The digestive system is like the house we live in. We take something into our home, use it, and ensure our house stays healthy by cleaning it and flushing our dung and urine, etc. This can be compared to the relationship between our gut and microbiome.
What Are The Guts And Microbiome?
The guts are the house or the digestive system that includes the stomach, small intestine, and large intestine for absorbing and digesting nutrients. Meanwhile, the microbiome is the residents/microorganisms in the guts, such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi, that help the food digest, regulate the immune system, and enable nutrient synthesis. The microbiome synthesizes nutrients by breaking down foods like undigested carbohydrates and fiber into fatty acids and vitamins to benefit the body.
Factors like poor diet, too much alcohol consumption, not exercising, inadequate sleep, antibiotic use, chronic stress, poor hydration, etc., can affect the proper functioning of the gut and microbiome. That’s why you should learn to improve them so you won’t have bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, weakened immune system, inflammation, bowel disease, anxiety, depression, etc.
How To Enhance Your Guts And Microbiome?
To have a healthy gut and microbiome, consider the following options:
1. Have a good diet plan
Certain foods are good for your gut and microbiome, and when you combine them, you’ll realize the benefits. They include eating a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and adequate hydration.
Also, ensure you take these foods regularly and don’t rush them; instead, chew them thoroughly so that you won’t stress your digestive tracts and microbiomes in digesting them. Just because you should eat these foods, it doesn’t mean you should overeat so you won’t stress the gut microbiome in digesting them. Now, let’s explore these foods:
- Enjoy fiber-rich foods like oats, legumes, and fruits that will ease the excretion of waste materials from your body and nourish beneficial gut bacteria to perform its function effectively.
- Add probiotics foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi into your diet so your guts will have helpful bacteria for proper digestion and improved immune system.
- Consider eating prebiotic foods like garlic, onions, bananas, and asparagus because beneficial gut bacteria enjoy them. They will assist your guts in digesting these foods quickly and absorbing the nutrients.
- What’s the point of taking these foods without proper hydration? It’s just a waste of time. Drinking enough water throughout will help your gut microbiome digest and absorb foods easily.
- To further reduce inflammation in the guts, you should consider eating foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids, like fatty fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts.
2. Don’t consume certain foods, drinks, or medication
Some foods will only make matters worse for the gut and microbiome, which will also negatively affect you.
- The microbiome consists of harmful and beneficial bacteria, and the former love food with added sugars and refined carbohydrates. When you take foods like pancake syrup, high fructose corn syrup, cookies, cakes, table sugar (sucrose), sodas, etc., you’ll start experiencing bloating, gas, and other gastrointestinal issues.
- Avoid foods like sucralose (used in Splenda), aspartame (used in diet sodas, sugar-free gum), saccharin (used in sweeteners like Sweet’N Low), etc., which are artificial sweeteners, a low-calorie substitute to sugar. They can cause an imbalance in the microbiome, blood sugar level, and insulin sensitivity.
- Alcohol is bad for the gut microbiome. You can stay away from it; however, if you must take it, ensure moderation because it can cause various digestive issues.
- Do you know that antibiotics like penicillins, tetracyclines, fluoroquinolones, cephalosporins, etc., meant to treat bacteria infections can harm your gut microbiome? If you must take it, ensure your doctor prescribed it and adhere to the required dosage because a high dosage is terrible for your digestive health.
3. Non-food solution
Many things can still improve your gut microbiome even if you’ve learned the right food to eat and those to avoid. They include the following:
- Manage stress: When stressed due to worries, your stomach can get upset, affecting the helpful bacteria from functioning. So try to relieve the stress through yoga, meditation, and gently massaging your belly.
- Sleep is essential because it relaxes the stomach, giving peace to your gut microbiome. So, sleep adequately for over 8 hours for better results.
- Regularly consult your doctor to check your gut health to prevent and treat any digestive issues.
The gut and microbiome ensure that your digestive system functions well; however, you can improve it if it malfunctions by taking the right foods and drink, avoiding certain foods, relieving stress, sleeping adequately, and regularly consulting your doctor.