Healthy Gut Stomach

5 ways to heal gut health naturally

Gut health refers to the health of the digestive tract, or intestine, the organ that digests and absorbs nutrients from food to provide fuel for your body. But your digestive tract does so much more. It also plays a vital role in maintaining mental and physical health. This is why you want your gut to thrive and thrive. Most doctors believe that gut health is an integral part of overall health, especially in terms of disease prevention.

An estimated 80% of illnesses can be linked to an imbalance of gut bacteria, a condition called dysbiosis. When the gut is out of balance, the bad types of bacteria multiply and crowd out the beneficial species. The result is inflammation, which can damage other parts of your body. You don’t want that. Let’s look at some ways to heal your gut and keep it healthy.

Identify food sensitivities

Many people have unique food sensitivities. Yet food sensitivities are distinct from food allergies. Food allergies are caused by an overactive immune response to a particular protein in a food and are often genetic. Food sensitivities are caused by an intolerance to food due to a lack of enzymes your body needs to digest that food. For example, lactose intolerance causes digestive problems when you consume dairy products. It is caused by low levels of the enzyme lactase, which breaks down lactose in dairy products.

To improve your digestive health, identify foods that trigger symptoms and eliminate them from your diet. You can do this by keeping a food diary. Write down everything you eat and how you feel after eating each food and look for patterns. Do certain foods cause digestive upset, brain fog, fatigue, anxiety, or other symptoms? Take note of this. Another approach is to go on an elimination diet. This is where you cut out any foods that could be triggering symptoms and add them back in one at a time to see if each one triggers symptoms.

Be aware that certain types of food are more likely to trigger symptoms. For example, sugar alcohols are a common culprit. These sweeteners in some sugar-free candies, drinks, and other products are poorly digested and can cause gas, bloating, and stomach cramps. They often end in -ol, for example, maltitol, xylitol, erythritol, mannitol and sorbitol.

Add more fermented foods to your diet

Fermented foods, such as kimchi and sauerkraut, are an abundant source of probiotic microorganisms that help maintain a healthy balance in your gut. Fermented foods have been around for thousands of years and have been used for food and medicine throughout history and people still enjoy them today. You can buy these foods or prepare fermented foods at home to seed your gut with gut-friendly bacteria to create a healthier gut balance. Here are some examples of fermented foods:

  • Sauerkraut (fermented cabbage)
  • Kimchi (spicy pickled vegetables)
  • Kefir (a yogurt-like drink made from milk)
  • Tempeh (fermented soy)
  • Miso (a soybean paste used in soups and sauces)
  • Yogurt
  • Fermented vegetables

Even a few spoonfuls of fermented foods a day can help restore intestinal balance.

Consume more prebiotic foods

The term “prebiotic” refers to a food that contains indigestible fiber that promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut. These bacteria help maintain gut health and regulate the part of your immune system that resides in your gut. Prebiotics are foods that contain fiber and promote the growth of good bacteria in your gut and are abundant in fiber-rich foods like plants, fruits, and vegetables. Studies show that prebiotics help promote gut health.

Prebiotics help stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria, which is crucial for maintaining good digestive health. Not all foods are created equal when it comes to prebiotic activity – some are better than others. Here is a list of some of the best sources:

  • Bananas
  • groats
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Artichokes
  • asparagus

Be careful when adding prebiotic foods to your diet if you have irritable bowel syndrome. (IBS) Some studies show that prebiotics can make symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) worse. In one study, researchers found that participants who consumed prebiotics for 3 weeks had increased abdominal pain and bloating compared to those who consumed nothing during that time.

Find better ways to manage stress

Stress is a natural part of life, but that doesn’t mean you should let it rule your life (or your instincts).

When you feel stressed, your body releases cortisol and other hormones that can trigger inflammation and disrupt the gut barrier and gut microbiome. The American Heart Association estimates that stress is responsible for one in seven deaths in America! To help manage stress and lower your risk of heart disease and other health problems, try these tips:

  • Get enough sleep – this is important because lack of sleep increases cortisol levels in the body.
  • Exercise regularly – exercise helps release endorphins in the brain and improves mood.
  • Meditate: You can meditate anywhere (even while walking).
  • Write in a gratitude journal
  • Talk about what bothers you. If there’s something stressing you out, tell someone you know (or even a stranger). Sometimes just saying the problem out loud can make you feel better!

Stress affects all aspects of functioning and is also an intestinal disruptor. Make sure you have a way to handle it that works for you.

Check your medications

Sometimes medications are necessary to manage your health. However, they can also disrupt your gut ecosystem.

Antibiotics kill both bad and good bacteria in the gut, which can affect how well you absorb nutrients from food. This can lead to nutritional deficiencies and overall poor health. Additionally, some medications can cause stomach upset or diarrhea, which can also negatively affect health and well-being.

One study found that over 1,000 drugs disrupt the gut microbiome. These include drugs that people commonly take, including statins (used to treat high cholesterol), nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), proton pump inhibitors (used to treat

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If you’re concerned about the effect of your medications on your overall health and gut health, discuss these concerns with your doctor or pharmacist.

The Bottom Line

Gut health is an important factor in overall well-being and happiness. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to improve your gut health through diet and lifestyle changes. However, if digestive symptoms persist, see your healthcare provider.

References:

“Effects of Common Medication on Gut Health – Global Gut Health Check.” globalguthealthcheck.pantheryx.com/medications-gut-health/.

“The gut microbiota shapes intestinal immune responses during health and disease” by June L. Round and Sarkis K. Mazmanian, May 2009, Nature Reviews Immunology.
DOI: 10.1038/nri2515

“Prebiotics in irritable bowel syndrome and other functional bowel disorders in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials” by Bridgette Wilson, Megan Rossi, Eirini Dimidi and Kevin Whelan, 4 April 2019, The


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