Did you know your digestive tract is filled with trillions of microbes and other bacteria cells that are important for carrying out vital processes in your body? These bacteria, funguses, and other microbes make up your gut microbiome. Gut health and the gut microbiome is a growing area of science as we are learning how many of the species of microbes living in our digestive system have the power to impact our overall health! At NextGeneration Nutrition, we believe implementing gut-healthy habits in your daily routine is very important for your health! Here are some tips to create a flourishing microbiome in your gut:
10 Tips for Improved Gut Health
Eat Fermented Foods
Fermented foods contain live microbes or probiotics which help restore gut bacteria to healthy levels. Try to implement fermented foods such as Greek yogurt, sourdough bread, pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, kombucha, tempeh, and miso.
Eat a Diverse Range of Plant Foods
There are thousands of species of bacteria in your digestive tract, each plays a different role in your health and require different nutrients to flourish that’s why it is important to eat a diverse range of plant foods like fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and grains. Many plant foods contain prebiotics, which feed good bacteria. Examples of prebiotic foods include; whole grains, apples, leeks, onions, cocoa extracts, garlic, unripe bananas, asparagus, nuts, seeds, root vegetables, beans, lentils, and chickpeas.
Avoid Excess Added Sugars and Artificial Sweeteners
The consumption of too many added sugars and artificial sugars can be detrimental to our gut health. Sugar not only feeds the bac bacteria but can suppress the growth of good bacteria. Check food labels for added sugar and artificial sugar.
It not just about what you eat but how you eat! Make sure to enjoy undistracted meals daily to be totally mindful of the act of eating. It takes 20 minutes for your brain to receive the message that you are full, to make your meal last at least 20 minutes to avoid overeating. Slow down your eating and be sure to chew your foods thoroughly!
Avoid Excess Processed Foods
Processed foods can lead to a leaky gut lining and trigger inflammation. Oftentimes they contain many harmful ingredients like excess sugar, sodium, and additives that can negatively affect your gut health.
Antibiotics will wipe out all bacteria so they are very effective for treating certain infections, however, they are terrible for your good bugs. Make sure to reinoculate your gut properly after a round of antibiotics.
Get Sufficient Sleep
A good night's sleep is essential for good bacteria to thrive. Your gut microbiome has a circadian rhythm as we do and if sleep is disrupted so can our gut. Aim for 6-8 hours per night for optimal rest!
Prioritize Exercise and Movement
Research has shown that those who exercise have a more diverse gut compared to sedentary individuals. Aim for at least 150 mins of exercise per week for benefits!
Listen to Your Gut!
Pay attention to how you respond to certain foods. Journaling your food intake may be helpful to identify which foods make you feel adverse symptoms. Take note if certain foods make you feel bloated, brain fog, nauseous, etc.
Take a Probiotic Supplement
Taking probiotics is a great way to inoculate your gut with bacteria. They don’t permanently colonize the gut but they can make significant improvements in gut health. Consult a licensed dietitian or nutritionist for specific strains and dosage of probiotics.