A healthy gut is a common term that means there is more good bacteria than bad bacteria in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract. For those that suffer from persistent upset stomach, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and other GI symptoms, you may spend countless hours researching strategies to improve gut health. Multiple factors determine the type of bacteria present in the GI tract and there are steps you can take to improve gut health. Below are five tips to try to improve gut health:
- Vary your food choices. When you incorporate different foods, you allow your gut microbiome to become more varied. A varied gut microbiome offers more health benefits and may also be helpful in fighting against chronic diseases. Strive for quality foods most of the time by selecting whole foods over processed foods. Some processed foods may be high in added sugars. High amounts of added sugars may decrease the number of good bacteria in your GI tract.
- Incorporate adequate fiber. Select foods that are good or excellent sources of fiber, like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, seeds, and nuts, to promote the growth of good bacteria.
- Add a probiotic. Probiotics are live organisms that can be consumed through foods like yogurt or tempeh. Choose yogurt that says it contains “live and active cultures” to include more probiotics. If it is challenging to incorporate foods that contain probiotics, consider selecting a probiotic supplement. To learn more about safety with supplements read this article from Cecelia Health titled “Supplements for Diabetes: What’s Safe and What Works”.
- Include a prebiotic. While probiotics are live organisms, prebiotics can be viewed as food for the good bacteria in your gut. What is even more interesting about prebiotics is that they are present in many foods that are good sources of fiber, such as whole grains, bananas, and soybeans. Prebiotics are fibers that are not digested in your body, but rather feed good bacteria in your gut.
- Consider speaking with your doctor and dietitian about your concerns. You may have a medical condition that requires attention or additional testing to determine what is causing your symptoms.
A healthy gut is a common term that means there is more good bacteria than bad bacteria in your GI tract. A healthy gut can improve your health and GI symptoms. Consider varying food choices, incorporating adequate fiber, adding a probiotic, including a prebiotic, and speaking with a health professional as strategies to improve your gut health. For more tips on digestive health, consider viewing “10 Tips on Belching, Bloating and Flatulence” from the American College of Gastroenterology.