I'm back for part two of my series on gut health. If you haven't already read my post on why gut health is important, go ahead and read it here:
Now that you have an idea about why gut health is important and all of the things it can do for our mood and optimal functioning, here are some tips to get your gut on track! I have personally dealt with gut issues off and on for the past few years, but once I discovered these health habits, I saw radical changes in the way my gut functions and the way that I feel overall!
- Consume probiotics.
- kombucha (my favorite is Health-Ade)
- apple cider vinegar
- cottage cheese
- fermented foods (sauerkraut, kimchi, other fermented vegetables)
While eating sprouted grains doesn't necessarily introduce more bacteria into your gut microbiome, it does ensure better digestion and makes the grain’s nutrients more readily available. Soaked and sprouted gluten is easier to break down in the digestive tract, which means it’s easier for the gut to do its work. In addition, sprouted grains tend to have more fiber and be more nutrient dense than regular non-sprouted grains. If you're looking for a good sprouted bread to try out, I recommend Alvarado Street Bakery!
I cannot emphasize this enough y'all!!! Managing stress is a hugely important component of optimizing gut health, as you can probably tell from my previous post. Stress can wreck havoc on the little guys in our gut and alter digestive processes via the gut-brain axis (the connections between the gut and the brain) which can lead to anything from indigestion to full-on digestive disorders such as IBS and leaky-gut syndrome! Cut down on stress by:
- Breathing deeply when you find stress creeping up on you
- Taking time each day to do something that bring you joy
- Taking breaks
- Listening to your body/doing what you can handle
- Creating a relaxing workspace
- Spending time with those who comfort you
- Getting outside
Exercise not only promotes peristaltic contractions to occur in the gut which can promote digestion, but it has also actually been found to increase the number and diversity of microbial species in the gut! This doesn't mean that you have to go out and run 10 miles every day because #guthealth...this implies that moving in any way that feels good to you could actually go a long way as far as promoting healthy gut flora. Walking, running, biking, hiking, rowing, yoga, swimming, dancing...whatever way it is that you like to move, do that! There is no "right" way to move...simply getting some movement in each day can have amazing effects on your microbiome, and not to mention your mood, energy, and focus.
I hope you find this guide to a healthier gut useful and that you are able to apply a few of these suggestions to your life. As I mentioned earlier, I can attest to each and every one of these...since developing these practices, my gut has changed phenomenally and let-me-tell-ya, it feels amazing. Here are the sources I consulted when compiling these tips...feel free to visit them for more information on gut health!
SDSU. Freshman. Foods and Nutrition Major.