4 Ways to Improve Your Gut Health (And Why It Matters)
Gut health hasn’t always been a topic of interest. We had little research on the matter for the longest time, and many people thought that our gut health was of little importance.
But, as research develops, so does our understanding of gastrointestinal health. It appears that our gut might be at the core of our physical and psychological health.
With its incredibly complex composition, the gut is linked to the brain, immune system, hormones, skin, heart, and more.
Without further ado, let’s look at the importance of gut health and four actionable ways to optimize it.
What Is Gut Health And Why Does It Matter?
Our gut is home to trillions of microorganisms, collectively referred to as the gut microbiota. Among the microorganisms, there are bacteria, fungi, viruses, and much more. According to research, the composition of a person’s gut microbiota plays an essential role in health and longevity (1, 2).
Some of the microorganisms inside the gut are beneficial for us. But some harmful invaders can affect our health and lead to problems down the road.
The idea behind improving our gut health is straightforward:
Limit the population of harmful microorganisms and increase the number of beneficial bacteria. Luckily for us, we don’t have to be experts in the field to achieve this. All we have to do is follow some of the best practices.
Four Actionable Ways to Improve Your Gut Health
1. Manage Your Stress
Stress is a normal physiological response to external factors that challenge homeostasis. Acute stress is beneficial for us because it sharpens our senses, allowing us to escape life-threatening situations. The issue is chronic stress that works in the background and disrupts gastrointestinal function (3).
Managing chronic stress is important because it can prevent gut-related issues and maintain cardiovascular, hormonal, and mental health (4, 5, 6). Fantastic activities include meditation, yoga, regular exercise, and gratitude practice (7, 8).
2. Get Adequate Sleep
Sleep is a fundamental process that impacts every system inside the body. Getting adequate sleep is linked to improved health, vitality, and well-being. In contrast, sleep deprivation is connected to various health issues, including those related to the gastrointestinal tract.
According to some animal research, sleep disruption can hinder gut flora, promoting inflammation (9). Guidelines recommend sleeping for at least seven hours per night (10). If possible, aim for up to eight.
3. Eat The Right Foods
The foods we choose to eat can have a profound impact on gut microbiota and health outcomes. For example, we should avoid most processed foods because they promote the development of harmful bacteria that can lead to inflammatory disease (11).
Ideally, our diet would be based on whole and minimally processed foods. Consuming various foods is also essential because it provides the body with the many nutrients it needs to function well (12, 13).
Fermented foods, such as yogurt, kimchi, and kefir, also seem beneficial for our gut microbiota (14, 15).
4. Avoid Antibiotics When Possible
The occasional antibiotic is not something we can (or should) avoid. Antibiotics are necessary to fight off severe infections and prevent illness or death. The issue is, just as antibiotics destroy harmful invaders, they can also kill many beneficial microorganisms inside the body. According to one paper, antibiotic use can suppress healthy bacteria populations for over six months after use (16).
On top of that, many people have become reliant on antibiotics for everything, including minor infections that can go away with your basic prescription medication. As a result, we are currently living through an antibiotic resistance crisis. According to statistics, as many as 35,000 people die annually because of that (17).
It’s crucial to treat antibiotics with respect and only use them when absolutely necessary. Just as they benefit us, antibiotics can be harmful to our health.
Check out our Ancient Bliss Gut Support to help start your healing process.