Limit Your Alcohol Intake
Drinking too much may negatively affect your microbiome, too. Repeated alcohol use is linked to gastritis, an irritation of the gut in which it becomes inflamed. Such inflammation can lead to heartburn, chronic discomfort, ulcers and bacterial infections.
Drinking too much is also associated with intestinal inflammation, which is a sign of an unhealthy gut. Research suggests that this kind of inflammation alters the microbiotaincluding how well it worksand can throw it off balance.
Ways To Improve Stomach Acid
Treating low stomach acid depends on the underlying cause. If youve been prescribed antacid medication for your heartburn symptoms, your doctor may change your prescription to avoid triggering hypochlorhydria symptoms.
However, there are a few steps you can follow to help increase stomach acid levels on your own.
Eat Fermented Foods That Have Beneficial Bacteria
Weve all heard about eating more yogurt for our gut health, but have we learned about eating more fermented foods?
These foods have more good bacteria to improve your belly. They contain a high count of lactobacilli bacteria, which are beneficial. They are also the ones that convert sugar to acids and alcohols:
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Tips For Better Digestive Health
Your lifestyle and your choice of foods can affect the way your body digests what you eat. Heres how to keep things running smoothly.
Your digestive system breaks down the foods you eat into the nutrients your body needs. If you neglect your digestive health, your body could run into problems absorbing those essential nutrients.
The foods you eat and the lifestyle you live have a direct impact on your digestive health. Taking steps to improve your digestive health can help your digestive system function more efficiently and improve your overall health and sense of well-being.
Not sure where to start? Try incorporating these strategies into your daily life to keep things running smoothly:
1. Eat a high-fiber diet. According to , owner of Halsa Nutrition and adjunct professor of nutrition at Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts, consuming a high-fiber diet that’s rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes can improve your digestive health. “A high-fiber diet helps to keep food moving through your digestive tract, making you less likely to get constipated,” Adams says, adding that a high-fiber diet can also help you prevent or treat various digestive conditions, such as diverticulosis, hemorrhoids, and irritable bowel syndrome . In addition, it can help you achieve or maintain a healthy weight.
Pelvic Floor Abdominal Massage
Perform this technique specifically around or before the time you have a bowel movement. Its mostly effective at the start of the day rather than any other time. Do this one or twice every day for 10 to 15 minutes to maintain a healthy bowel movement pattern.
How to Perform a Pelvic Floor Abdominal Massage
- Rest your back on a firm surface, then bend your knees directly into your chest. This helps to relieve the tension in your abdomen and back. Slowly stretch out your legs until youre completely comfortable.
- Place your left hand under your left ribcage and gently massage the area around it in a clockwise motion. Your hand movement should go as low as your hip bone and as high as your left rib cage.
- Repeat that motion around ten times for both sides of your gut.
- Stroke down your lower abdomen as you incorporate a horizontal stroke in the form of the letter L. Perform this at least ten times.
- Complete this move by massaging your stomach in a clockwise movement. Do this about 2-3 inches from your navel. This helps to stimulate your small intestines.
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How To Improve Gut Health Naturally With Less Sugar
Sugar is everywhere, even when you cant taste it. Sadly, refined sugar can upset the balance in your gut and your metabolism.
If youre wondering how to get rid of bad bacteria in the gut, less sugar can help. Soft drinks, processed foods, takeaways, and restaurant food can contain high levels of sugar because it helps balance flavour and cover up poor quality ingredients. But dont get these sugars confused with complex carbs that your gut bacteria need to thrive and survive.
Go Easy On Spice To Avoid Tummy Troubles
Many people love spicy food and it does not bother their digestive system. Others find their tummy is upset when they have spicy food.
It’s not just scorching hot foods like chillies that trigger heartburn. Milder but flavourful foods like garlic and onion can also bring it on.
If spicy foods give you heartburn, stomach pain or diarrhoea, go easy on them in future.
If you already have a problem like heartburn or an irritable bowel, avoid them completely.
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How To Improve Gut Health Naturally And Reduce Inflammation
Because inflammation is at the root of so many issues, resolving that inflammation through natural means will improve gut health in many ways, explains Bard.
Chronic inflammation just makes everything harder, she says. The organs have to work harder when everythings out of balance. The body wants to achieve homeostasis . With inflammation, it cant do it. Cleaning up the gut can help reduce some of the chronic inflammation in the body.
As a nutritionist, Bard emphasizes that what we eat and drink directly affects our gut microbiome. She believes that a diverse, whole-foods diet that feeds the good bacteria in the gut is the best way to minimize inflammation and maintain a healthy gut microbiome. That means foods that come from the earth or animals that have sacrificed their lives for us to eat.
Heres how to improve gut health through exercise, stress management, and a healthy diet centered on protein, healthy fat, and healthy carbohydrates in the form of fruits, vegetables, and grains.
Probiotic Safety And Side Effects
For most people, probiotics are safe and cause few side effects. For hundreds of years, people world-wide have been eating foods containing live cultures. However, probiotic supplements and foods could be dangerous for people with weakened immune systems or serious illnesses. As with all nutritional supplements, probiotics should be taken according to the directions and with the guidance of a physician or health care provider.
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Add Fermented Foods To Your Diet
Fermentation is an anaerobic food preparation process in which live microorganisms like yeast and bacteria are used to break down the foods. Historically this was done to preserve foods and eliminate toxins, but today its also done to impart flavor. And, of course, for the abundant health benefits.
The live microorganisms in fermented foods can prevent the invasion of harmful bacteria into the gut and improve the immune system. People have used fermented foods to treat gut-associated diseases for many years. Fermentation can increase the health benefits of many foods. Popular fermented foods include:
- Sourdough bread
Most fermented foods contain probiotics. Probiotics are foods that add live beneficial bacteria to your gut flora. They can help to improve digestion and metabolism, support immune function, and even boost your mood. Yogurt is one of the best sources of probiotics.
Apple cider vinegar is made by fermenting apples however, it doesnt always contain probiotics. Youll see many claims about the benefits of apple cider vinegar for gut health. But there is no scientific evidence backing this claim thus far. However, ACV is packed with antioxidants and live bacteria. These can be good for your gut flora and help with inflammation.
What Are The Best Foods For Gut Health
To summarize, here are some of the best foods for gut health:
- Fiber. Think whole grains, beans and legumes, and whole fruits and veggies.
- Fermented foods. Sauerkrat, kimchi, tempeh, kimchi, miso, kefir, pickles.
- Greens. Dandelion greens, broccoli, asparagus, seaweed.
- Roughage: Jerusalem artichoke, jicama, flaxseed.
- Fruits. Bananas, apples.
- Also: garlic and gum arabic.
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Keeping Your Gut In Check
Healthy Options to Stay on Tract
Your digestive system is busy. When you eat something, your food takes a twisty trip that starts with being chewed up and ends with you going to the bathroom. A lot happens in between. The health of your gut plays a key role in your overall health and well-being. You can make choices to help your body stay on tract.
Your digestive, or gastrointestinal , tract is a long, muscular tube that runs from your mouth to your anus. Its about 30 feet long and works with other parts of your digestive system to break food and drink down into smaller molecules of nutrients. The blood absorbs these and carries them throughout the body for cells to use for energy, growth, and repair.
With such a long GI highway, its common to run into bumps in the road. About 60 to 70 million Americans are affected by digestive diseases, like gastroesophageal reflux disease or irritable bowel syndrome . GERD happens when your stomach acid and/or contents come back up into your esophagus or throat. This causes uncomfortable symptoms like heartburn and indigestion. IBS is a group of symptoms that includes pain in the abdomen and changes in bowel habits. People with IBS may have constipation, diarrhea, or both. Many more people have other digestive problems, like bloating and stomach pain.
Based on what his team and others have found, Gewirtz advises, The take home message: Eat a balanced diet and less processed foods.
How To Improve Your Digestive Health
This article was medically reviewed by Peter Gardner, MD. Peter W. Gardner, MD is a board certified physician who has practiced Gastroenterology and Hepatology for over 30 years. He specializes in diseases of the digestive system and liver. Dr. Gardner earned his Bachelors degree from the University of North Carolina and attended Georgetown Medical School. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine and then his fellowship in Gastroenterology at the University of Connecticut. He is a previous Chief of Gastroenterology at Stamford Hospital and remains on the staff. He is also on the staff of Greenwich Hospital and New York Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Gardner is an Approved Consultant in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology with the American Board of Internal Medicine.There are 19 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 11 testimonials and 100% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 336,067 times.
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Your Digestive System: 5 Ways To Support Gut Health
Digestive system problems such as heartburn, gas, bloating and constipation reflect whats happening throughout your body. As we age, the natural cycles slow down and dont work as well, says Johns Hopkins gastroenterologist Gerard Mullin, M.D.
The main drivers of gut health change are shifts in stomach acid, gut immunity and gastrointestinal florathe complex ecosystem of bacteria in your digestive system.
When gut health is good, he says, youre less likely to experience damaging inflammation and lapses in immunity.
The following ways to protect your digestive system may sound surprising because theyre not just about diet. Everything ties together, Mullin says.
Signs Of An Unhealthy Gut: Constant Fatigue
If youre feeling constantly tired no matter what you do, this may also be a sign of gut trouble. You may have heard of the neurotransmitter serotonin. All body systems are interconnected, and while serotonin is activated in the brain, the majority of it is produced in the gut. Serotonin affects mood and sleep, and if your gut is unhealthy, you may be experiencing poor sleep or insomnia, which can leave you feeling exhausted and fatigued daily.
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Increase Immunity The Healthy Way
Many products on store shelves claim to boost or support immunity. But the concept of boosting immunity actually makes little sense scientifically. In fact, boosting the number of cells in your body immune cells or others is not necessarily a good thing. For example, athletes who engage in “blood doping” pumping blood into their systems to boost their number of blood cells and enhance their performance run the risk of strokes.
Attempting to boost the cells of your immune system is especially complicated because there are so many different kinds of cells in the immune system that respond to so many different microbes in so many ways. Which cells should you boost, and to what number? So far, scientists do not know the answer. What is known is that the body is continually generating immune cells. Certainly, it produces many more lymphocytes than it can possibly use. The extra cells remove themselves through a natural process of cell death called apoptosis some before they see any action, some after the battle is won. No one knows how many cells or what the best mix of cells the immune system needs to function at its optimum level.
Signs Of An Unhealthy Gut: Upset Stomach And Stomach Pain
Everyone gets an upset stomach or stomach pain from time to time, whether from eating foods that cause gas, menstrual cramps, or a passing virus. However, persistent upset stomach pain or other stomach disturbances, such as bloating, gas, heartburn, diarrhea, and constipation can all be indicators of an unhealthy gut. While this can be somewhat connected to the food you eat, it is more due to the imbalance in your gut. You are experiencing pain because the stomach is having trouble digesting food and eliminating waste. Because of this struggle, youre experiencing GI upset.
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Influencers Dont Necessarily Know Science
Social media made people famous by promoting an aspirational lifestyle who often receive payment for advertising products and services.
Ask yourself, how many accredited health experts and researchers do you follow? Social media influencers are often highly paid by companies to promote products and/or services. They also made it to the top by sharing opinions, but not necessarily scientific facts.
Its important to do your own research, or else you may find yourself doing some very unscientific stuff and buying all sorts of gut health supplements that some rando with a hundred thousand followers told you to. Dont be afraid to question what youre being told.
Smart Ways To Improve Your Stomach Health
Without good stomach health your life will not feel as good as it should.
I speak from my own experience, because I went for almost two years with stomach problems.
Each morning I was unable to eat. I suffered from cold sweats, nausea and diarrhea.
The doctors had no clue why this was happening and they said that it was all in my head .
This led me to start researching alternative ways of healing my stomach. I am glad to say that today I have a perfectly functioning stomach.
With all that said, let’s get to ways you can improve your wellbeing.
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Healthy Gut Happy Human
In most cases, supplements arent needed to support a healthy gut. They can help, but what you eat is by far the most important factor.
New York Times columnist Jane Brody sums up good gut-health advice, saying: People interested in fostering a health-promoting array of gut microorganisms should consider shifting from a diet heavily based on meats, carbohydrates and processed foods to one that emphasizes plants.
If you aim to follow the recommendations in this article, youll be supporting better bathroom habits, a healthier immune response and even a better, brighter mood. Take care of your gut, and it will give you the TLC you need.
Let us know in the comments:
- Do you have any tips for good gut health?
- What do you think are the best foods for gut health?
and receive the Top 10 Foods To Eat And Avoid For Longevity infographic poster!
Beware Gut Symptom Triggers
Some people find particular foods cause them problems. Acidic foods, such as tomatoes, citrus fruits, salad dressings and fizzy drinks, can trigger heartburn, while wheat and onions may cause irritable bowel syndrome.
And if you cannot digest lactose, the sugar in milk, you’ll develop wind and diarrhoea after drinking milk or eating dairy products, including cream, cheese, yoghurt and chocolate.
Try to stay away from foods and drinks that trigger your digestive symptoms. Keep a food diary to work out which foods cause your symptoms.
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Foods To Improve Your Digestion
Digestive problems, such as gas, constipation and diarrhea, affectmillions, with 15 percent of people in Western countries experiencing asevere form of gut sensitivity called irritable bowel syndrome .
In this article,Linda Lee, M.D., shares five foods that promote healthier digestion and help you avoidcommon gastrointestinal symptoms.