Gut health is the most neglected yet one of the most important aspects of the human body. In the first article in this series, we gave you five tips to improve your gut health. Today we’re sharing five more ways you can do the same – while some of them may seem like a big commitment, others are very simple lifestyle changes and all of these will have a positive impact on your overall health for years to come.
1. Reduce stress
Stress can be a source of not only mental but also various physical illnesses. According to an animal study, it was seen that psychological stress factors can disrupt the colony of good microorganisms in the intestines, even if the stress was for a short time. Psychological stress, environmental stress (extreme heat, cold, or noise) and lack of sleep can affect the gut health badly. You can manage your stress with the help of deep breathing techniques, meditation, listening to soothing music and muscle relaxation techniques.
2. Exercise daily
Everyone knows that regular exercising helps in maintaining a good weight, improving mental health and keeping the heart strong. But now researchers have claimed that exercising can also help in improving gut health by keeping obesity at bay.
Studies have shown that athletes who work out every day have a diverse and large variety of gut flora when compared with those who do not work out at all.
Scientists believe that exercising 15 min a day or 90 min a week can improve your gut microflora and also add on three years to your lifespan.
3. Reduce sugar
Sugars are unnecessary add-ons for our body. Doctors have reported that sugar and artificial sweeteners can cause an imbalance in the gut microbiota, which is medically called dysbiosis.
In an animal study, it was seen that artificial sweetener aspartame increases the number of bacteria in the gut which can cause metabolic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Human use of artificial sweeteners can disrupt the gut flora by increasing the blood glucose levels. So try to gradually cut down the sugar in your diet to keep your gut healthy.
4. Take care of your dental health
Your mouth can be a source of transferring the inflammation-causing bacteria down in your gut. The oral microbiome goes beyond the mouth and flows down to the digestive tract, to become the gut microbiome. These microorganisms help in maintaining the digestive system of the body.
There have been studies which show that there is a link between oral health and other systemic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and even cardiovascular disease. It has been reported that harmful forms of bacteria that grow in the mouth such as Streptococcus aureus and Staphylococcus aureus often make their way into the gut or even the bloodstream.
You can keep these bacteria away from your gut by brushing and cleaning your teeth twice a day. You should also visit your dentist every six months to ensure good oral health.
5. Have some dark chocolate and black tea
Polyphenols are the plant-based molecules which are known to improve gut microbes and are present in dark chocolate and black tea. The polyphenols in dark chocolate directly go into the intestines and ferment there to form good microorganisms. According to a study, published in the journal Food Research International, it was found that drinking black tea and red wine can enhance good bacteria in the gut.
For more information, read our article on How to improve your digestion.
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