A healthy gut contributes to improved sleep quality, a strong immune function, and an effective digestive system. However, inflammation can wreak havoc on gut health and cause many negative health issues. Learn more about how you can reduce inflammation and improve your gut health with some diet and lifestyle changes.
Over recent years, the relationship between the gut and our overall health has been an increasingly studied topic. Researchers have found that having a variety of good bacteria offers many health benefits, including immune system function and improved mental health.
Unfortunately, our modern lifestyle negatively impacts gut health, like stress levels, lack of sleep, and an unhealthy diet can all damage our gut microbiome. Dysbiosis leads to adverse health outcomes since the gut microbiome also influences inflammatory responses. So, what can you do to reduce inflammation and improve your gut health? Before looking at the relationship between gut health and inflammation, let’s start by defining what each is and how they impact our health.
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to protect from infection, injury, or disease. While this is a natural process that helps your body heal and defend itself from harm, chronic inflammation can wreak havoc on your body and even lead to harmful diseases. Symptoms of inflammation usually include fatigue, swelling, and GI issues and may arise from stress, abnormal immune reactions, obesity, or a poor diet [1,2,3].
The term ‘gut health’ refers to the function and balance of bacteria within the GI tract. A healthy gut communicates with the brain through nerves and hormones, which helps maintain general health and well-being. It also contains healthy bacteria and immune cells that ward off bacteria, viruses, and fungi, all of which are necessary for a well-functioning body. As research shows, having a variety of good bacteria in your gut can improve psychological symptoms, combat obesity, and boost immune system function . Gut bacteria have also been shown to produce neurotransmitters (such as serotonin), with additional anti-inflammatory effects [8,9].
How does inflammation affect gut health?
Now that we have covered what inflammation and gut health are let’s discuss how they affect each other.
Dysbiosis refers to when bad gut bacteria outweigh the good, thus creating a state of chronic inflammation and influencing a range of inflammatory conditions (such as diabetes, asthma, or IBD). This gut imbalance can be caused by high-stress levels, antibiotics, improper sleep patterns, and a poor diet. Moreover, inflammation can decrease your ability to absorb nutrients, thus disabling the gut microbiome and negatively affecting your digestive health.
Top tips to reduce inflammation
How can you reduce inflammation and improve your gut health through diet and lifestyle changes . Here are changes you can make:
Eat more anti-inflammatory foods
What you put on your fork has an immense impact on gut health and inflammation. Eating a more anti-inflammatory diet will go a long way when it comes to improving gut health. Consuming a nutrient-dense diet filled with variety. This can include fruits, vegetables, turmeric, green tea, fatty fish, olive oil), and reduce consumption of processed food, excess alcohol, and sugar [6,7].
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Probiotics promote healthy gut bacteria while simultaneously fighting the bad bacteria, so it’s recommended to include them in your diet . Other supplements that can reduce inflammation include all B vitamins, omega-3s, vitamin D, and magnesium. Always contact your doctor before taking any extra supplementation.
Improve sleep quality
Studies show that a lack of sleep negatively impacts gut health and inflammation . It’s recommended to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night to see
Risk Factors: Chronic Inflammation
Information about how chronic inflammation can lead to cancer.
benefits in your overall health.
Drinking enough water has been shown to benefit the good bacteria in the gut and decrease overall inflammation .
Chronic stress negatively impacts your body and leads to severe inflammation. You can reduce stress through strength training, meditation, yoga, reading, and other self-care practices.
Take time when eating your meals. Don’t woof down your food, eat slower to promote better digestion and nutrient absorption. This will also decrease inflammation and boost gut health .
Engage in physical activity
Exercise has been shown to positively affect disease activity scores, inflammatory markers, and gut health . To reap the benefits, it’s recommended to participate in 30 to 45 minutes of weight or resistance training and 10 to 25 minutes of aerobic exercise. Weight or resistance training at least four to five times per week.
Chronic inflammation causes a wide array of symptoms that can negatively affect your health. Gut health is one factor that affects inflammation. An imbalance in the gut microbiome can decrease your ability to absorb nutrients and negatively affect digestive health. Since improving gut health will reduce inflammation, you can achieve better health through diet and lifestyle changes.
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Domínguez-Soto, Á., Usategui, A., Casas-Engel, M.d.l. et al. Serotonin drives the acquisition of a profibrotic and anti-inflammatory gene profile through the 5-HT7R-PKA signaling axis. Sci Rep 7, 14761 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-15348-y
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