Gut Health 101: Nurturing Your Inner Eco System
Fact: Your body is home to more than 40 trillion bacteria, most of which reside in the gut.
And if that gives you the ick, get this: this bacteria is collectively known as your gut microbiome. A healthy gut, or having the right balance of bacteria and microbes in your digestive tract, is vital in maintaining optimum health and wellbeing.
A healthy gut means a stronger immune system, a better mood, effective digestion that’s free of discomfort and a healthy brain and heart. Here's five ways to nurture the ecosystem that comprises your gut and improve your health from the inside out:
Eat A Variety Of Foods: If increasing the diversity of bacteria in your gut is top priority, then ensure you’re eating a diverse range of foods. Hundreds of species of bacteria live in the gut and intestines, all of which have a particular role to play when it comes to your health. Think of it like this: the more species of bacteria you have, the more health benefits they can offer. We love the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in plant-based foods and healthy fats. Read more about it here.
Favour Fermented Foods: Fermented foods are high in lactobacilli, a beneficial type of bacteria. Fermentation is the process in which the sugars of a food are broken down by yeast or bacteria. We love yoghurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha and tempeh, all of which contain lactobacilli. Yoghurt is said to improve intestinal bacteria and decrease symptoms of lactose intolerance. In order to reap the full gut-loving benefits of these foods, ensure you check the label to see if it contains live active cultures. If it does, you’re good to go!
Take a Pre or Probiotic: As far as gut-loving supplements go, prebiotics or probiotics are the gold standard for improving your gut health. Prebiotics help to feed and grow the beneficial bacteria in the gut, while probiotics are the live good bacteria itself.
Drink More Water: A recent study conducted by the Journal of Nutrition* showed that people who drank lots of water weren’t as prone to gastrointestinal infections. Not to mention proper hydration can help you side-step conditions like constipation. If you find drinking water boring, consider one of our hot tips to make your drink less drab here *hyperlink*.
Reduce Your Stress Levels: Ever heard of the gut-brain connection? Or the gut be referred to as the second brain? While research is still ongoing, some studies have revealed that mental health and the gut are inextricably linked – with feelings of anxiety and depression said to increase the risk of IBS and vice versa.
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Try incorporating fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi, and kefir everyday, and see if you feel a difference.
We hope these tips will help you to create your own Daily Rituals for self care. Need more inspiration? Follow @embodyme_daily or sign up The Weekly for more on curating precious moments for you each week.