Your gut health is absolutely essential to your wellbeing. When the good bacteria in your gut aren’t fed, they starve to death. This affects every aspect of your life from your immune system and the health and appearance of your skin to your mood and mental health. Today, our GI experts at Timeless Wellness Clinic in Pleasanton, CA are discussing how you can balance your microbiome and balance your GI tract.
How Can I Balance My Microbiome?
Eat More Vegetables
If you’re like most Americans, you aren’t eating enough vegetables every day. Unfortunately, neglecting to get your five a day is a recipe for gut health disaster. Vegetables are a good source of prebiotic fiber, a type of nondigestible carbohydrate that probiotics feed on. According to research conducted in 2017, consuming plenty of prebiotics makes probiotics more resilient to changes in their environment, such as temperature and acidity.
If you want to get more prebiotic fiber in your diet, asparagus, chicory, Jerusalem artichokes, and onions are great choices. Other foods that are high in prebiotic fiber and easy to incorporate into your diet include bananas, garlic, and whole grains.
Eat Less Processed Foods
While eating more vegetables is a great way to balance your GI tract, it is not enough to restore full balance. The good bacteria in your microbiome will have plenty to eat, but the bad bacteria in your gut will still be fed and flourish if you don’t minimize your consumption of processed foods. To starve the bad bacteria in your gut and restore your gut health, you must refrain from consuming trans fats.
Also, you should only consume saturated fats, sugar, and alcohol in moderation. Specifically, men should consume no more than two units of alcohol daily, and women should consume no more than one unit of alcohol daily per AHA guidelines. Also, the AHA recommends that men consume no more than 36 grams of added sugar daily. Women should consume no more than 24 grams of added sugar daily per AHA guidelines.
Working out is another great way to ensure your entire GI tract, including your gut microbiome, is balanced. Exercise is essential for your heart health and can facilitate weight loss or help with weight maintenance. Not only does exercise keep your heart healthy, but it also boosts your mood and keeps your lungs, joints, bones, and gut healthy.
According to a study conducted in 2014, people who exercised regularly had a greater diversity of good gut flora than individuals who didn’t get enough exercise weekly. According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, adults should get at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise weekly. This may be a combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercise, just aerobic exercise, or just anaerobic exercise.
Taking probiotics is another great way to balance your microbiome by feeding your good gut bacteria. If you have recently taken antibiotics to treat an infection, there is a chance that you are not getting enough probiotics in your diet to feed your good gut bacteria. You may need to supplement your diet with probiotics and other supplements that facilitate good gut health.
Sleeping more is another great way to balance your gut microbiome. According to research conducted in 2014, poor sleep hygiene and chronic sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on your gut flora. This may increase the risk of developing such inflammatory conditions as arthritis and eczema. To keep your gastrointestinal tract balanced, go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every day.
While it may be tempting to go to bed late so you can get more free time once you come home from work, cook, clean the kitchen, and put the kids to bed, you need to get at least seven hours of sleep nightly. If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, set an alarm for an hour before you want to go to bed, and avoid blue light from TVs or computer monitors. Also, turn your AC down to 67 degrees or lower.
Make Time for Yourself
Remember, you can’t take care of anyone else in your life if you don’t first take time for yourself. If you want to balance your GI tract, you need to take time to relax and unwind every day. Studies have shown that mental stress results in physical stress that damages your gut microbiome. If you notice you are stressed, try to make time to relax by journaling, meditating, practicing mindful breathing, or getting a quick workout in.
If you can’t walk away from a stressful situation and journal or meditate, performing a quick grounding exercise can be extremely helpful. To ground yourself, name five things you can see, four things you can hear, three things you can touch, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. Focusing on 15 things in your environment will calm you down and prevent too much damage from occurring to your gut microbiome.
Another important step to take if you want your gut flora to be as healthy as possible is to stop smoking. Smoking doesn’t just affect your mouth, throat, lungs, and heart. It also affects your gut biome significantly. Specifically, the chemical compounds found in tobacco products increase the number of bad bacteria in your gut microbiome and decrease the number of good bacteria in your gut microbiome.
This imbalance in your gut microbiome can lead to a number of systemic conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), arthritis, and eczema. Although the best thing you can do is stop smoking altogether, you will bring your gut microbiome closer to being balanced if you smoke less. If you think you’re ready to stop smoking, keep in mind that you will only go through physical withdrawals for 72 hours. After that, your cravings will be all mental.
Stop Eating Animal Products
To restore your gut health quickly, go on a vegan diet for 30 days. You don’t have to live a vegan lifestyle, giving up leather and other non-dietary animal products. However, you should avoid eating seafood, meat, eggs, milk, cheese, and yogurt. There is evidence to suggest that vegans have healthier gut flora than individuals that eat and drink animal products.
You don’t have to maintain a vegan lifestyle for the rest of your life, but you can benefit from a vegan diet even if you only follow it for a brief period. Research is still ongoing regarding why vegans have healthier guts than people who consume animal products. You may benefit from a vegetarian diet that includes dairy products and eggs if you eat mostly produce. This may be due to the amount of prebiotic fiber found in vegetarian diets.
Learn More About How To Balance Your GI Tract Today
Are you ready to restore balance to your gut microbiome? If so, some of the most important steps you can take are eating more vegetables, minimizing processed food consumption, and taking probiotics. You can also benefit from sleeping more and stressing less. To learn more about how to maintain your gut health, contact us today at Timeless Wellness Clinic in Pleasanton, CA to schedule an appointment. We look forward to hearing from you soon.