Ways to Improve Gut Health
The human body is host to tens of trillions of microbes and the largest population of these live in the gut – our gut microbiota. The right balance of these healthy bacteria is vital to feeling your best every day. As studies on the microbiota expand, we are learning how closely gut health can influence our metabolism, immune system, cholesterol levels, and possibly brain functions.
The good news is there are lifestyle changes we can make that will help promote a healthy gut and improve our overall wellbeing. Understanding the effects that poor eating habits, lack of sleep and stress have on our gut health can empower us to take action and give ourselves a serious gut check. Here are 5 daily habits than can enhance the health of your gut:
Make fiber your friend
Make sure to eat high fiber foods at every meal. While all fiber is important for digestive balance, prebiotics are certain fibers that feed the healthy bacteria in your gut. Sources of prebiotics include onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, soybeans, apples, bananas, beans, and lentils, oats, flax seed and wheat bran. Follow these tips to ensure you consume plenty of prebiotics:
- Incorporate prebiotic fruits and vegetables into daily meals.
- Add ground flax and wheat bran when baking.
- Incorporate 3 cups of beans into your meals each week. Try black bean tacos, lentil/bean soup, or chili with kidney beans.
Note: Adding more fiber to your diet may cause some initial gastric distress. To minimize this, gradually increase your fiber intake.
Add powerful probiotics to your meals
Probiotics, the healthy bacteria that live in your gut, can be consumed in certain foods. Choose fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, miso, kimchi, and kombucha. Look for options that contain at least 1 billion CFU of healthy bacteria like lactobacilli and/or bifidobacteria. It’s important to have a source of probiotics every day to gain the health benefits. Click here for a list full of gut nourishing options available at Buehler’s store and when shopping online at Buhlers.com.
Buehler’s yogurt parfaits are a convenient way to add probiotics to your daily eating habits. Visit our yogurt parfait case for a healthful meal or snack to go!
Forget the fad diets
Avoid diets that eliminate whole food groups. Diets should include diverse food choices, in moderation. Research is showing that the microbiota has a great range of needs that a diet with a variety of foods can help provide.
Get your ZZZZs and avoid stress
Not getting enough sleep can have unhealthy impacts on your gut health. Try to prioritize getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night and talk with your physician if you are having trouble sleeping. Lack of sleep can also lead to higher levels of stress which is hard on your entire body, including your gut. Try meditation, walking, diffusing essential oils, decreasing caffeine intake, laughing, or yoga to help relax.
Adding a prebiotic or probiotic supplement to your daily habits may be a great way to improve your gut health. As mentioned, prebiotics provide “food” to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, while probiotics are live healthy bacteria. It’s best to consult your healthcare provider when choosing a probiotic or prebiotic supplement to ensure the best health benefits. Buehler’s offers a wide selection of high-quality supplements