Many people may not realize how much our gut health really influences our entire well-being. Your gut microbiome is an ecosystem of microbes that inhabit the digestive tract. It consists of a variety of bacteria, as well as fungi and viruses, that carry out vital roles to keep your body functioning properly. When that microbiome isn’t balanced things can get pretty hairy. You may experience many issues like inflammation, disease, and even mental health issues. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your gut is working as optimally as possible. The good news is that when things do get out of balance there are things you can do about it. These 10 simple ways to restore your gut microbiome are all you need to start.
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10 Simple Ways To Restore Your Gut Microbiome
1. EAT A BALANCED DIET
Studies show that a diet consisting of different food types can lead to a diverse microbiota in your gut. So it’s a good idea to ensure that you eat foods rich in as many nutrients as possible. Foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, and beans are all rich in fiber. Fiber promotes the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, including Bifidobacteria. Bifidobacteria helps to prevent intestinal inflammation and also enhances your gut health.
High-fiber foods include:
- Whole grains
- Green peas
- Beans (kidney, pinto, and white)
You should also add foods to your diet that contain Polyphenols. These are plant compounds that help to reduce blood pressure, inflammation, cholesterol levels, and oxidative stress.
Polyphenol-rich foods include:
- Dark chocolate
- Red wine
- Grape skins
- Green tea
So as you can see you can still indulge in some of your favorite guilty pleasures such as chocolate as long as it’s dark chocolate. And things like red wine, in moderation, of course. Or you can opt to have that soothing cup of green tea.
2. AVOID SUGAR
Another important way to restore your gut microbiome is to avoid foods containing sugar. Especially if that sugar is artificial. Artificial sweeteners may negatively affect blood sugar levels due to their effects on the gut microbiota.
Some fruits are indeed high in sugar such as bananas, oranges, mangos, cherries, kiwi, grapes, pomegranates, litchis, passionfruit, and guavas. So if you suspect your gut flora is out of whack consider eliminating or reducing your consumption of these specific fruits for a while.
3. ADD FERMENTED FOODS TO YOUR DIET
You must’ve heard of foods like kimchi or sauerkraut, right? These are fermented foods that have been preserved in a special way. The process of fermenting usually involves bacteria or yeasts that convert the natural sugar in these foods to organic acids or alcohol. These foods are rich in lactobacilli which is a type of bacteria that can benefit your gut health. This beneficial bacteria can lower inflammation and the occurrence of chronic diseases.
Fermented foods include:
4. SUPPLEMENT WITH PROBIOTICS
Probiotics live in your gut and they consume parts of your diet that your body can’t digest. So if you’re low in probiotics in your system you can experience digestive issues such as bloating, gas, constipation, and even diarrhea. I dunno about you but that doesn’t sound like fun to me.
Certain life choices like a poor diet or even health issues that require treatment with antibiotics can rid your body of probiotics. I definitely know something about that. In the last year, I had to take a number of antibiotics and they left me with a pretty bad gut microbiome. Needless to say, I had to fix that. So I started taking probiotics every day and I am now finally starting to feel better, months afterward, mind you. Therefore I highly recommend you start taking them even before starting an antibiotic or at least right when you do so. Continue taking the probiotic for a least a month or so after finishing the antibiotic.
5. ADD PREBIOTICS TO YOUR DIET
I‘ve known about probiotics for a long time but I had no idea how important prebiotics were. These actually work together. I found out that prebiotics are fermentable fibers found in our diet, including inulin, other oligosaccharides, and resistant starch. They actually act as food for the probiotics because they stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria and therefore help to restore your gut microbiome. Who knew? And like all types of fiber, they resist our body’s digestive enzymes. Wow, how interesting.
You can eat foods rich in prebiotics like fruits, veggies, and whole grains I’ve mentioned before. And you can also add resistant starch to your diet. This starch is not absorbed in the small intestine. It actually passes into the large intestine where it is then broken down by the microbiota. It is the type of starch our ancestors used to eat but modern diets are generally void of any of it.
I found a great prebiotic supplement called MS Prebiotic which comes from gently dried, peeled potatoes and contains this awesome resistant starch. And it’s the only supplement-grade source available on the market today. I’ve now been using it on a consistent basis for about a year and I have to say it’s really helping me feel less digestive issues such as bloating, gas, and constipation. And the good news is you can get 25% off your order when you use my code: SAVVYDREAMER. So take advantage today.
It comes in a white powder that can be totally dissolved in any lukewarm liquid such as water, or juice, or added to a smoothie or even a salad. By the way, drinking liquids that are too cold is actually hard on your stomach. MS Prebiotic is low FODMAP, Non-GMO, Keto, and Paleo Friendly, certified Gluten-free, and free of dairy. The single daily dose contains 7g of insoluble fiber. It’s also made in Canada, eh?
6. GO EXERCISE
W e have all heard that living a sedentary lifestyle is detrimental to our health. Right? But did you know that not getting enough exercise can be bad for your gut health? Indeed it can. Just getting 20 minutes a day of some sort of exercise such as going for a walk, jogging, practicing yoga, or even dancing is all you need to have a more diverse gut microbiome. Sounds easy enough. I mean we’re not talking here about training for the Olympics. It’s pretty simple and easy to accomplish. Your gut will thank you for it.
7. GET ENOUGH SLEEP
Getting out there and moving around will also help you get some much-needed zzzs when you hit the sheets at night. After all, you will be more tired and therefore will be able to fall asleep a lot faster. Sleep is so important. It’s the time your body needs to rejuvenate. You need to follow your body’s circadian rhythm which follows a 24/7 schedule. If you’re not getting proper sleep your body won’t have enough time to rest after digesting all the foods and nutrients you have eaten all day. And that’s not going to make your gut very happy. Now is it?
8. FAST FOR 12 HOURS
Speaking of sleep, it’s actually a great idea to give your gut plenty of time to rest after all that digesting throughout the day. Digestion takes a toll on your system and you wouldn’t want to overwork it. The more you eat the more your body needs to digest. So having that snack at midnight and then eating right when you wake up at 8 may not be the best for your gut. Try having at least 12 hours between your last meal of the day and your breakfast. This will actually help strengthen the gut lining of your microbiome.
9. REDUCE STRESS
There is a body-mind connection you may not be aware of. Did you know that stress can negatively affect your gut health as well? Your microbiome influences not only your intestines but also your brain. So if your gut isn’t happy, you won’t be either. Stress can reduce the abundance of important probiotic bacteria like lactobacillus. Your gut microbes can affect your stress levels such as cortisol and even your mood swings.
Getting rid of stress isn’t always easy. I know a thing or two about that. The last two years of my life have been very stressful. I find that doing physical exercise as I mentioned before can greatly increase my mood. I love to go for walks, practice yoga, and try to keep in touch with a friend or two. This much-needed stress relief is imperative to staying sane, especially during challenging times.
10. GET A PET
Speaking of stress, having a pet also relieves stress. We recently got a cat and just spending time with him calms us down a lot and makes us really happy. Animals can also expose us to different bacteria which can be beneficial to our health. They have their own microbiome that exposes us to some good bacteria that can rub off on us. So petting Fido or Dusty is not only soothing for the soul but can make our gut happy too. If these aren’t enough reasons to get a pet I dunno what is. Haha.
Me and our cat Mayu
Restore Your Gut Microbiome – Conclusion
It’s pretty much unavoidable that sometimes things can get out of whack when it comes to our gut health. Perhaps you went through a traumatic time in your life and your stress levels were elevated. Or you had surgery or some other medical issues that put you on a course of antibiotics. Or maybe you weren’t paying too much attention to your diet being busy and all. It’s okay. You need to tell yourself that.
Why? Because there certainly are simple ways you can restore your gut microbiome and get back on track. Make sure you eat a diverse diet rich in many nutritious and gut-friendly foods like fruits, veggies, grains, and probiotics. Avoid sugar as much as possible. Supplement with pre and probiotics if you’ve taken antibiotics. Experiment with trying some fermented foods. Get out there and exercise so you can tire yourself out and get a good night’s sleep. Consider getting a pet or walking a friend’s dog for some much-needed stress relief and don’t sweat the small stuff. You got this.
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