Things to Know About Gut Health and Anti-inflammatory Diets
Your gut is telling you one thing as we head into the new year—treat it with kindness! Gut health is gaining momentum as one of the best wellness practices of 2022. But the truth is that it’s always been crucial to our wellbeing. Gut health is linked to brain and heart health, regular sleep, easier workouts, and improved moods. Plus, it can be achieved through several methods – including topical probiotics, or live bacteria. Anti-inflammatory diets also help you reduce internal discomfort and rejuvenate your digestive system. Looking for more information about gut health, anti-inflammatory diets, and other wellness methods? Here’s what you need to know.
Anti-Inflammatory diets are easy
The gut microbiome refers to the trillions of bacteria and microbes that reside in your digestive tract. And keeping it balanced is crucial to overall gut health. One of the best ways to do this? Anti-inflammatory diets! It’s easy and attainable for everybody, as there’s no simpler way to maintain digestive health than tracking what goes through your intestines. The best foods for gut health are those high in fiber and antioxidants. These include leafy greens like spinach and kale, lean meats like fish and chicken, and healthy bacteria-laden foods like yogurt or kombucha. Incorporating these dishes into your diet will prevent inflammation, one of the leading causes of an unhealthy gut microbiome. Plus they provide many additional health benefits.
Gut health controls your entire body
However, gut health doesn’t just stay within your digestive area, it also provides benefits to nearly every part of your body. Consider this study by Harvard discussed the connection between the gut and the brain. It demonstrated that these organs send signals to each other that affect your stress levels, sleep schedule, and overall mood. Just like your stomach tells the brain when it’s hungry, the gut will message this organ regarding its current state.
In simpler terms, the more often your gut microbiome is happy and balanced, the more likely it is that you will be too. The gut area is sensitive to emotion, hence the term “gut-wrenching” is used for stressful situations, and proper balance can be used to reduce things like anxiety and depression. A balanced gut doesn’t just improve your brain and mental health, either… but also your heart and immune system! As a bonus, it’s also been shown to reduce the risk of cancer and autoimmune diseases.
Yoga is your friend
Yoga is one of the most popular forms of exercise, as it delivers mindfulness, flexibility, improved moods, and as it turns out… gut health! We told you about it a few years back, and it remains just as true today: a bit of yoga a day keeps the unhealthy gut bacteria away. If you think about it, twisting postures are very beneficial to your large and small intestines. They help to massage the internal organs, increase blood flow, and create a “squeezing” effect that eliminates unwanted waste. And this could mean everything from “bad” bacteria to leftover food that’s making you nauseous. Yoga is the mellow technique that improves your mind and health, and your gut will thank you for your daily session.
Probiotics are the most-suggested topical treatment for a healthy gut microbiome. These live bacteria enter your digestive tract and serve as a bit of a gatekeeper, helping to manage healthy organisms while sending away the bad germs. They can help aid your gut with greater nutrient absorption and smoother digestion, a plus for those who deal with stomach issues. While they are also typically found in fermented foods like yogurt, sourdough bread, and certain cheese, you can take them in pill form. Utilize both methods for the best gut health, courtesy of probiotics.
Get down and dirty…on occasion
Perhaps the most controversial way to improve gut health? Getting down and dirty and exposing yourself to a few bacteria, within reason. Dr. Gail Hecht, chair of the American Gastroenterological Association Center for Gut Microbiome Research & Education, explained in an interview with Time magazine. “We are too clean of a society,” they said, implying that bacteria exposure can actually help to strengthen the gut microbiome. “Go outside, dig in the dirt, play with animals … it’s all good. These are things that will help establish a healthy gut.”
Another study showed that animals with more exposure to soil showed signs of a healthier gut microbiota, with scientists suggesting that humans would react similarly. By the way, we recognize, it may seem odd to encourage contact in the dirt, but the evidence is there that it could lead to a healthier gut. You may want to keep this in mind the next time your children are outside playing!