How Does the Gut Microbiome Affect Your Health?
The gut or intestinal lining is such an important aspect to our overall health and a topic of increasing research in the medical community.
There have been many links to the Gut including the:
- the immune system
- mental health
- autoimmune diseases
- endocrine disorders
- gastrointestinal disorders
- cardiovascular diseases
A higher level of diversity in gut bacteria may be associated with improved health. While research is ongoing, it appears clear that your gut health plays a role in many areas of your health and well-being.
7 Signs of an Unhealthy Gut
Many parts of modern life can affect your gut microbiome, including:
- high stress levels
- too little sleep
- eating a western diet high in processed and high sugar foods
- taking antibiotics
This in turn may affect other aspects of your health, such as:
- immune function
- hormone levels
- development of diseases
Prebiotics provide “food” meant to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, while probiotics are live good bacteria.
People who have a severe illness or weakened immune system should not take probiotics. Also, not all probiotic supplements are high quality or beneficial for your health.
It’s best to speak with a healthcare professional when choosing a probiotic or prebiotic supplement to help improve your health.
Things You Can Do to Improve Your Gut Health
You may be able to improve your gut health through lifestyle and diet changes. Consider trying one or more of the following:
1. Lower your stress levels
Chronic high levels of stress are hard on your whole body, including your gut. A few ways to lower your stress include:
- walking or exercise
- relaxation through massage
- spending time with friends or family
- yoga, tai chi, or similar things
2. Get enough sleep
Not getting enough or sufficient quality of sleep may have serious impacts on your gut health, which can in turn contribute to more sleep issues.
Try to prioritize getting at least 7-8 hours of quality sleep
4. Stay hydrated
Drinking water and staying away from artificial sweeteners may be linked to increased diversity of bacteria in the gut.
5. Take a prebiotic or probiotic
Adding a prebiotic or probiotic supplement to your diet may help improve your gut health. Prebiotics provide “food” meant to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, while probiotics are live good bacteria.
6. Check for food intolerances
You may have a food intolerance if you have symptoms such as:
- abdominal pain
- acid reflux
Eliminate trigger foods to see if your symptoms improve. If you’re able to identify and avoid food or foods that are contributing to your symptoms, you may see a positive change in your digestive health.
7. Change your diet
Reducing the amount of processed, high sugar, and high fat foods that you eat may lead to better gut health.
You may also positively impact your gut by eating foods high in micronutrients called polyphenols, like:
- some red wines