How to increase your gut microbiome

healthy-gut

Exercise, diet, stress, sleep and your environment can positively or negatively impact on the health of your gut microbiome.

Most of the bacteria in our body live in our gut, regulating inflammation and immunity. Incorporating small changes to your lifestyle could have massive impacts on your health.     

Look at your food consumption

  • Eating an abundance and diverse range of fruit and vegetables is key due to the high content of phytonutrients and fibre. The greater the variety, the more diverse the bacterial population in the gut is.
  • Grains such as oats, rice and quinoa are easy for the gut to digest and are also high in fibre. There are many different types of fibre.
  • Insulin is a fibre that is found in onions, garlic, leeks and artichokes that is beneficial to the gut. It provides energy for the release of short chain fatty acids that can stimulate repair mechanisms in the gut wall.  These help keep us regular and support bacterial colony growth so it can function optimally.
  • Fermented foods like yogurt, kefir and sauerkraut are rich sources of good bacteria, beneficial to the gut.
  • Foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids such as avocado, seeds, nuts, olive oil and oily fish help reduce inflammation and support gut microbiome.
  • Highly processed and refined foods can have a negative effect on our gut and should therefore only be eaten occasionally.

Sleep & Relaxation

  • Approximately 7-9 hours per night is recommended. Deep sleep enables the digestive organs in the body to rest and repair.
  • High levels of stress in the body can trigger the sympathetic nervous system. This aids alertness but can also inhibit digestion if in this state for a pro-longed time.
  • The digestion of food requires a response that is responsible for rest and repair. This is a parasympathetic nervous system response. This also helps to heal the gut.

Regular Exercise

  • Regular exercise has proven to have several benefits including helping the immune system, aiding weight management and helping the mind. All three of these benefits are connected to having a healthy gut.
  • Calming exercise such as walking, yoga and stretching can help the parasympathetic nervous system and therefore benefit the health of your gut microbiome.

Due to the positive and negative effects that lifestyle choices have on the gut it is important that we understand why these effects occur and what steps we need to take to ensure we boost our health.