A nutrient-rich diet, lowering your stress levels, getting enough sleep, eating slowly, staying hydrated, taking probiotics and digestive enzymes can support your digestive health.
More than 2,000 years ago, Hippocrates — the father of modern medicine — suggested that all disease begins in the gut.
The human gut is more complex than previously thought and has a huge impact on whole-body health. It contributes to a strong immune system, heart health, brain health, improved mood, healthy sleep, and effective digestion.
These are 7 things you can do for take care of your gut.
A Nutrient-rich diet
Reduicing processed foods, high-fat foods, and foods high in refined sugars is extremely important to maintaining a healthy microbiome, as these foods destroy good bacteria and promote growth of damaging bacteria.
There are also a number of foods you can eat that actively promote the growth of beneficial bacteria, contributing to your overall health:
• Eating plenty of plant-based high-fibre foods such beans, whole grains, fruits like bananas or berries, vegetable like asparagus, seeds and nuts.
• Fermented food such as kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt, tempeh, miso, and kefir are great dietary sources of probiotics their benefits on the gut microbiome are well
• Collagen-rich foods such as bone broth and salmon may be beneficial to overall health and gut health specifically.
Lowering your stress levels.
Chronic high levels of stress are hard on your whole body, including your gut. Some ways to reduce your stress are meditation, walking, getting a massage, spending time with friends or family, diffusing essential oils, decreasing caffeine intake, laughing, yoga, or having a pet.
Getting enough sleep.
Not getting enough or sufficient quality of sleep can have serious impacts on your gut health, which can in turn contribute to more sleep issues.
Chewing your food thoroughly and eating slowly can help promote full digestion and absorption of nutrients. This may help you reduce digestive discomfort and maintain a healthy gut.
Drinking plenty of water has been shown to have a beneficial effect on the mucosal lining of the intestines, as well as on the balance of good bacteria in the gut
Probiotics are not new, nor is the research that has been conducted on them. For instance, Nobel laurate Ilya Metchnikoff reported the unusually long lives of rural Bulgarians who consumed fermented dairy products back to the early 1900s. He speculated that the health benefits were related to intestinal bacteria (1). Probiotics are defined as “live microorganisms that when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit to the host” (2). Regular support via daily probiotic supplementation may keep the digestive tract in balance and promote microbiome diversity for better overall health (3).
Taking digestive enzymes
Enzymes play a critical role in the digestion of food and in overall health (4). Most key nutritional components are too complex for immediate absorption and they must be broken (5) and here is where the enzymes act. They help break down the foods we eat into nutrients that can be absorbed by the body.
Supplementation with the right enzymes can help promote the availability of nutrients from those foods as well as limit the occasional bloating and gas that can occur when eating foods such as cruciferous vegetables and legumes or products containing lactose (6).
- Gasbarrini G, Bonvicini F, Gramenzi A. Probiotics History. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2016;50:S116-S119.
- Hill C, Guarner F, Reid G, et al. Expert consensus document: The international Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics consensus statement on the scope and appropriate use of the term probiotic. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2014;11(8):506-514.
- Kechagia M, Basoulis D, Konstantopoulou S, et al. Health benefits of probiotics: a review. ISRN Nutr. 2013 Jan 2;2013:481651.
- Ianiro G, Pecere S, Giorgio V, et al. Digestive enzyme supplementation in gastrointestinal diseases. Curr Drug Metab. 2016 Feb;17(2):187-93.
- Janiak MC. Digestive enzymes of human and nonhuman primates. Evol Anthropol. 2016 Sep; 25(5): 253-66.
- Deng Y, Misselwitz B, Dai N, et al. Lactose intolerance in adults: biological mechanism and dietary management. Nutrients. 2015 Sep;7(9): 8020-35.