In case you hadn’t heard: the word on the wellness street is that gut health is cool, folks, and for a good reason. Gut health plays a big role in our overall health. Poor gut health has been linked to lowered immune function, cardiovascular disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and more. And when you talk about gut health, you have to talk about the microbiome. Micro-what? Keep reading to learn what the gut microbiome is, and six easy ways to get started on your better gut health journey.
What is the gut microbiome?
The human microbiome is comprised of trillions—yes, trillions—of bacteria, viruses, microbes (aka microscopic living things). Most of these microbes live in the gut, in the intestines in particular, hence why it’s referred to as the gut microbiome. Some bacterias in the microbiome can contribute to diseases, but many are beneficial and necessary for optimal health. The microbiome affects our immune system, our heart, our weight, and many other areas of overall health. In other words, it’s very important. Maintaining a healthy microbiome with good bacteria equals a healthy and happy you.
What causes an unhealthy gut?
Many things can affect the gut microbiome’s wellbeing, including high-stress levels, not getting enough sleep, and eating many processed and high-sugar foods. These not-so-great habits can all damage the microbiome and potentially lead to other health issues, and impact your gut’s ability to absorb nutrients and balance blood sugar. A frequent upset stomach, for example, with symptoms like gas, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea, can be a sign that your gut microbiome needs some TLC, which brings us to our next point.
How to improve your gut microbiome
Now that you’re up to speed on the gut microbiome and how it affects overall health, let’s chat about what you can do to give it some love and get it in better shape.
1. Eat a variety of foods
The food we eat majorly affects the gut microbiome, and a diverse microbiome is considered healthy. So, ideally, you want to mix a variety of different foods into your diet, especially plant-based foods. It’s also not just about what you eat but how you eat it. Remember to eat slowly to help your gut better digest the food and absorb the nutrients.
2. Eat fiber
A well-rounded diet also includes lots of fiber. Fiber is known as the crown jewel of gut health because it helps build good bacteria. Foods high in fiber include fruits, vegetables, legumes, broccoli, chickpeas, and lentils. Ensure that you’re getting your daily recommended amount.
3. Drink more water
Don’t underestimate the power of H20, friends. Chugging water every day benefits the gut, too, by helping balance the good bacteria. So take this as a friendly reminder to drink more water. Pro tip: Keeping an aesthetically pleasing water bottle near you all the time can help you remember to drink up.
4. Take probiotics
Taking probiotic supplements is another way you can help improve your gut microbiome. Probiotics are live bacteria that support and restore the gut’s health. However, note that not all probiotics on the market are created equally, and not all are high quality. Be sure to do your research and find quality probiotics from a reliable source. If you’re unsure, it’s always a good idea to check with your healthcare provider.
5. Consume fermented foods
Our gut microbiome sure loves fermented things. Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kefir, tempeh, kimchi, and (our fave!) kombucha are all filled with healthy bacteria our guts love. So if you’d rather get your good bacteria sans supplements, incorporating more fermented foods into your regular rotation is a great idea.
6. Lower your stress
It’s no surprise that chronic stress can wreak havoc on our health. It also affects our gut microbiome, big time. Support your gut microbiome by incorporating more stress-relieving rituals and practices into your daily life. Some great options to try include meditation, stretching, breathwork, going for walks, exercising, spending time with people that make you feel good, and getting more quality sleep.
Taking good care of your gut microbiome is just as important as taking care of any other aspect of your health. We challenge you to start implementing at least one of these easy microbiome-friendly rituals into your daily routine. And we’re biased but, sipping probiotic-rich Better Booch kombucha is one of our favorite ways to show our microbiome some love.