You can’t be much healthier than your gut is. It’s only been recently discovered just how important gut health is to overall health.
You have a lot of cells in your body - roughly 37.2 trillion! But you actually have far more bacteria: about 10 times as many. You have more bacteria in your body than you do human cells. These bacteria are predominately in your digestive tract.
The health and composition of these bacteria are pivotal to your overall health. These bacteria are necessary to digest and absorb nutrients. They also synthesize vitamins and provide some immunity from the flu virus and other unwanted invaders.
What you choose to eat and drink has the greatest impact on the flora, or gut bacteria, in your body.
These strategies will help you heal your gut and your body:
1. Consider taking probiotics. Much of your digestive system consists of the flora, or bacteria, that live in your gut. There are foods that contain these healthy bacteria, but you can also consume them in pill form. Probiotics are a great way to improve your gut health.
2. Chew your food thoroughly. The more you chew your food, the easier it is to digest. When you chew your food thoroughly, you increase the amount of surface area your digestive juices are able to attack. This creates far less stress for your digestive system to deal with.
3. Eat a healthy diet. Eating unhealthy food is bad for every part of your body, including your gut. Maximize your health by eating the healthiest possible diet.
4. Adjust your fiber intake. While most people need to eat more fiber to have a healthier gut, there are a few people that would do well to eat less. The recommendation from the medical community is 25-35 grams per day.
5. Relax! Stress is hard on every part of your body, and that includes your gut. Minimizing the amount of stress in your life can do wonders for your overall health. Either remove the sources of your stress or learn how to relax in spite of the stress in your life.
6. Sleep. Your overall health, including your gut health, improves when you get enough sleep. Most people in our society could stand to get another hour or two of sleep each night. If you’re not getting at least seven hours each night, you need more sleep.
7. Reduce sugar intake. Sugar is considered by many scientists to be a toxin. It can be damaging to all the cells of your body. Artificial sweeteners aren’t a great substitute. Certain types of bad bacteria in your gut are able to consume various artificial sweeteners and become too prevalent in your body.
8. Eat fermented foods. Fermented foods are essentially probiotics in food form. Yogurt and sauerkraut are two of the most common examples. Miso, kefir, tempeh, pickles, and kimchi are other options. Eat more fermented foods, and your gut will thank you.
9. Try a plant-based diet. Many people struggle with meat and dairy products. You might find that your digestive system feels and behaves better when you focus on plant-based foods.
10. Consume bone broth. Bone broth is made by boiling bones and connective tissues. You can purchase bone broth in the store, but the best broth is made at home. There are plenty of recipes available online. It’s very easy to make, but time consuming. It can be quite tasty if seasoned properly.
If you haven’t been paying attention to your gut health, you’re not as healthy as you could be. What you eat and drink has the greatest impact on your gut health. Not only does the food you eat impact the health of every cell in your body, but it also affects the bacteria in your digestive tract.
When your bacteria are healthy, you’ll be much healthier, too!