Gut health is one of the most significant players in your overall health. In fact, 70% of your immune system lives in your gut. So if you want to stay healthy and feel well, the key is to keep your stomach nourished, balanced, and functioning at its peak performance.
How do you do that, though? Well, it’s all about your diet. A balanced diet focused on restoring and maintaining a favorable gut microbiome can heal many chronic health issues. So let’s take a closer look at how you can adjust your lifestyle to support your gut health.
1. Eat whole foods
We’re not talking about the grocery store. Whole foods are any foods that haven’t been processed or packaged. Think of your raw vegetables, fruits, meat, nuts, and grains. Many nutritionists call it “shopping the L” in the grocery store, which means staying away from the grocery aisles in the center where all the packaged and processed foods are stocked.
Keep your grocery list in the produce, bulk, and meat departments to avoid foods that can hurt your gut. When you buy and prepare whole foods, you’re ensuring your body gets all the nutrients it needs without any harmful chemicals and sugars.
2. Choose fermented foods
Fermented foods get a bad rap as tasting strong or vinegary. But you just have to adjust yourself to the flavor slowly. After all, when it comes to functional medicine gut health recommendations, fermented foods are often the first thing on the list.
Fermenting foods creates a natural balance of good bacteria and yeast. These bacteria help populate your gut and force out bad bacteria, such as candida, that can dominate your intestines and cause health issues. So adding these natural bacteria also helps to improve digestion and decrease events of stomach upset.
Popular fermented foods to try include:
- Beets or beet kvass
3. Take probiotic
You should take a daily probiotic to help add even more good bacteria to your gut. There are tons of varieties, both refrigerated and not, that can help support your gut and immune function. Everyone has different needs, so make sure you choose the right probiotic for your health.
You’ve probably heard that you should take a probiotic any time you take an antibiotic. It’s because antibiotics don’t only target bad bacteria; they target all the bacteria in your gut. So you need a probiotic to preserve the good stuff.
However, not many doctors give adequate instruction on how to take both. So here’s what you should do. First, you should take your probiotic as far away in the day from your antibiotic as possible (8 hours apart is ideal). If you take the two together, your antibiotic will kill all the good bacteria in your probiotic. But taking them separately helps to give your probiotic a chance to work and protect your gut.
4. Support your liver
When considering gut health, many people think about the stomach, intestines, and colon. But your liver is a massive part of it too. In fact, your liver is the main organ of detoxification in your gut, carrying an immense burden.
Luckily, you can help your liver cleanse itself daily by drinking warm lemon water or water with apple cider vinegar in it. If you prefer something hot, try a dandelion root tea instead. These all encourage your liver to release bile and toxins so it can continue functioning at its optimal capacity.
Supporting your gut health is an easy way to support your overall immunity. Remember that you are what you eat, so make good choices!