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Monday, June 24, 2024

Gut Health Tips for World Digestive Health Day

By Dr. Michael Hartman, Plexus Worldwide


Gut microbes have a crucial role in our bodies, assisting our digestive system in the absorption of important nutrients and getting rid of harmful bacteria. But it’s a relatively new scientific discovery that the contributions of a healthy microbiome go far beyond ‘the stomach.’ Gut health is connected to the brain, immune system, skin health, and liver, proving very much that we are what we eat.

People experiencing mood issues, sleep issues, skin issues, sugar cravings and sluggishness might be having symptoms of a poorly imbalanced microbial system. This can be remedied with diet, exercise, and other simple lifestyle changes.

To celebrate World Digestive Health Day on May 29, take a look at these tips to supercharge your gut health:

 

Hydration

As we head into the summer and the triple digit temperatures, Arizonans are reminded to keep themselves hydrated to help deter heat exhaustion. Hydration is also essential for many bodily functions. It helps the gut process food and avoid constipation.

The daily amount of water an individual should drink depends on many factors. A standard suggestion is to drink one ounce of water for every two pounds of body weight. If you’re active, you should make an effort to increase your water and electrolyte intake.

 

Eat a variety of foods

Eating nutrient-rich foods help to nourish your gut. but if you’re eating the same vegetables and fruits each week, then you’re not diversifying your microbes. Envision your microbiome as a garden that needs a diverse number of vitamins and minerals to flourish. 

A good tip for remembering to eat a variety of foods would be to eat a ‘rainbow’ of plants. You should also aim to eat a variety of foods that contain fiber as this helps with regularity.

 

Limit stress

Like the recent studies that are providing more insight on the fascinating world of the gut, there are also many revelations about how damaging stress can be.

Chronic stress can disrupt the gut’s equalizer, increasing dangerous bacteria and reducing helpful ones, leading to inflammation in the body. If you experience enough stress, you can trigger your fight or flight response which can speed up, slow down or even stop your bowel movements.

Combat stress with healthy habits such as exercise, deep breathing exercises, meditation, mindfulness practices and restful sleep. Remember that a healthy diet can also limit your anxiety.


Prebiotics and Probiotics

You’ve likely heard of probiotics, but prebiotics are equally as important to assist the gut in daily functions. Probiotics are healthy bacteria that live in our gut, aiding our digestive system and prebiotics are the indigestible fibers that feed them. Combine the two and you have an unstoppable healthy combination.

While you can take pro and prebiotic supplements to ensure a flourishing microbiota, you can also increase your probiotic intake through the foods that you eat. Foods such as yogurt, kefir, kimchi and kombucha contain probiotics, while prebiotics can be found in whole wheat, onions, soybeans, bananas and other fruits and vegetables. 

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