Gut health is an essential aspect of overall wellness. The gastrointestinal (GI) tract is home to trillions of microbes that play a major role in our overall health. These microbes are known as gut microbiota or “gut flora,” and they help digest food, synthesize vitamins and even regulate metabolism and immunity. But what does good gut health look like? And how can you improve your gut health?
There are several ways to improve your gut health:
1. Eat foods rich in fiber
Eating fiber-rich foods is a great way to improve your gut health. Fiber helps regulate bowel movements by absorbing water in the colon, softening stools, and making them easier to pass through the intestines. Good sources include beans, whole grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Foods high in fiber also make you feel full faster, so you’re less likely to overeat.
2. Drink lots of water
Water helps keep things moving through your body, so you’re less prone to constipation, which can cause bloating, gas, and abdominal pain, and also less prone to kidney stones or urinary tract infections. It also keeps your skin hydrated and maintains normal body temperature by acting as a transport medium for heat exchange with the environment. Drink eight glasses (about 2 liters) of water each day to keep yourself hydrated during the day. (Note that this is a basic guideline, and your actual water needs will vary based on your body weight, activity levels, environment, etc.)
3. Manage your stress levels
Stress can have a major impact on your digestive system because it affects the regulation of hormones and neurotransmitters that control your gastrointestinal function. This may lead to stomach problems like nausea, bloating, and diarrhea. Stress can also increase your risk of developing conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or Crohn’s disease due to changes in immune responses in your GI tract. If you’re feeling stressed out, try taking some time out for yourself — whether it’s meditating or exercising — so you’re less likely to develop stress-related illnesses.
4. Eat fermented foods
Fermented foods like yogurt contain probiotics — beneficial bacteria that help improve digestion, boost immunity and prevent disease-causing pathogens from sticking around in your digestive tract for too long. You can get probiotics from food sources, or from supplements if you don’t like the taste of yogurt or other fermented foods …….