Your gut is another word for your gastrointestinal system, and it’s made up of your stomach, intestines, and colon. Your gut digests food and absorbs nutrients from it, then gets rid of the waste. This process is key in supporting your body’s functions. When you have poor gut health, other parts of your body can be affected, including your immune system, mental health, endocrine system, cardiovascular health, sleep, and more. That’s why it’s important to learn how to improve your gut health so your body can be as healthy and functional as possible. Here are seven tips to help you improve your gut health naturally.
1. Drink Plenty of Water
It’s not a secret that it’s important to stay hydrated. All of your body systems need water to function, including your gut. If you are wondering how to improve your gut health, drinking more water can be an easy start. Water helps your digestive system break down food so your body can absorb its nutrients. Drinking plenty of water also helps your gut health by preventing constipation. Water helps soften stools to help you have regular bowel movements to remove waste from your system.
2. Eat Lots of Fiber
Fiber is key to your gut function, so adding more fiber to your diet is a great way to improve your gut health. Your body does not digest fiber, but certain bacteria in your gut can. Fiber stimulates the growth of these necessary bacteria, which improves the levels of bacteria in your gut microbiome. Fiber also helps move things through your gut and affects the quality and frequency of stools. Fiber is only found in plant-based foods, so the best way to add fiber to your diet is by adding vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, fruits, and whole grains.
3. Add More Probiotics to Your Diet
Another great answer to the question of how to improve your gut health is increasing your intake of probiotics. Probiotics are live bacteria that improve the composition of your gut microbiome and support your metabolism. If the microbiome has been compromised, then probiotics can be effective in restoring it to a healthy state. Fermented foods are the best sources of probiotics, and some great examples are kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, yogurt, kefir, tempeh, apple cider vinegar, and pickles.
4. Eat Slowly
If you struggle with your gut health, one of the simplest things you can try to do is slowing down your eating. Make sure you thoroughly chew your food and eat at a slow pace. Eating too quickly or not chewing your food enough can lead to digestive discomfort, including gas, bloating, and pain. If you experience these digestive discomforts, try taking your time as you eat and see if your discomfort improves.
5. Add Diversity to Your Diet
One of the most important things you can do to improve your gut health is increasing the amount of diversity in your diet. Eating a diverse range of foods allows your body to receive a wider range of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals from your diet. It also leads to a more diverse microbiome, and a diverse microbiome is a healthy one. Make sure you include a wide range of fruits and vegetables in your diet. It’s typically recommended to eat at least 30 different plant-based foods each week.
6. Limit Processed Foods
The best foods for your gut health are those that are closest to their natural state. While it’s almost impossible to avoid processed foods completely, it’s best to try to eat foods that are only minimally processed. Processing reduces the nutritional value of foods. Consuming foods that are minimally processed allows your body to receive more nutrients from your diet. Try to avoid foods with added sugars, salts, unhealthy fats, and additives like artificial sweeteners and emulsifiers. Instead, aim for unprocessed whole grains, vegetables, fruits, seafood, unflavored diary, lean meat, and poultry.
7. Consume Foods Rich in Polyphenols
Polyphenols are compounds found in plants that have a number of health benefits, such as reducing blood pressure, cholesterol, inflammation, and oxidative stress. Polyphenols can also positively impact the gut microbiome. These compounds aren’t efficiently absorbed by the human digestive system, so most polyphenols end up in the colon where bacteria digest them. Some great foods that are rich in polyphenols include almonds, green tea, onions, broccoli, blueberries, red wine, and dark chocolate.
Ask an Expert Pharmacist How to Improve Your Gut Health
Now you know how to improve your gut health naturally through your diet. However, sometimes our guts need a little extra help from sources other than the foods we eat. Our expert pharmacists at Hines Street Pharmacy can answer your specific questions about improving your gut health and recommend supplements that your body may need. Contact us today to start your journey towards improved gut health!