The gut microbiome is not only important for good gut health, it's also vital in maintaining your overall health and wellness. Here are some practical tips on how you can heal your gut naturally.
The gut microbiome is a complex ecosystem of trillions of bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms that inhabit the digestive tract. These microorganisms play a crucial role in maintaining overall health by regulating digestion, immunity, and even mental health.
However, modern lifestyles, including poor diet, stress, and the overuse of antibiotics, can disrupt the delicate balance of the gut microbiome, leading to a range of health issues.
Fortunately, there are natural ways to heal the gut microbiome. These include eating a healthy diet rich in fiber and fermented foods, reducing stress, and using natural supplements like probiotics. In this post, I will explore the importance of the gut microbiome and offer tips for naturally healing and maintaining a healthy gut.
What is the gut microbiome?
Your digestive tract is also the home of a complex community of trillions of microorganisms called the gut microbiome. Not only do these important bacteria and other microbes help you maintain good gut health, they’re also vital in maintaining your overall health and wellness.
Did you know that about 70-80% of your immune system is located in your digestive tract? There are both good and bad microbes, and it’s the balance of the two that affects your immune health.
The good news is that we can affect this balance of good and bad in our gut microbiome. Although a person’s individual microbe population stays pretty consistent over time, certain factors like your age, lifestyle, and what you eat can change that balance.
Diet is actually one of the best tools that we have for altering the balance of our microbiome and restoring gut health naturally.
How you can heal your gut naturally
Limit the amount of processed foods and sugar in your diet
Making dietary changes to limit processed foods and sugar can help to promote a healthy and diverse gut microbiome. Processed foods are often high in refined carbohydrates and artificial ingredients that can disrupt the balance of microorganisms in the gut. These foods can also lead to inflammation, which can damage the gut lining and reduce the diversity of gut bacteria.
Excessive sugar consumption can lead to an overgrowth of harmful bacteria and yeast in the gut. This can further exacerbate digestive issues.
By opting for a whole-foods-based diet that is rich in fiber and nutrients, you can support the growth of beneficial gut bacteria and reduce inflammation.
Focus on fiber
Refined foods get absorbed rapidly in the intestine. This leaves your gut microbes starved, setting you up for leaky gut and inflammation. Instead, focus on eating fresh, nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables and other fiber-rich foods. These include whole grains and pulses (dry peas, beans, lentils, and chickpeas).
These foods will keep your gut bacteria happy because they’re full of fiber. They also boast plenty of antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals. Plus, fiber keeps everything running smoothly in your intestinal tract.
Eat more fermented foods
Fermented foods are rich in lactic-acid producing bacteria that help acidify your intestinal tract. This creates an environment that healthy bacteria thrive in, which aids in digestion, tames inflammation and boosts your immune system.
Sauerkraut, which is made from cabbage, is a fermented food that you’re probably familiar with. But here are a few more examples that you may not be as familiar with.
Kimchi is a spicy Korean dish made with fermented cabbage and spices.
Miso is a paste used in Japanese cuisine that’s made from fermented soybeans. I use it in many dishes like my miso maple glazed salmon, miso roasted brussels sprouts, sheet pan miso chicken thighs, and miso roasted carrots.
Kombucha is a fermented drink that’s become very popular recently. It’s a fizzy drink made by mixing probiotic-rich bacteria and yeast with tea and other flavorings.
Enjoy Greek yogurt and kefir
Greek yogurt and kefir are packed with probiotics. These live active bacterial cultures help aid with digestion. They also boost your immunity and keep your gut happy by keeping the bad bacteria at bay.
These nutritious foods are also rich in important nutrients like protein and calcium. The FDA requires at least two strains of bacteria in all yogurts.
Kefir is a liquid yogurt with a tangy flavor. It is cultured longer than yogurt and can contain as many as 12 strains of good bacteria.
Look for the words “live active cultures” on the container and choose varieties without too much added sugar.
Reducing stress is one of the most effective ways to improve your gut microbiome. Chronic stress can disrupt the delicate balance of microorganisms in the gut. This leads to inflammation, digestive issues, and a weakened immune system.
When the body is stressed, it produces high levels of cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that can damage the gut lining and reduce the diversity of gut bacteria. By practicing stress-reducing techniques like meditation or yoga, you can lower cortisol levels and improve the health of your gut microbiome.
If you’re not getting enough probiotic-rich food naturally, you can opt to take a quality supplement. There are a wide variety of probiotic supplements available so be sure to choose one from a reputable brand.
When taken as a supplement, probiotics can help heal the gut by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria and inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria. Additionally, probiotics can help reduce gut inflammation, strengthen the gut barrier, and enhance immune function.
Overall, taking a probiotic supplement can be a natural and effective way to support gut health and promote overall wellness.
Recipes To Restore Gut Health
These recipes are designed to promote gut health by incorporating ingredients that are rich in fiber, prebiotics, and probiotics. By consuming these recipes, you can improve your digestive function, reduce inflammation, and restore the balance of beneficial bacteria in your gut.
So, try out these gut-healthy recipes and give your gut the nourishment it needs to thrive!