Gut Health Maintenance
Our gut bacteria (flora), influence health in many ways. A healthy gut can help to extract energy from food, strengthen the body's immune system, and protect against infection from harmful, disease-causing bacteria.
When the gut contains more harmful bacteria than friendly bacteria, there is an imbalance that can negatively affect our health and cause dysbiosis. Both dysbiosis and a lack of diversity in gut bacteria have been linked to insulin resistance, weight gain, inflammation, obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, and colorectal cancer.
Below you will read about steps that can be taken to both avoid harm and heal your gut:
1. Eat a Diverse Range of Foods
In 2019, 75% of the world's food supply came from only 12 types of plants and five animal species. The food you eat provides nutrients that help bacteria grow and if you are only eating chicken and potatoes, you have very limited diversity within your gut flora. A diet rich in whole foods provides your gut with a variety of nutrients that help promote the growth of different types of bacteria, resulting in a more diverse gut flora.
2. Add more Prebiotics into your Diet
Prebiotics are a variety of fiber that goes through the gut undigested and promotes the activity of friendly gut bacteria. Many foods, including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, naturally contain prebiotic fiber.
3. Move More
Recent studies suggest that physical activity may also alter the gut bacteria, improving gut bacteria. Higher activity levels have been associated with a greater abundance of butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid that's important for overall health, and other important gut bacteria.
4. Get More Sleep
Our gut follows a daily circadian-like rhythm. Disrupting our body-clock with lack of sleep, shift work, or eating late at night can be harmful to our gut bacteria. Two days of sleep deprivation can cause small but impactful changes to gut flora while increasing the abundance of bacteria associated with weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and fat metabolism.
5. Consume More Probiotics
Probiotics can increase the abundance of healthy gut bacteria. When the gut becomes unbalanced with unhealthy levels of certain bacteria, probiotics can help restore the balance. They've been shown to secrete protective substances, which may turn on the immune system and prevent pathogens from taking hold and creating major disease. We can get more probiotics through supplements or fermented foods.
6. Eat Slowly
Eating fast and swallowing air while not chewing food well can also cause acid reflux, gas, indigestion, IBS, heartburn, constipation, and bloating. If someone experiences these symptoms, they should try to slow down and focus on enjoying the taste and texture of the amazing whole foods they're eating.
7. Eat More Raw
The naturally occurring enzymes in raw fruits and vegetables aid in the digestive process, helping breakdown cooked foods. At Betr Health, we promote that 70% of fruits and veggies should be eaten raw.