How To Improve Your Gut Health?
The composition of the microbes in the gut keeps changing depending on the diet we consume, how we feel, how physically active we are and our overall health status.
Our gut is more than just an organ- it is an ecosystem of microbes which are so abundant that they outnumber our own living cells by an astonishing 10:1. The gut microbiome is made up of bacteria, archaea and fungi. The composition of the microbes in the gut keeps changing depending on the diet we consume, how we feel, how physically active we are and our overall health status. And it works the other way round as well, the composition of our gut microbiome in turn affects how we feel. You might have heard of the phrase ‘trust your gut’ before. This refers to the way the gut is intricately linked with our brain and helps in processing thoughts and affects our mood with the help of a ’gut-brain axis’
Our gut contains both good and bad bacteria and it is important to maintain their correct balance. An imbalance (also known as dysbiosis) has been linked with development of chronic and autoimmune disorders. In case you are wondering how healthy your gut microbiome is, here are a few indicators that will help you:
1. Stomach disturbances: Gas, bloating, diarrhoea, constipation are signs that your gut is not healthy
2. Unintentional weight changes: An unexplained weight gain or weight loss is a sign of an unhealthy gut
3. Sleep schedule: Your gut produces most of the hormone serotonin which is responsible for sleep. In case your gut is unhealthy, you will have an irregular sleep schedule and poor sleep quality which will in turn result in constant fatigue
4. Skin irritation: Unhealthy gut manifests itself as acne, psoriasis and eczema
5. Mood swings: While mood swings can be a result of several different issues, one of them is an unhealthy gut. Gut disturbances can lead to inflammation in the central nervous system which can lead to anxiety and/or depression.
Adjusting dietary and lifestyle habits can improve gut health and reverse associated health conditions. Once you change your diet, changes in your gut start happening as early as in 3 days. Here are some beneficial healthy habits to incorporate daily:
1. Food for the gut: Prebiotics are a type of dietary fibre in our diet which cannot be digested by humans but it is food for the gut bacteria. Some examples of prebiotics which we must add in our diet are onion, garlic, soybean, asparagus, banana, berries, wheat bran, legumes, flaxseed
2. Live bacteria: Probiotic foods contain healthy live bacteria which are good for consumption. Examples of probiotic foods are yogurt, buttermilk, fermented idli and dosa, tempeh, miso, sauerkraut, kombucha and pickle.
3. Glutamine: Glutamine, an amino acid acts as fuel source for the cells which are present in the small intestine and our bowel. It helps in reducing inflammation and preventing infections as well. Some protein rich foods which contain enough concentration of glutamine are seafood, eggs, milk, yogurt, cheese, nuts and beans.
4. Polyphenols: Polyphenols are plant based micronutrients. These antioxidant rich compounds can be naturally found in nuts, berries, apples, grapes, apricots, herbs and spices.
5. No sugar or processed foods: Sugar is the worst enemy of your gut microbiome. High levels of sugar not only leads to inflammation but decreases the gut bacteria in the microbiome. So, focus on a diet that eliminates sugar sugary foods and processed foods which contain sugar.
6. Circadian rhythm: A well set sleep and wake up time is important to have a natural circadian rhythm which in turn influences the gut bacteria in a positive way.
7. Antibiotics/antibacterial items: Take antibiotics only when advised by your doctor. Overuse of antibiotics is coming up as a major concern due to antibiotic resistance as well as the harmful effects it has on our natural microbiome. Also do not use products that claim to be anti- bacterial very often.
8. Stress management: Stress management through good sleep, good food, meditation and yoga are crucial to get your gut to be healthy. Always remember, nourishment of your gut health should be your priority. At Nucros, we have devised personalized gut healthy diet plans for you to increase your good bacteria, reduce inflammation in the body and potentially address food intolerances.
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