The gut has been making major headlines in the news recently, and rightfully so. Our gut, or also known as the microbiome, has a full-time job taking care of us with its many roles. Our immune system, the absence of disease, our brain function and digestion are all impacted by the health status of the gut1. To make sure that your microbiome is performing to its best ability, here are some simple ways to improve your gut health from the comfort of your own home!
Exercise: You may be wondering how moving your body has any impact on the little bugs flourishing in your gut, but it plays a very vital role in the diversity of your bacteria. Exercise has the ability to stimulate the growth of bacteria, which enhances its function of protecting us against infections and diseases, specifically IBD- chronic inflammation of the GI tract. Getting daily movement also helps with the movement inside your body. That’s right, it helps keep you going regularly2!
Nutrition: Have you ever heard the phrase “you are what you eat”? Well, it's true. Our microbiome eats what we eat, which means that what we put into our bodies matters. There are plenty of foods that support the functions and growth of the communities of flora in our gut, so there is a variety to choose from. In fact, the more diverse our food choices are, the more diverse our bacteria become. It has been scientifically proven that individuals who eat a more Agrarian diet, or plant-based diet, have a more diverse microbiome compared to those who consume more of a western diet3. A good starting point is to identify the foods you love that come from the following food groups: fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and nuts and seeds.
Destress: Stress can lead to an imbalance of our gut microbiota, which means that we have a decrease in diversity and abundance, and overtime that can ultimately result in different illnesses4. To combat stress and keep your gut microbiota diverse and thriving, consider incorporating activities in your daily routine that guide you to a calm and peaceful state. This can be going on a nature walk for example, or indulging in yoga or meditation. Whatever keeps your heart rate down and allows your body to be in relaxed state is key here.
Integrating these three areas of health into your daily life will support your body, which in return will continue to support you. You and your body are team! As you commit to enhancing the diversity of your gut flora is, the healthier you will be as an individual. If you would like to learn more about how your gut microbiome functions to protect you and support your health, you can schedule an appointment with one of our friendly Bastyr ND’s or attend one of our events at the clinic.
By: Madisyn Wells - Master of Science for Wellness student. To discuss your gut health and how to improve itm schedule an appointment at Bastyr Center for Natural Health or Bastyr University Clinic.
1. Hasan N, Yang H. Factors affecting the composition of the gut microbiota, and its modulation. Peer J. 2019;7:e7502. Published 2019 Aug 16. doi:10.7717/peerj.7502
2. Monda V, Villano I, Messina A, et al. Exercise Modifies the Gut Microbiota with Positive Health Effects. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2017;2017:3831972. doi:10.1155/2017/3831972
3. Shreiner AB, Kao JY, Young VB. The gut microbiome in health and in disease. Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2015;31(1):69-75. doi:10.1097/MOG.0000000000000139
4. Sun Y, Li L, Xie R, Wang B, Jiang K, Cao H. Stress Triggers Flare of Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Children and Adults. Front Pediatr. 2019;7:432. Published 2019 Oct 24. doi:10.3389/fped.2019.00432