Gut health essentials
Your gut health is connected to practically everything. A lot of recent research has highlighted the connection between your gut microbiome and your nervous system, immune system, your sleep cycle and even mental health… so it’s no wonder the wellness world is heavily focused on getting gut health in check. And while some brands suggest that you can “heal your gut” with detox programs and fad diets – in truth, the best way to reset your gut is to follow doctor-approved steps for gut-friendly nutrition and habits that may surprise you with the ways they can help your stomach.
Dr Katie E. Golden, a board-certified physician, explains that each of us was born with a unique microbiome that changes over time and is impacted by our lifestyles. To reset your gut and get your digestive system into a healthy balance, Dr Golden outlines five easy steps to help most anyone.
Step 1: Eat whole, fibre-rich foods
Dr Golden says healthy gut bacteria tend to start in the kitchen – to be specific: “Eating a whole-food, fibre-rich diet is one of the best ways to treat your gut well.” Fibre helps to feed the good bacteria in your gut that keep your digestive tract thriving.
The whole foods Dr Golden recommends for gut health are “vegetables and fruits, nuts and seeds, and whole grains.” These can include oats, berries, beans, legumes, cruciferous vegetables and bananas on the greener side of ripeness. In contrast, processed foods have been shown to be a gut-punch to good digestive health, as they often tend to lack fibre and are high in saturated fat.
Dr Golden also suggests adding probiotics to replenish the bacteria in your gut. “There is some evidence to suggest that fermented foods – such as pickles, sauerkraut, kombucha, and yoghurt – can support a healthy gut microbiome.”
Step 2: Get moving
Dr Golden suggests incorporating daily physical activity to boost your gut health – and science confirms it. Research published in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity in 2017 concluded that exercise “[was] able to enrich the microflora diversity” in ways that contributed to weight loss and relief from gastrointestinal disorders.
Turns out, this connection between exercise and the gut microbiome also works in reverse. A review published in Frontiers of Nutrition made the point that when endurance athletes reduced inflammation and gastrointestinal symptoms, their training and sports performance improved.