It seems obvious why you should maintain a healthy gut so that you don’t feel bloated, constipated, or have diarrhea. But keeping your gut healthy can go a long way in maintaining overall good health.
For starters, the bulk of your immune cells are located in the gut, so if you have an unhealthy gut, then you most likely will have a weaker immune system, making you more susceptible to illness.
Another key area is that the gut has its own nervous system known as the enteric nervous system. Its main responsibility is to regulate digestion, but it works very closely with the brain. Case-in-point, the gut plays a large role in your mood and well-being. When your gut isn’t healthy, you may find you experience low mood.
As you can see, your gut plays many roles outside of breaking down food, so you want to make sure you’re keeping it in tip-top shape to maintain overall health. Here are some things you can do to keep your gut healthy and happy.
Tips to Improve Gut Health
More sleep, less stress: Sleep is the key to good health, and the better your sleep is, the better your health will be. Furthermore, the more sleep you get, the less you will stress, and stress is a known risk factor for an unhealthy gut. Christine Frissora from the Weil Medical College of Cornell University explained, “The stress hormone epinephrine allows gut bacteria to proliferate. The gut bacteria then bind to the intestinal wall and cause inflammation.”
Consume probiotics: It is well known that probiotics can improve gut health by keeping it balanced and improving function. Many foods, like fermented foods, contain natural probiotics that can be eaten in order to support gut health. On the other hand, you want to avoid foods that disrupt your gut microbiome. A big culprit of this is processed foods.
Drink herbal teas and water: Water is an integral part of good health as it helps support all major functions and components of the body. Drinking water and decaffeinated beverages helps digested food move along so that you break down food and absorb it better.
Exercise regularly: Exercise has also been shown to improve gut health by boosting microbe diversity. Gastroenterologist Renee Williams explained, “Exercise promotes motility or movement of the gut. I would actually challenge anyone who feels bloated to jump on a treadmill or elliptical machine for 30 minutes. You may be surprised at how much better you feel afterward.”
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