Your gut is probably more important and responsible for much more than you might think.
In addition to breaking down food and absorbing vital nutrients, it is an important immune system component. A healthy, diverse microbiome may prevent pathogens from entering the body and assist in fighting infections.
Your gut also plays an important role in how you feel emotionally. The gut/brain connection is a growing area of research and could help explain why you may feel queasy when you’re stressed.
In any event, there are things you can be doing – and many gut experts are – to help support your gut. Here are some of them.
Get Serious about Fibre: Fibre serves as food for probiotics (healthy gut bacteria) to keep the population fed and functional. It also helps keep the digestive process moving along. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are the best sources, and using the Mediterranean diet as a blueprint can help you get enough fibre.
Avoid Highly Processed Foods: Although they are convenient, highly processed foods like breakfast cereal, chips, baked goods, frozen meals, and fast foods are full of chemicals and ingredients that can be detrimental to the gut and overall health. They also lack fibre.
Exercise Regularly: Regular exercise can benefit gut health, and some research has shown that it can increase “good” bacteria, improving microbiome (the population of gut bacteria) diversity that is a part of overall wellness.
Find Ways to Manage Stress: Stress may be the strongest illustration of the gut-brain connection. You can typically feel mental stress in your gut. Exercise, meditation, or yoga can all help.
Incorporate Probiotics: There is still much to be learned about how eating probiotics impacts gut health, like how many and which ones do what, but eating foods with them may help. Incorporating foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir, and kimchi into your diet may help improve diversity.
Don’t Ignore Symptoms: Never ignore unpleasant symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, flatulence, or unexplained weight gain or weight loss. These are typically the early symptoms that can alert you to an issue with your gut health and digestive system.