A healthy microbiome is a balanced microbiome. Too many bad or opportunistic microbes and you’re at an increased risk of inflammation and disease. Healthy gut bacteria, on the other hand, protect you from disease, keep inflammation low, and even promote your mental health.
Our simple tips will help you build a better gut. Luckily, they’re not too difficult to follow either, so you can easily incorporate them into your everyday life. By doing so, you should feel better and your gut flora should be restored.
How to restore healthy gut flora
Probiotics can support a healthy microbiome. These foods and supplements contain live bacteria that can benefit our health.
The bacteria in your gut make up a very important ecosystem, and if this becomes upset, it can lead to abnormalities in its composition and diversity. There are many things in life which can have negative consequences on your gut bacteria and intestinal health.
Studies have shown that probiotics can help to restore gut bacteria to healthy levels which protects us from inflammation. Live fermented foods are great sources of natural probiotics that you can eat and drink. Researchers think these traditional foods may play an important role in human health.
- Probiotic foods
- Probiotic food ingredients
- Cheese, yoghurt
- Dairy products including milk and cream
- Sourdough bread
- Flour and water
- Lacto-fermented pickles
- Saltwater brine (not vinegar) and vegetables like cucumbers
- Cabbage and salt
How to increase good bacteria in the gut naturally
A good gut diet requires lots of dietary fibres, called prebiotics. You know, the ones found in natural, plant-based foods? Your gut bacteria love them!
The probiotics we mentioned above thrive on prebiotics — many of which are the non-digestible carbohydrates in fruit, veg, seeds, grains, and pulses.
However, the Western diet is low in foods that promote healthy gut flora, but high in fat, meat, and refined sugar.
Ultimately, this affects our health by reducing healthy gut bacteria and increasing our risk of weight gain, metabolic problems, chronic inflammation, and disease.
Fortunately, it’s an easy problem to solve because your gut bacteria love edible plants.
Gut health foods for your microbiome
• Jerusalem artichokes
When your microbes munch on these prebiotics, they boost your health and wellbeing by maintaining the gut lining, and preventing inflammation. Basically, a high-fibre diet is key to a healthy microbiome.
Exercise is your gut health diet
Who knew that getting the heart pumping and the sweat pouring was good for the diversity of your microbiome? Well it is, and here’s why.
Research has shown that individuals who lead a sedentary lifestyle have a less diverse microbiome. Therefore, it’s not just what you put into your body that counts, there are so many other lifestyle aspects involved in improving gut health.
But don’t despair, there are simple things you can do about it. Athletes, for example, have a more diverse gut than nonathletes. But you don’t need to be an Olympian to make a difference. Walking, jogging, swimming and dancing all count, just aim for 150 minutes each week alongside strength training. Trust us, your gut bacteria will love you for it.
If you’re stressed, so is your gut
Stress negatively impacts many aspects of our health including physical, mental, and even gut health.
Your microbiome doesn’t just affect your intestines, it influences other organs, including your brain.
If you’re feeling stressed out, your microbes can feel it too. It can even decrease the abundance of important probiotic bacteria like Lactobacillus.
Keeping beneficial bacteria at healthy levels can even improve your resilience to adversity. That’s because your gut microbes influence stress levels and mood hormones.
Alleviate your stress by avoiding unnecessarily demanding situations, and try some techniques like breathing exercises and meditation.
How to improve gut health naturally with less sugar
Sugar is everywhere, even when you can’t taste it. Sadly, refined sugar can upset the balance in your gut and your metabolism.
The Western diet is classically high in sugar and fat, a well-known recipe for disaster. Simple sugars like glucose and fructose are added to many foods, but eating too much can increase health risks like heart disease, diabetes type 2, and obesity. It can also disturb the gut microbiota.
If you’re wondering how to get rid of bad bacteria in the gut, less sugar can help. Soft drinks, processed foods, takeaways, and restaurant food can contain high levels of sugar because it helps balance flavour and cover up poor quality ingredients.
But don’t get these sugars confused with complex carbs (in edible plants) that your gut bacteria need to thrive and survive.
At Steelextreme we guide all our clients on the best ways they can achieve a healthier gut by cleaning their eating habits and building more sustainable ones.
Next week we will discuss how what we eat can affect our Gut bacteria.