As we continue to learn about the human gut through scientific research and its applications, the more we realize how essential gut health is for our overall well-being. Your gut biome is like its own ecosystem, containing trillions of microorganisms that digest your food, and it is constantly communicating with your brain through the vagus nerve (the longest nerve in your body) to maintain equilibrium. If you experience heartburn, acid reflux, indigestion, or any other gut-related issues, you are probably ready for a change. Consider some of the following advice for restoring balance.
Assessing Your Gut Through Nutrition
Our digestive systems require harmonious levels of beneficial bacteria and stomach acid to properly break down the foods that we eat. If you feel like your meals don’t pass through as seamlessly as they should, try introducing more probiotics into your diet.
Probiotic foods contain living bacteria that are advantageous to your gut. They are almost always cultured through fermentation — the bacterial breakdown of sugars and carbs into acids and alcohols. Examples include yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha.
If you are simply not a fan of fermented foods, you can still get probiotics through supplement intake, such as the Thrive Experience. Most probiotic supplements need to be refrigerated to keep the microorganisms alive.
Nutritional coaches are finding that most people are only receiving about 40% of the daily fiber they require. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, especially those that are high in fiber, like bananas, sweet potatoes, and prunes, will boost your digestive capacity significantly.
Improving Your Digestion With Exercise
Gut activity is initiated by metabolic functions that increase with exercise. Spending time outdoors is especially helpful; doing so will expose you to healthy bacteria in the environment that can diversify your gut microbiome.
Researchers have found that having a diverse microbiome can lower cholesterol levels, boost anti-inflammatory actions in the body, prevent heart health complications, and increase nutrient absorption. Each of these phenomena is also associated with an active lifestyle. The healthy habits of consuming a wide range of nutritious foods and exercising your body in different ways continue to go hand in hand.
Try a new exercise routine that gets you excited to work out. Maybe you’ll subscribe to an at-home HIIT workout program. Perhaps there’s a CrossFit gym close to your house you can join. Taking power yoga classes will enhance your body’s detoxification capabilities and increase your flexibility. Whatever you choose, stick to something that gets you moving at least four times a week.
Considering the Possibility of Food Allergies
Many people these days experience frustrating food allergies that can cause an array of digestive and inflammatory issues. Oddly enough, you may or may not be aware of potential allergic reactions your body is having to certain foods. Without closely tracking your digestion with a food log, it will be difficult to determine if that bowl of ice cream or sesame bagel is the culprit behind your intestinal distress.
There are many ways to rule out potential food allergies on your own. One method is the implementation of an elimination diet, which cuts out the most irritating foods we know of, gives the body time to detox, and then re-introduces each eliminated food group one at a time. This allows you to pay close attention to your body’s responses to problematic foods like gluten, dairy, and soy. However, elimination diets can be time-consuming and expensive, so they are not practical for everyone.
If you have a hunch that certain foods are not favorable for your digestive tract, try removing them from your diet one at a time and observing how you feel. This will allow you to continue eating the majority of foods that you love while making space for the possibility that a handful of things are not wise to keep on the menu.
By prioritizing a balanced, personalized diet and regular aerobic exercise, you can enhance your gut health substantially and begin to reap the benefits of flow and vitality that it bestows.