oxidative stress, among others.
And because the human body is unable to digest some polyphenols, they go straight to the colon. There, they are digested by the gut bacteria.
Examples of foods rich in polyphenols are:
- Red wine
- Green tea
- Dark-skinned grapes
- Cocoa and dark chocolate
The polyphenol compounds in cocoa, for example, helps increase bifidobacteria as well as lactobacilli. But this in no way is a go-signal to gorge on chocolate candy bars, because those are full of sugar.
Opt for dark chocolate that is at least 60% cocoa.
7. Take Herbal Remedies and Supplements
Sometimes it may seem impossible to eat fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. This is where supplements and herbal remedies come in.
Herbal remedies function as medicine. They help heal the gastric lining the same way medicines heal skin wounds.
Omega-3 fatty acids and licorice root are some examples of herbal remedies that help improve gut health.
Taking a probiotic supplement may also help restore gut health. Supplements such as BIOHM Probiotics, for example, contain 30 million active cultures.
Taking one probiotic supplement a day can help repopulate colonies of friendly bacteria in your gut. They can also help break down digestive plaque and help restore gut balance and health.
8. Breastfeed up to Six Months
For lactating mothers, it’s important to keep breastfeeding infants for at least six months after birth to establish a good microbiome foundation for the baby’s gut health. This is because the microbiota in a baby’s digestive system will start forming as soon as the baby passes through the birth canal.
For a baby’s first two years, their good bacteria will continue to develop. They are particularly full of bifidobacteria, which simply digest away sugars in breast milk.
Studies show that breast milk is better at improving microbiome composition than milk formula. Breastfeeding also provides many additional benefits, such as reduced risks of allergies and chronic diseases.
9. Avoid Stress
When you experience high levels of tension or anxiety, your brain goes into stress mode, which affects blood flow to your digestive system. This is the reason why your immunity and digestive health seem to take a plunge when you’re under a lot of stress.
While gut bacteria can help your body cope with stressors, overloading it with stress can erode the composition of good gut bacteria. A 2011 study shows that constant and consistent stress can actually kill off and lessen the diversity of gut flora.
The less good bacteria in your gut, the more exposed it is to bad bacteria. Once the bad bacteria start proliferating, you start feeling sick.
Combat stress by taking a step outside and taking a walk. Not only will fresh air and nature give feelings of calm, but exposure to minute amounts of microbes in the air and the soil act as training sessions for our immune systems.
It also helps to dose up on probiotics when you’re stressed, so reach out for that yogurt instead of that tub of ice cream. Studies done on some of the most stressed out individuals in the world (medical students) indicate that sipping on yogurt drinks relieved abdominal dysfunction caused by academic stress.
Now that you know how to restore gut health, find out how to boost it with these three simple steps from BIOHM Health:
As humans, we have this urge to keep ourselves as far away from bacteria as possible. But even bacteria have their functions, especially your gut bacteria.
Is your gut happy and healthy? Tell us how you do it! Let us know in the comments section below!