6 ways to improve your gut health
by Harry • 5 minutes read
Last updated: 07 Jun, 2022
Gut health is vital to keeping our body functioning properly and with around 40 trillion bacteria in your body, mostly found in your gut, things can seem a quite complicated. But don’t worry, we’re here to help!
The bacteria in our gut - collectively known as the gut microbiome - are hugely important for our overall health as they ensure regular digestion, benefit metabolism, decrease inflammation and lower the risk of disease.
So, to help you maintain a healthy gut, we’ve compiled a list of the top 7 tips to do just that.
1. Eat a varied diet
Eating a varied diet is by far the best thing for our bodies. Generally speaking, a diverse microbiome is considered a healthy one - the more species of bacteria in our bodies, the more benefits you’ll see.
Each bacteria plays a specific role in our gut health and requires different nutrients for its growth. As such, ensuring you eat a diverse and healthy diet, will help maintain a diverse microbiome.
2. Try fermented foods
Fermentation helps break down the sugars in foods using yeast or bacteria. The bacteria in most fermented foods is good for your gut, but some trusted options include:
These all contain a high count of lactobacilli bacteria, which are always beneficial for your gut.
Research shows that people who consume yoghurt on a regular basis, tend to have more lactobacilli and also have less Enterobacteriaceae, which is a type of bacteria associated with inflammation and a number of chronic conditions.
Moreover, a number of studies have also shown that yoghourt consumption can decrease symptoms of lactose intolerance.
It’s important to remember that most flavoured yoghurts contain high amounts of sugar, so if you’re looking to improve your gut health, it’s best to stick to plain, unsweetened yoghurt.
Prebiotic foods are those that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. They are fibre and complex-carb dense foods, which are difficult to digest, so certain bacteria in our gut break them down and use them for fuel.
You’ll find a lot of natural prebiotics in many fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, but you can find some great supplements online: try this highly rated prebiotic from Amazon - Bimuno Daily Prebiotic Supplement (£18.89)
Certain prebiotics have also been shown to help those suffering with obesity by reducing insulin, triglyceride, and cholesterol levels. This could help fight against heart conditions and even aid the prevention of type 2 diabetes.
4. Whole grains
Whole grains also contain plenty of fibre and carbs that cannot be absorbed in the small intestine. These nutrients make their way to the large intestine and promote the growth of beneficial bacteria. As a result, whole grains are great for the growth of Bifidobacteria, lactobacilli, and Bacteroidetes.
On the other hand, research suggests that grains containing gluten, like wheat and barley, may instead have a negative effect on the gut - increasing inflammation in some people. If you have a sensitivity to gluten or celiac disease, turning to grains may not be the best idea for promoting a healthy microbiome.
Plant compounds, known as Polyphenols, are known to be great for reducing blood pressure, inflammation, cholesterol levels, and oxidative stress. Most polyphenols are hard for us to digest, so they tend to make their way down to our gut bacteria.
Some polyphenol rich foods include:
cocoa and dark chocolate
Probiotics are perhaps the most famous nutrient for improving gut health, but they are actually not as effective as you might think.
A review of 63 studies found mixed evidence on whether probiotics effectively alter the microbiome. Researches did note however, that the strongest effects were in restoring the microbiome to a healthy state after it had been compromised. After a rather unhealthy meal or even a hangover, probiotics can be great for our guts.
Nevertheless, probiotics certainly don't have an adverse effect on our day to day gut health.
So by all means, try out some fermented foods like kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut, and yoghurt, which are great sources of probiotics. Otherwise, you can find plenty of probiotic supplements online.
Try out Amazon's choice for bifidobacterium, with these - Bio-Cultures Capsules (6 Month Supply) (£18.47)
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