Most people don’t know what gut microbiome is, the bacteria in your gut which is one of the most important allies for overall health.
- Healthy Gut = Healthy Body
- Unhealthy Gut = Detrimental Impact On Health
Well, let’s start with the basics. The gut microbiome can impact your overall health ranging from arthritis to depression. This is because your gut absorbs all the nutrients it needs for a high-level functioning. This is the reason why an unhealthy gut often leads to different health issues.
Why is Gut Microbiome So Important?
Bacteria might be virtually microscopic, but we have so much of it in our bodies. Bacteria make 3-4% of our body weight. However, lifestyle and poor eating habits can affect the maintenance of good bacteria in our body. Gut bacteria can be surprising because most people don’t realize they are having issues with their bacteria levels until adverse side effects start showing up.
That is why maintaining ‘good’ gut bacteria in the body is very helpful because these bacteria help improve digestion, strengthen the immune system and aid the body in manufacturing the needed vitamins.
Our goal here is to maintain a healthy gut to keep a balance of the bacteria levels in our system. Fortunately, this is actually easier than it sounds.
Wherever or whatever you are doing right now, you can definitely start creating the right balance of good gut bacteria.
Here are five easy yet effective ways to improve your gut microbiome and therefore, your overall health.
- Eat Healthy Fats. Fats don’t necessarily mean unhealthy because there are healthy fats too and we need them in our body. They are essential to a balanced diet because they help everything from your brain to your joints. The simplest change you could do is switch from canola or vegetable oil to coconut oil. Coconut oil is a very healthy fat because it is non-inflammatory and helps keep your bacteria levels in check. Supplements are also great for improving your gut flora. Dr. Mark Hyman, a functional medicine doctor, often suggests supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids and probiotic supplements to help reduce gut inflammation and promote healthy flora production. In Dr. Mark Hyman’s book ‘Eat Fat, Get Thin,’ he provides a practical guide to introducing healthy fats into your diet. Other sources of good fats are as follows: fish oils, salmon, avocados, grass-fed butter, extra-virgin oil. Bad fats cause inflammation, can destroy healthy gut microbes and can even resist weight loss. Bad fats can also increase your risk of cardiovascular issued and other chronic diseases.
- Cut Out Your Sugar Intake. Did you know that sugar is one of the biggest enemies of the microbiome? And the bad news is, according to Dr. Hyman, our diets have more sugar than ever and we even hardly know it. People only used to have an average of 20 tsp of sugar a year, but now, the average person eats around 22 tsp of sugar a DAY. Add that up with other products such as steroids and anti-acids, taking in this much sugar can drastically affect your gut bacteria and eventually destroy the good bacteria your system needs. Try cutting off your sugar intake from your diet. This sounds harder than it actually seems but Dr. Hyman has a much slower approach. According to him, sugar is more addictive than drugs. Numerous studies on rats and addiction found that rats prefer sugar over cocaine. You can be easily addicted to sugar which can also mean cutting it off from your diet may take a long time. Sugar can be found in most foods from sodas to coffee drinks, packaged foods, and many more. Because you have been so used to consuming sugar, you may feel sluggish or have headaches the first time you try to overcome it. The good news is, cutting off your sugar can help a lot in maintaining the balance of your gut microbiome as well as maintain a healthy weight. Overall, eating less or cutting it off can help you with your weight loss goals.
- Eat Lean Proteins. Most diet plans will tell you to eat plenty of lean proteins. Protein is so important because it helps with your hair, skin, nails, and muscles. It also promotes better brain health and most importantly, for your gut. When you eat lean proteins, you will have lots of good microbe such as Lactobacillus or Bifidobacteria while at the same time helping eliminate the bad microbe such as yeast and parasites. Other sources of good proteins are as follows: eggs, salmon, leafy green vegetables, beans. The more natural sources of proteins, the better.
- More Fiber = Better Health. One of the best additions to your diet is fiber. It supports your gut, plus, the microbes in your gut love fiber. A great rule of thumb for a healthy, fiber-filled diet is to make 75% of your plate with natural, colorful vegetables. Adding fiber to your diet should be one of the necessary changes you need to make to help improve the production of good flora in your gut.
- Get Some Sufficient Sleep. Although the majority of finding gut balance leads to diet, this is not the only thing to consider to run and maintain a healthy gut. You also need to add exercise to your daily routine. It keeps your entire system up to help you get going through the day. Another very important thing you need to do is to get sufficient sleep, and that means eight hours per night. Stress and lack of sleep can either make you gain or lose some weight unhealthily. Mood and stress can also directly impact your gut flora. It is imperative that we take good care of our health as we are to our other needs, such as work. We can only function well if we have a healthy body and balanced system so make sure you keep your gut balance in check for overall optimal health.