Implementing a few positive lifestyle changes can help you maintain a healthy gut and reap the benefits of overall improved health.
When thinking about your gut, think of it as the engine of a human body machine that turns fuel into energy. Your gut is made up of your stomach, intestines, and colon. It processes all the food you consume, turns it into nutrients, and discards the rest of the unwanted food by turning it into waste.
According to Better Health, “About 200 different species of bacteria, viruses, and fungi live in your large intestine. Your gut’s bacteria and other microorganisms are known as your gut microbiome. The bacteria help to break down food, turning it into nutrients your body can use.”
Problems with gut health result in a weaker immune system, stomach and colon diseases, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, poor cardiovascular function, poor sleep quality, digestive issues, and overall disease resulting in stress and even cancer in extreme cases.
Your lifestyle is among the prime reasons that can impact your gut. The amount of alcohol you consume, the quality of food you consume, your sleep routine, and your wellness regimen all add to your gut health.
Implementing a few positive lifestyle changes can help you maintain a healthy gut and reap the benefits of overall improved health in the short and long term. When it comes to your health, always remember that prevention is better than cure. As we age, our bodies change, and our physical health becomes more fragile: We have less energy than in our 20s; less capacity for being reckless with our bodies and still, we find ourselves fully engaged with day-to-day activities, eating junk food every day, and feeling fit. Therefore, maintaining a healthier lifestyle that supports our wellness and physical and mental health becomes essential.
A Healthy Gut Lifestyle
A healthy gut lifestyle generally refers to a balanced and mindful lifestyle. A set of healthy habits that supports your gut health and overall well-being. It is no secret that excessive alcohol consumption is the root of many health issues, including unhealthy gut, weight gain, unhealthy liver, emotional stress, poor sleep and cognitive function, and so on. Minimizing your alcohol consumption single-handedly can improve your gut function.
A Balanced Diet
It’s a no-brainer regarding food consumption and how it affects your gut function. Think of it this way: putting junk in your gut makes it difficult to produce high-quality energy. Instead, consuming nutrient-rich foods makes it more likely to have high-quality energy and is easier to process. Nutrient-rich foods include fiber, probiotics (essential for healthy gut bacteria), minerals, and vitamins. Here are some natural sources of nutrition that you can include in your everyday diet:
Fiber is essential for gut functions such as digestion and absorption of nutrients. You can include fiber in your diet by adding the following:
Beans (chickpeas, red beans, kidney beans, legumes)
Bread and homemade cereals
Nuts and seeds
Adults should aim for 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day.
Probiotics also function similarly to fiber, helping the digestive system to work correctly. Probiotics can be attained through some but not all fiber-rich foods and some other natural foods:
Vegetables – for example, leek, onion, and garlic
Legumes – for example, chickpeas, beans, and lentils
Whole Grains – for example, rye bread, barley, and oats
Nuts – for example, pistachios, cashews, and almonds.
Limit Processed Food
The convenience of processed foods comes at the cost of your gut health. The additives added to processed foods to preserve them for extended periods are not gut supportive. They have a high sugar, sodium, and fat content, which sometimes even make them addictive, such as packet chips and crisps or deli meat. They lack nutrients and are calorie dense, which makes them quicker to digest and leaves you hungry and unsatisfied. Too much processed food can also lead to other health risks, such as cancer, weight gain, and diabetes.
If you can’t avoid them, then limit your consumption of processed food; or consume minimally processed foods such as frozen fruits, vegetables, and meat.
Replace your processed foods with fresh and natural ingredients such as fresh vegetables, fruits, meat, whole grains, homemade cereals, smoothies, or juices made of fresh ingredients, even for your midday snacks.
Eat To Process Not to Fill-Up
As much as it’s crucial to pick the right food, it matters how you eat it. Eating too quickly does not allow the gut enough time to process the food properly. This can result in digestive problems such as bloating and constipation.
Allow yourself enough time to chew your food properly when in a hurry. Eating slowly also brings a sense of fulfillment, reducing the chances of overeating.
Gut health is a complex subject that has gained significant attention over the years. There are many over-the-counter supplements available advertising promising improved gut health. However, there is no scientific research to back up these claims. Therefore, opting for a gut-healthy lifestyle is a more optimistic approach to improving your gut health.
If you are a HerMeNow participant or alumni, book your free coaching session now through the HerMeNow website https://www.hermenow.com/wellness.