Five Ways To Improve Gut Health
Have constant stomachaches, gas, or other digestive problems? Judging by the 400 million views of TikTok’s #guttok videos, you’re not alone! It can be hard to figure out which diets and probiotics will really help you.
Here are the following five simple dietary adjustments and tips you can implement into your daily routine to improve gut health. These tips are according to experts’ recommendations and are backed by scientific literature.
For good digestion, you might need to eat enough fat. Fats such as Omegas promote the health of gut bacteria and reduce inflammation which could be responsible for digestive issues.
Researchers have also shown that “omega-3 fatty acids” might make you less likely to get diseases such as ulcerative colitis and inflammatory bowel diseases(1, 2).
Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids include nuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, and fish such as sardines and salmon.
Eat a lot of fiber. Everyone knows that fiber helps the digestive system.
Soluble fiber soaks up water and helps give your stool more bulk. On the other hand, Insoluble fiber acts like a big toothbrush and keeps things moving throughout your digestive tract. (3). Both types of fibers also contain substances that reduce swelling associated with inflammatory gut disorders such as IBS.
The foods rich in soluble fiber are nuts, legumes, oat bran, and seeds. Insoluble fiber is found in wheat bran, whole grains, and vegetables.
Researchers have shown that people who eat a high-fiber diet are less likely to have IBS, diverticulitis, hemorrhoids, reflux, and ulcers(4).
3. Exercise Often
Researchers have found that exercise increases the number of different types of healthy bacteria in the gut. Several studies have shown that exercise and diet can work together to improve gut health, but a 2019 review found that exercise alone may be able to change the makeup and function of gut bacteria without the help of diet(5).
Researchers found that longer workouts and high-intensity aerobic training contributed most to the diversity and function of gut bacteria in relation to overall health.
4. Stay Hydrated
Constipation is often caused by not drinking enough water. Experts recommend, to avoid constipation, you need to drink 50–66 ounces (1.5–2 liters) of non-caffeinated fluids every day. But you might need more if you live in a hot environment or work out hard(6)
In addition to water, you can drink herbal teas and other non-caffeinated drinks like seltzer water to meet your daily fluid needs.
5. Lessen your stress
Stress isn’t just in your head. Think about how you feel when you’re nervous or excited. Gut health experts often talk about the “gut-brain link” and call the gut “the second brain.” Even though we don’t know everything about their connection, we do know that gut and mental health are closely linked.
Research shows that anxiety and depression affect the gut and that the gut affects anxiety and depression. Anxiety and depression increase the risk of IBS and people with IBS are more likely to have these mental health problems(7).
Finding ways to deal with your mental health and stress may help you feel better and bring your body back into balance. Try adding physical activity to your routine. Something as simple as a daily walk could help improve gut health as it increases the growth of good bacteria.
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- Ananthakrishnan AN, Khalili H, Konijeti GG, Higuchi LM, de Silva P, Fuchs CS, et al. Long-term intake of dietary fat and risk of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Gut. 2014;63(5):776-84.
- Schwanke RC, Marcon R, Bento AF, Calixto JB. EPA- and DHA-derived resolvins’ actions in inflammatory bowel disease. Eur J Pharmacol. 2016;785:156-64.
- McRorie JW, Jr., McKeown NM. Understanding the Physics of Functional Fibers in the Gastrointestinal Tract: An Evidence-Based Approach to Resolving Enduring Misconceptions about Insoluble and Soluble Fiber. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2017;117(2):251-64.
- Anderson JW, Baird P, Davis RH, Jr., Ferreri S, Knudtson M, Koraym A, et al. Health benefits of dietary fiber. Nutr Rev. 2009;67(4):188-205.
- Monda V, Villano I, Messina A, Valenzano A, Esposito T, Moscatelli F, et al. Exercise modifies the gut microbiota with positive health effects. Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity. 2017;2017.
- Mearin F, Ciriza C, Mínguez M, Rey E, Mascort JJ, Peña E, et al. Clinical Practice Guideline: Irritable bowel syndrome with constipation and functional constipation in the adult. Rev Esp Enferm Dig. 2016;108(6):332-63.
- Jones MP, Tack J, Van Oudenhove L, Walker MM, Holtmann G, Koloski NA, et al. Mood, and anxiety disorders precede the development of functional gastrointestinal disorders in patients but not in the population. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 2017;15(7):1014-20. e4.