How To Improve Gut Health Naturally

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You’ve probably heard a lot about your gut health recently. There has been an influx of ‘health professionals, ‘nutritionists,’ and ‘gym influencers’ talking a lot on social media about which foods are good for your gut and which foods are bad for the gut.

While some of this advice is great, keep in mind that what worked for one person may not necessarily work for everyone in improving gut health naturally.

But what exactly is your gut, how to improve gut health naturally, and what ways can you improve your gut health? Let's find out!

What Is Gut Health

Gut health is fundamental to overall wellness, affecting everything from your digestion to immune function to your mental health.

Knowing the signs of a healthy gut is important. By monitoring these signs, we can react appropriately to the triggers that are making us feel unwell. 

When you don’t take care of your gut health, this leads to a condition known as Dysbiosis. Dysbiosis is an imbalance in the gut microbiota that can lead to numerous health issues. Fortunately, there are several natural strategies to improve your gut health and restore balance. 

4 Ways To Improve Gut Health Naturally

1. Diet For A Better Gut Health

The first and probably most crucial element in improving your overall gut health is to improve your diet. The foods we eat are directly linked to our microbiome and will help offset Dysbiosis. 

The most important thing to do is focus on a real food diet and minimize the worst foods for your gut health, it does not matter what "diet" you follow as this principal is the most important thing to focus on.

Increase Fiber Intake

A high-fiber diet can help reduce the risk of metabolic diseases. You can get your fiber from fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains and these will encourage the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.

Fiber acts as a prebiotic, feeding good bacteria and promoting a balanced microbiome.

Eat Fermented Foods

Foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi are rich in probiotics, which are live bacteria beneficial to gut health. Having them as a regular part of your diet can help replenish and maintain a healthy gut, thus mitigating dysbiosis.

Yogurt specifically may help calm gastrointestinal conditions like diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease, and constipation. Just make sure it is good quality and not one of the high sugar varieties!

Reduce Processed Foods

Eating high amounts of processed and sugary foods can exacerbate dysbiosis, as they promote the growth of harmful bacteria and yeasts.

Reduce processed foods as much as you can and focus on whole, nutrient-dense options, which will help maintain a healthy gut environment.

Lifestyle Choice

It does not matter if you are vegetarian, follow a paleo or a keto diet, stick to a Mediterranean diet, or any other diet out there as there are good and bad versions of all of these diets.

The best option is to focus on real food and not the processed versions that many of these "diets" offer.

.... but that does not mean that you have to be "perfect" all the time, it is good to enjoy treats from time to time, have fun with friends and celebrate meals together.

Manage Stress

Believe it or not, chronic stress can directly impact your gut health. Experts often refer to a ‘gut-brain connection’ and call the gut the ‘second brain.’ Meditation, yoga, and regular exercise can help to reduce stress and improve gut health.

Ensure Adequate Sleep

Sleep is also crucial for gut health. A lack of sleep can disrupt the gut microbiome balance, as sleep deprivation can cause microscopic inflammation in the bowel. Aiming for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night can help in improving your gut health. 

Stay Hydrated

Drinking sufficient water daily is essential for digestive health. Water helps the intestines process food and absorb nutrients, which can prevent the overgrowth of harmful bacteria.

Adequate hydration is also important to prevent constipation which can also lead to bacteria overgrowth.

Negative Influences To Your Gut Health

Besides the obvious ones like antibiotics, processed foods, alcohol and smoking, the next major negative influence to gut health is stress.

Chronic stress affects everything from our microbiome to our gut motility, this can lead to many of the classic IBS symptoms that many people can experience.

Do your best to limit or avoid some of the common negative influences on your gut health.

Limit Antibiotics

Antibiotics are sometimes necessary. However, frequent use of antibiotics can lead to significant disruptions in the gut, causing dysbiosis. Use antibiotics only when prescribed by a healthcare provider, and always complete the recommended course.

Conditions such as sinusitis or a sore throat are often viral and antibiotics are not effective, always rule out viral infections before considering antibiotics. 

Moderate Alcohol and Quit Smoking

Drinking an excessive amount of alcohol as well as smoking can both negatively affect gut health. Try to reduce excessive alcohol intake and consider quitting smoking, as they are crucial steps in preventing and correcting dysbiosis.

Alcohol can cause leaky gut also, another reason to keep intake to a minimum or avoid if you are having a flare up in gut symptoms.

Physical Activity Can Effect Your Gut Health

Regular physical activity can help increase gut motility and reduce the symptoms of constipation.

Exercise has the potential to alter gut bacteria composition and functionality independently from your diet and can improve microbiome diversity in your gut.

How Genetics Can Help You Improve Gut Health

While it is important to take the necessary steps to improve gut microbiome and reduce Dysbiosis. It is also important to consider if you are predisposed to medical conditions and illnesses that directly affect the gut microbiome, such as Crohn's disease, Celiac disease, and Ulcerative colitis. 

With the SelfDecode genetic testing, you can receive detailed reports that cover a wide range of health aspects, including gut health, brain function, immune system, and more.

Each report includes a polygenic risk score and provides personalized recommendations aimed at improving health outcomes based on genetic analysis. 

Conclusion

Improving gut health is a multifaceted approach that involves consideration of your diet, lifestyle choices, and environmental factors.

By incorporating fiber-rich foods and fermented products and reducing your intake of processed items, you can directly influence the balance of your gut microbiota, promoting a healthy gut and offsetting dysbiosis.

With lifestyle modifications such as managing stress, ensuring adequate sleep, staying hydrated, and engaging in regular physical activity, you can profoundly impact your gut health, enhancing overall well-being.

Also, be mindful of the negative influences that can disrupt your gut balance, such as the overuse of antibiotics, excessive alcohol consumption, and smoking.

Lastly, understanding your genetic predisposition to certain gut-related conditions can be a game-changer. Tools like SelfDecode not only provide insights into your genetic risks but also offer personalized recommendations to optimize your health.

By embracing these natural strategies and utilizing cutting-edge tools like SelfDecode, you can take control of your gut health and pave the way for a healthier life.

Schedule a consultation

If you are concerned about your gut health and your microbiome and want to learn more, then do not hesitate to schedule and appointment.

At Planet Naturopath we can organized advanced stool testing like the Vibrant Wellness Gut Zoomer, or the Diagnostic Solutions GI Map test to help you understand your gut health a lot better.

Other tests that we do include SIBO testing, food sensitivity testing and advanced blood tests - testing helps to take out the guess work when implementing a treatment plan.

You can also check our All Tests Available page for the full list of available testing options.

FAQs Related To How To Improve Your Gut Health Naturally

What Are The 3 Super Foods For Your Gut?

Three superfoods particularly beneficial for gut health are: fermented foods, prebiotic-rich foods, and probiotic-rich foods. Fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut introduce beneficial bacteria into the digestive system.

Prebiotic-rich foods such as garlic and onions feed good bacteria and aid in their growth. Lastly, probiotic-rich foods like yogurt and kefir contain live beneficial bacteria that directly contribute to a healthy gut microbiome.

What is the best natural thing to take for gut health?

One of the best natural substances for gut health is fiber, especially soluble fiber found in oats, apples, and flaxseeds. Soluble fiber helps to nourish beneficial gut bacteria and supports a healthy digestive system by promoting regular bowel movements and decreasing inflammation.

Regular consumption of fiber-rich foods can improve the overall diversity and health of the gut microbiome, making it a cornerstone of gut health maintenance.

If you find that you have a negative reaction to fiber you may benefit from a short term low FODMAP diet or doing a SIBO test to understand why this is happening.

What foods grow good gut bacteria?

Foods that help cultivate good gut bacteria are rich in prebiotics and include garlic, onions, bananas, oats, and apples. These prebiotics serve as food for beneficial bacteria, promoting their growth and activity.

Additionally, fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut contain probiotics, which are live bacteria that add to the population of healthy microbes in the gut. Together, these foods create a favorable environment for a thriving and balanced gut microbiota.

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