Did you know that having good gut health depends on the delicate balance of microorganisms that live in your digestive tract? Your gut bacteria not only help with digestion and making vitamins, but maintaining the right balance is vital for your overall health, immune response, hormone regulation, nutrient absorption, and detoxification.
hrough a symbiotic relationship, our gut bacteria keeps us alive and helps us thrive. However, if the delicate balance is disturbed, every system in the body suffers. All kinds of illnesses from autoimmune problems, allergies and digestive issues, to insomnia and unexplained fatigue, all have the potential to be alleviated when you improve your gut health.
Since the brain and the gastrointestinal system are intimately connected via the nervous system, improving your gut health can also support your mental health. If you’re now wondering how to improve your gut health naturally, you’ve come to the right place.
There are many little changes you can make to have a positive influence on your gut microbiome, so here are 8 natural ways to improve your gut health today!
Eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices
“The number one predictor of gut health is the diversity of the plants you eat.” - Dr Will Bulsiewiscz, Gastroenterologist, Microbiome Expert and Passionate Poop Whisperer.
An imbalance in your gut bacteria is called dysbiosis, and it can be caused by many factors, including stress, illness, and taking antibiotics. However, our diet is the most significant factor that affects our bacterial composition.
A plant-rich, high fibre diet helps your gut microbes:
- Produce anti-inflammatory compounds to reduce inflammation throughout the body
- Produce beneficial metabolites that support your immune system
- Metabolise brain chemicals to boost serotonin (the ‘feel-good’ hormone)
Studies also reveal that improving your gut health is dependent on dietary diversity. If we restrict our diet or the variety of food we eat, we reduce the diversity of our gut microbes. With a diet high in fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds, the populations of good bacteria grow.
Some of the easiest ways to improve your gut health naturally include trying a new fruit or vegetable each week, rotating your usual fruit and veg choices, and adding different herbs and spices to your smoothies.
Refined sugar and artificial sweeteners are bad bacteria’s favourite things to eat
Minimise your intake of processed foods and refined sugar
The more processed, low fibre foods we eat, the more we feed and grow our populations of harmful bacteria. Refined sugar and artificial sweeteners are bad bacteria’s favourite things to eat, and the more we provide them what they want, the more they make us crave unhealthy foods.
Fortunately, our gut bacteria are highly responsive to our dietary choices, and we have the ability to alter our gut microbiome and improve our gut health through healthier choices within a week.
Eat foods rich in prebiotic fibre
Probiotics is another name for good bacteria, and they feed on indigestible carbohydrates, which are known as prebiotic fibre. Just as harmful bacteria multiply when fed a diet full of refined sugar and artificial ingredients, the populations of probiotics increase when we eat foods rich in prebiotic fibre.
Due to the high levels of prebiotic fibre in a whole-food plant-based diet, this lifestyle is widely regarded as one of the best for improving your gut health naturally. Along with dandelion, some other prebiotic foods include:
- Jerusalem artichoke
To improve your gut health naturally, see if you can combine several prebiotic foods together for each meal. For example, you could have chocolate protein oats with sliced banana and flaxseed for breakfast or as a post-workout meal!
Sarah’s Day Body Bloom contains a balanced blend of probiotics and prebiotic fibre to promote good gut health and comfortable digestion
Take prebiotic and probiotic supplements
Life gets busy sometimes, so it’s not always easy to focus on eating prebiotic fibre with every meal. This is where prebiotic and probiotic supplements come along to save the day!
Sarah’s Day Body Bloom contains a balanced blend of probiotics and prebiotic fibre to promote good gut health and comfortable digestion, as well as energy, and the beautiful skin, hair and nails that come with it.
Body Bloom also contains powerful superfoods such as amla fruit powder, grape seed extract, and sea buckthorn, which all support the production of collagen and keratin. These superfoods are rich in anthocyanins and other antioxidants that also protect the body from free radical damage.
Naturally, Body Bloom is refined sugar-free with a delicious natural berry flavour. To improve your gut health when life gets busy, all you need to do is mix 1-2 teaspoons into a glass of water, fresh juice, or a smoothie once a day.
Add fermented foods to your diet
Fermented foods and beverages have been around for thousands of years, offering those who enjoy them a whole host of potential health benefits. The process of fermentation involves bacteria and yeast starting the process of digestion before the food or drink is ready for consumption.
This process makes food more vitamin-rich and gives it more beneficial organic acids and other health-promoting compounds. Adding fermented foods and drinks to your diet can help increase the concentration of vitamins such as folate and B12, reduce the anti-nutrients that block nutrient absorption, support your immune system, and lower your blood pressure.
For a delicious way to improve your gut health naturally, add some of these foods and drinks to your diet :
- fermented vegetables
Move your body regularly
It’s well known that our diets can alter our gut microbiome, but mounting evidence suggests that exercise can also have an impact on our gut health. Compared with sedentary people, athletes and other active individuals have much greater diversity in the types of good bacteria residing within their gut.
As increasing bacterial diversity is the key to improving your gut health naturally, working out and moving your body regularly is vital to your overall physical and mental wellbeing.
Stress management is one of the most effective things you can do to support your gut health
Manage your stress
The relationship between stress and gut health is complex and bidirectional; stress can trigger or worsen gastrointestinal pain and other symptoms, and vice versa. For this reason, psychological therapies are often an effective treatment of functional gastrointestinal disorders.
Along with healthy food choices and regular exercise, it’s no surprise that stress management is one of the most effective things you can do to support your gut health. In addition to upsetting the balance of your gut bacteria, chronic stress can also slow down your metabolism, prevent fat loss, and inhibit your muscle gains.
Meditation, yoga, cognitive behavioural therapy, dance, journaling, and deep breathing are just some of the many effective ways to manage stress. Still, it’s important to find what works best for you. Whatever way you find your bliss, doing more of it can help you improve your gut health naturally.
Prioritise healthy sleep
Similar to stress and gut health, the relationship between the microbiome and our sleep health is a two-way street. Our gut bacteria seem to affect how we sleep, while our sleep health and circadian rhythm appear to affect the health and diversity of our gut bacteria.
Prioritising sleep and optimising your time between the sheets will not only improve your mood and cognition, but it can also help improve your gut health naturally. Avoiding blue light exposure in the evenings, going to bed and getting up at the same time each day, and drinking Tropeaka Sleep Herbal Infusion before bed are just a few simple ways to get the good quality sleep you need and deserve.
Due to the uniqueness of your gut microbiome, there is no 'one size fits all’ solution for optimal health and wellbeing. However, this list of 8 natural ways to improve your gut health is a great place to start your journey towards a mutually beneficial relationship with the 100 trillion bacteria that live in your gut!
As always, we recommend you work with a health care practitioner who specializes in gut health such as a functional medicine practitioner, to develop a personalized plan towards better gut health!