How to Improve Microbiome Imbalance
How can you ensure you maintain a healthy gut? What daily lifestyle changes can you make to keep stomach upsets and digestive problems at bay? Try these tips and you should see improvements in your digestion in no time.
Approximately 60 to 70 million Americans are affected by digestive diseases. From constipation to gastrointestinal infections and bloating, there are many afflictions caused by problems with the digestional tract.
Your intestines alone are about 15 feet long, which is the length of half a badminton court. That's a big area for things to go wrong. One of the leading causes of digestive problems is a microbiome imbalance.
Why Is Gut Health Important?
Some scientists and doctors refer to the gut as the second brain due to its importance in overall health and wellbeing.
Your gut microbiome refers to the microbes found in your gut. This is good bacteria found mainly in the pockets of the large intestine. Your microbiome aids digestion, bile production, regulating detoxification processes, and aids in absorbing nutrients and vitamins.
The other essential function of the gut microbiome is to support the immune system. Numerous scientific studies support the idea that the gut microbiome is critical for the immune system. It is thought that as much as 80% of the immune system is in the gut.
Your gut health can have a significant impact on your overall physical and mental health. Maintaining a healthy gut is one of the critical pillars to maintaining overall health.
What Is a Healthy Gut?
A healthy gut is a digestive tract that has the correct balance of beneficial bacteria. If you have a healthy gut, it will communicate to the brain, using nerves and hormones, that everything is fine. This will have a positive impact on your overall health.
A healthy microbiome means a healthy immune system. It will make it easier for your body to fight infection or viruses.
If you have good digestive health, you won't find problems going to the toilet - constipation or diarrhea. A balanced gut microbiome means you don't suffer from bloating or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Other symptoms of a gut with an unbalanced microbiome include nausea, vomiting, or heartburn.
How to Avoid Microbiome Imbalance
There are several ways you can avoid an imbalance in your microbiome and maintain a healthy gut. Most of the tips are related to maintaining overall good health, but you can take some specific actions for improved stomach health. These include but are not limited to:
1. Taking a Daily Probiotic
Probiotics help you maintain a balanced community of good bacteria in your gut. If you find you are suffering from symptoms of a microbiome imbalance, you can try taking a probiotic. Probiotics help digest food more effectively and can help fight disease-causing cells.
Taking a probiotic such as from First Fitness Nutrition daily can support restoring the balance of your microbiome. Most people take a probiotic in the morning, before their first meal, either as a capsule or a small drink.
2. Regularly Eating Fermented Foods
Much the same as probiotic supplements, fermented foods are great for restoring the balance of your gut bacteria.
Due to the fermentation process, these foods are rich in probiotic bacteria. These good bacteria add enzymes and bacteria that promote the overall bacterial balance of your gut.
These gut health-promoting, fermented foods include:
- Kombucha (a fermented tea)
- Miso (a fermented soybean paste)
- Kimchi (fermented cabbage with spices, garlic, and ginger)
- Sauerkraut (fermented cabbage)
- Kefir (a fermented milk drink like a thin yogurt)
- Tempeh (fermented soybeans)
- Sourdough bread
- Probiotic yogurt (fermented milk)
3. Eating Less Sugary and Processed Foods
Eating sugary or heavily processed foods and white carbohydrates can cause inflammation in the gut. This can negatively affect the balance of bacteria in your microbiome as it reduces the number of good bacteria.
When the number of good bacteria is lowered due to poor food choices, it can increase your sugar cravings even more. This can lead to a vicious cycle of reduced good bacteria in your gut.
Try to eat as many whole foods, fruit, and vegetables as possible. A diet rich in fiber contributes to overall gut health and has a positive impact on microbial activity. A more vegetarian diet is beneficial to gut health as many of the foods in this diet contain prebiotic fiber.
3. Reducing Stress
High levels of stress can lead to imbalances in the microbiome. If you feel stressed, try to make time for some calming activities. Meditation, breathing exercises, listening to relaxing music, or reading a book are ways to combat stress.
Take time for yourself, even if it is just ten minutes a day, to decompress and relax.
4. Regular Exercise
Exercise is not only a great stress buster but essential for maintaining overall health. If you take regular exercise, you reduce stress levels.
Regular exercise can also help improve the level of good bacteria in your gut. Find a form of exercise you enjoy, so it doesn't feel like a chore, and try to do it three times a week or more.
5. Good Quality Sleep
Poor sleep is linked to stress which, in turn, exacerbates microbiome imbalance. Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep a night. Try not to look at screens before bed, so your mind has a chance to relax.
Overall Health Leads to a Healthy Gut
With a few simple lifestyle changes, you can improve a microbiome imbalance. Improving your overall diet and fitness can help restore the balance of good bacteria in your digestive tract.
Taking a daily probiotic supplement and eating fermented foods are also excellent ways to support your gut health.
For more advice on supplementing your diet and improving your overall health and well-being, check some of our other articles.
Jay Todtenbier is an original founder of SupplementRelief.com in 2010 and has operated the business ever since. He is also a tennis instructor and gospel musician. Formerly he spent 25 years in business development, technology and marketing with startups and major corporations having gone through the tech boom in Silicon Valley in the 90s. He became passionate about, and began studying and practicing Wellness as a Lifestyle after experiencing chronic, personal health challenges including depression, auto-immune disorders, and being overweight that impacted his ability to live a healthy, vibrant life. Since then, he has been an advocate for healthier living encouraging others to live better through making small, gradual changes to lifestyle behaviors relating to whole-foods nutrition, stress management, reasonable exercise, proper sleep, and the use of targeted, high-quality supplements.
Learn more about Jay Todtenbier.
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