Our bodies are incredible machines. From our heads to our toes, there are millions of tiny actions taken every day to keep us alive and doing the things we want to do. The gut plays an extremely important role in daily functions that is often overlooked.
The digestive system is referred to as our “second brain” in scientific circles. It has its own nervous system, plays a key role in immunity, and has great impacts on overall health. Here are some effective ways to improve your gut health and make your body machine a well-oiled one.
Add Fermented Foods to Your Diet
In recent years, there have been a lot of studies about the benefits of adding fermented foods to one’s diet. Fermented foods are a way to introduce healthy bacteria in the form of natural probiotics back into the gut without taking supplements. Probiotics play a significant role in digestive health and help eliminate anti-nutrients that block the absorption of vitamins and minerals.
There are a variety of fermented foods that have numerous benefits to the body, including sauerkraut, yogurt, and some cheeses. There’s also a lot of talk about kombucha benefits, a fermented drink that makes it easier to introduce probiotics into the diet. Unfortunately, fermented grapes in a glass have not made the list.
Eat More Fiber
Fiber has long been one of those topics of conversation that you expect to take place when you’re older. However, almost everyone should start incorporating fibrous foods into their diet from an early age. Not only does fiber aid with digestion, but it can also help with weight management by improving feelings of satiation after eating, as well as assist with lowering cholesterol.
The challenge with fiber is that in excess, it can cause gastrointestinal discomfort. Focus on eating a balanced diet of vegetables, fruit, and minimally processed (natural) food to get a healthy amount of fiber rather than trying to add it all into one meal.
Be Mindful of Antibiotics
Antibiotics are often over-prescribed, which has led to the development of “superbugs” like MRSA. It’s important to remember that taking antibiotics won’t help you get over a cold– which is a virus– or reduce the chances of spreading it to your neighbor. Discuss your options with your doctor when these illnesses arise.
If you have an infection that necessitates taking antibiotics, know that they don’t differentiate between the good and bad bacteria in your body. Therefore, you should focus on replacing the good bacteria in your gut by increasing your intake of probiotic food sources.
Drink More Water
Drinking enough water is one of the simplest things people can do for their overall health. However, it’s often overlooked or neglected throughout the day. Drinking water, especially during a meal, helps break down food more efficiently, increasing the absorption of nutrients. Drinking more water also helps with regulation and reducing bloat.
Water also helps flush toxins from the body more effectively. As digestion improves, things move more quickly. In other words, more water means the toxins and byproducts of digestion are removed from the gut sooner than they would be otherwise.
Get Enough Sleep
For some, getting enough sleep is one of the most challenging aspects of improving their health and wellness. This is especially difficult for those who have young children who are up throughout the night.
Sleep plays a significant role in hormone regulation, weight management, and ultimately how bodies and minds function day in and day out. Sleep deprivation can lead to a vicious cycle of not having the energy to exercise or make good food choices and creating hormonal disruptions that make sound sleep even more challenging the next night. Focus on creating a sleep routine that fits your lifestyle.
While scientists know that gut health plays a significant role in overall health, they have yet to understand the full potential of our second brain. Get ahead of the curve by working toward improved gut health today.