Everyday Health Life

Habits to Improve and Strengthen Your Gut Health

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Gut Health – Keeping the microorganisms of the intestine happy with prebiotic foods and doing physical exercise on a daily basis helps the digestive transit

The human body has trillions of microorganisms. It is what we know as the microbiota. 98% of these tiny tenants are bacteria, while the remaining 2% are yeasts, protozoa, and viruses. But these important bugs, which live mainly in the large intestine, are essential for health and also for not having intestinal transit problems. Therefore, the key to taking care of intestinal health, say scientists, is to keep these bacteria happy with ideas like the ones we describe in the following lines.

  1. Eat more Prebiotics for Gut Health

Foods such as artichokes, leeks, asparagus, bananas and garlic are prebiotics that helps maintain intestinal health

The human body contains trillions of microorganisms that constitute what we know as the microbiota. “In fact, our body has ten times more cells from microorganisms than its own human cells,” explains Ana María Mateos, from the Nutrition and Digestive group of the Spanish Society of Family and Community Pharmacy ( SEFAC ). And most of these microorganisms inhabit different compartments of the intestinal tract.

98% of them are bacteria and the remaining 2%, are mainly yeasts, protozoa and viruses. These tiny but important tenants live along the gastrointestinal mucosa, a layer that extends throughout the digestive tract. But where there is greater concentration, by far, is in the large intestine.

Scientists know that some of these species of microorganisms that inhabit our bodies play a fundamental role in intestinal health, as well as helping to maintain a balance in the immune system, which protects against disease. And diet is essential to allow these microbial beings to grow and avoid imbalances that can ruin the health of the intestine.

So-called prebiotic foods are a good food source for certain groups of these healthy gut bacteria. Artichokes, leeks and asparagus are rich in prebiotic ingredients, such as inulin, fructooligosaccharides or galactooligosaccharides, among others. Bananas and garlic are also foods rich in prebiotics.

“Although this prebiotics cannot be digested directly by the body, they do contribute to increased intestinal transit and will be used by the microorganisms in the intestine,” says Mateos. In other words: the prebiotics are the “food” for the healthy bugs that live in the gut.

2. Choose fibre and whole grains

If what we want is to take care of the intestine, it is convenient to opt for a diet rich in fibre, present in vegetables, legumes and fruits. Some high-fibre foods include apples, blueberries, artichokes, lentils, beans, and chickpeas. Experts affirm that these foods can also reduce the growth of bacteria that are harmful to the intestine and, on the contrary, stimulate the growth of microorganisms that take care of intestinal health, such as bifidobacteria, lactobacillus and other healthy species called bacteroidetes.

To ensure that one eats enough fibre-rich foods, the SEFAC expert recommends including vegetables at all meals and dinners, in addition to choosing foods in their whole form, and trying to reduce refined flours.

  1. Take more fermented products

The benefits of fermented foods like kefir, plain yoghurt, and soy milk for gut health are also well known. Of course: avoid aromatised, flavoured or sweetened yoghurts, as they contain an amount of sugar above what is recommended.

  • How much sugar does yoghurt have? And how to choose a healthy one
  1. Hydrate

In addition to eating well, and following the guidelines of the Mediterranean diet (with a preference for whole grain cereals), we must not neglect hydration, an essential habit to maintain intestinal health. “To take care of intestinal health, we must not forget to maintain an adequate supply of liquids, in the form of water and foods with a high content of it,” says Mateos.

  1. Take brisk walks

Despite following a diet rich in prebiotics and fibre, some people still have problems with intestinal transit. But it is that physical exercise is another key to taking care of health.

It is not necessary to prepare for marathons. A half-hour brisk walk will increase your heart rate, which helps the blood in the digestive system to move and activate the hormones that regulate digestion, according to research from the University of Michigan (USA). The key is to practice daily exercise since sport accelerates the transit of the colon and improves the function of the intestine.

How Fast can you Improve your Gut Bacteria?

“We have the ability to determine our gut microbiome simply by how we treat it. Focusing on our diet is one of the most effective ways to increase the diversity of our microbiome,” says Rossi.

While some research suggests this may allow us to make alterations to your gut microbes in a matter of days (for better or worse), it could depend on a number of factors, including how drastic changes you make to your diet and lifestyle of living.

Long-term benefits may take several months to become apparent for Gut Health.

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