Do you feel sluggish? Have brain fog? Are your aches and pains getting out of control? It could be due to your diet, which can lead to an imbalance in your gut bacteria. Studies have shown that the gut microbiome is linked to the immune system, mental health, cancers, mood, skin conditions, and endocrine disorders. Try our tips to reset an unhealthy gut!
Remove “Bad” Foods from Your Diet
First, remove “bad” foods and additives from your diet. The typical American diet is full of “convenience” foods, aka processed foods, fat, and sugar. We’ve all heard about how much damage sugar can cause, and even if you’re making a conscious effort to limit your sugar intake, it’s hidden in a lot of foods that you wouldn’t expect. Check labels! Also, take a look at the preservatives, food coloring, artificial sweeteners, and other additives in your food. There are probably way more than you think! A good rule to cut out additives is to try to eat foods with 5 ingredients or less.
Add More “Good” Food to Your Diet
Next, you’ll want to add more “good” foods to your diet, like fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains. Focus your diet to be heavy on plants, especially leafy ones. Fiber is your best friend when it comes to digestive health. Make your plate colorful to get a good balance of nutrients. Shop the edge of the grocery store, where there are usually more whole foods. Consider adding things like sprouted grains, olive oil/coconut oil, wild salmon, garlic, bone broth, and onions, because they can all aid digestive health.
Get Plenty of Probiotics
While you’re adding foods to your diet, be sure to get plenty of probiotics. Look for low-sugar yogurt with active cultures, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, miso, etc. If you find it difficult to add enough fermented foods to your daily diet, consider adding probiotic supplements.
Adjust Your Lifestyle
After adjusting the nutrients that go into your body, your next step is to take a look at your current lifestyle habits. Most people think they’re taking adequate care of themselves, but here are some questions you should ask yourself to really investigate: Are you getting enough sleep? Exercise? Water?
Adults typically need 7-8 hours of sleep each night, although most of us find that we are too “busy” to get that much sleep; there’s always more to do! But in order for our bodies to properly repair, we have to allow enough down time to recover. This also applies to our stress levels: it’s important to take some time each day, even if it’s just a moment, to de-stress, relax, and/or meditate. An active lifestyle can also aid in reducing your level of stress hormones, and we all know that a sedentary lifestyle can lead to obesity, so be sure to exercise regularly! Water is also crucial to your digestive health since it helps to flush toxins from your system and works with fiber to move foods through your GI tract.
For more details about how to improve your GI health, visit the excellent gastroenterologists at Digestive Health Centers.