Listen to your gut! You’ve probably heard this advice over and over again. Now it’s time to really start paying attention to your core. And I’m not talking about listening to your intuition. I’m talking about that crazy powerhouse in the center of your body.
Your gut health affects you from your head to your toes, and improving your gut health is truly one of the best things you can do for yourself.
Your gut is an amazingly complicated place. It’s packed with trillions of bacteria that digest food, produce essential nutrients and help to protect you against diseases.
If you want to improve your digestion, immune system, skin, and mental clarity while protecting yourself against immune deficiencies and a host of other conditions, it’s time to get serious about gut health.
Fortunately, that’s easier than you might think! Check out these 7 quick and easy ways to heal your gut.
1. Have a Laugh
Laughter truly is healing – even for your gut. In fact, a recent study found that people with gut bacteria imbalances were able to adjust the bacteria in their guts simply by watching funny movies every day for a week.
This incredibly easy health fix will improve the balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut. If that doesn’t seem like a big deal, consider this: there are more than 170 different health issues connected to gut bacteria imbalances.
2. Learn to Decompress
While a quick laugh is great, it’s even better to learn how to relax. Going for a walk, meditating, or finding whatever way works for you to forget about everything for a moment is so important.
Your ability to cope with stress has a major impact on your health, and, of course, your gut health is in the middle of it all.
Did you know that around 90% of your serotonin neurotransmitters (AKA the hormones of happiness) are actually located in the gut?
Mental health and gut health are closely related. An imbalance of gut bacteria has been linked to an increased risk of depression and anxiety. It’s a vicious cycle that you can get caught in for a lifetime.
When stress creates an imbalance in your gut bacteria, you’re more likely to suffer from psychological conditions, which, of course, will cause more stress.
3. Break a Sweat
Exercise is a great way to help heal your gut! Even a quick walk will give you major perks.
Every time you get your blood pumping, you create greater diversity in your gut flora. This diversity creates positive changes that will help your entire immune system.
Just be careful not to overdo it! Overtraining creates chronic inflammation and fatigue that will leave your body worn out and struggling to do the bare minimum. Listen to your body and push yourself, but not past your limits.
4. Hit the Sack
Once you have broken a sweat and had a good laugh, head to bed! Sleep deprivation wreaks havoc on your gut. Not only does fatigue make you less likely to make good food choices and get proper exercise, but it also creates imbalances in your gut flora.
To help your gut perform at its peak, get in the habit of going to bed early.
Start shutting off screens at least an hour before bedtime. Break the habit of sitting in bright lights or staring at your computer before sleeping. Start reading and gradually winding down at the end of the day.
It might feel like a struggle at first, but your body will quickly get used to it, and your future self will thank you for it!
5. Eat More Probiotic Foods
One of the best things you can do for your gut is start eating more probiotic-rich foods.
This means anything that has been fermented. Aged wonders like cabbage can totally transform your health. From yogurt to kefir to kimchi, fermentation creates bacteria that will increase the beneficial bacteria inside of your gut.
Just be sure to check the label before you buy! Not all probiotics are created equally. Pickles and yogurts are notoriously all over the place in their probiotics content. While some are great for you, others are totally devoid of probiotics. If the label doesn’t say “probiotics,” you probably won’t get in for it.
Avoid foods that are highly processed, including white bread, pasta, rice, and soda. These foods are digested very quickly and can cause your blood sugar levels to spike. When this happens, more stress is placed on the pancreas, and insulin is made. You should also avoid inflammatory food like vegetable and seed oils, refined carbohydrates, and sugars.
6. Up Your Fiber Intake
Fiber is also critical to good gut health, but, unfortunately, most of us aren’t getting enough. Thanks to low-carb diets and junk food, fiber intake is on the decline, and our guts are paying the price.
Not only does fiber help to keep our everyday digestive process running smoothly, but low dietary fiber intake is also linked to an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer because the bacteria in your colon is out of whack when you don’t eat enough fiber.
Vegetables are low in calories but are high in fiber. Artichokes, leeks, onions, and asparagus are all good vegetables for healthy digestion.
7. Make Sure You’re Getting Enough Protein
Protein is also a key part of a gut-healthy diet. Not only does it impact your ability to stay energized and build new muscles, but it also helps to keep the bacteria diversity in your gut in check.
Protein is one of the essential building blocks of life. Every cell in your body contains protein. To create new cells and repair what you’ve got, your body needs protein.
Try monitoring your protein intake for a while. You should be having around 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. While some of us aren’t getting enough, others are getting too much to spend some time seeing where you are.
And that’s it, ladies and gents! You really don’t need to do that much to get your gut healthy. Try focusing on getting starting with one new habit every week.
How easy is that? Watch a few funny movies this week, then try some stress reduction tips next week. Slowly but surely, you will develop a healthier gut, and your entire body will thank you for it!
8. Stay Hydrated
Making sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day has been shown to have a very beneficial effect on the mucosal lining of our intestines. It has also been found to help balance good bacteria in the gut. So, simply drinking your daily allotment of water each day can help you promote a healthy gut.
We should be drinking at least eight glasses of 8 ounces of water each day. However, this amount can vary depending on a number of factors, including your size, lifestyle, and genetics. Both internal and external factors play a role in the amount of water one should consume each day.
Gut Health FAQ
Still have questions about your gut health and what you can do to improve? Read on below for answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.
Can you heal your gut naturally?
If you adopt healthy habits like a good diet, exercise, sleep, and stress management, you can begin to learn how to heal your gut by building a healthy gut microbiome. To maintain that healthy microbiome, you need to then continue these new, healthier habits.
How does a leaky gut develop?
The main cause of a leaky gut is a bacterial imbalance. This means that there is an imbalance between the good and bad bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract, and it can cause digestive issues.
How long does it take to heal your gut?
Building a healthy gut microbiome and healing your gut can take up to six months, but it is often a lifelong journey because you will need to continue maintaining these healthy habits.
What are the symptoms of a leaky or imbalanced gut?
Some of the symptoms you may experience due to a leaky gut or a gut imbalance include an upset stomach, gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and heartburn. You may also experience constant fatigue, unintentional weight changes, food intolerances, and skin irritation as well.
What is the Gaps Diet?
GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome. The GAPS diet is an elimination diet that has been said to cure physical and mental conditions linked with digestive health. Leaky gut releases harmful bacteria and other toxins into your bloodstream.
These toxins will then travel to the brain and interfere with its functions. Researchers think that eliminating certain foods that could damage the gut can help treat various conditions and improve gut microbiota to have a positive effect on mental health.
What is intestinal permeability?
Intestinal permeability is when the gut epithelial wall loses its integrity and allows material from the lumen to translocate to the bloodstream, other organs, and tissue. It shows us how easy it is for substances to pass through our intestinal wall. When intestinal permeability happens, the gut becomes more permeable. This can allow toxins and bacteria to pass from the gut into our bloodstream, causing digestive issues and an unhealthy gut.