Do you have concerns about your GI health? Digestive system issues like heartburn, gas, constipation, and bloating can be the result of shifts in gut immunity, stomach acid, and gastrointestinal flora. Though this may seem surprising, protecting your digestive system involves more than just improving your diet. If you want to know how to improve gut health, you will need to think of your body holistically, since all of the systems in your body work together. Here we offer tips on how to heal gut inflammation and lapses in immunity, for better overall health.
Maintain A Healthy Diet
While attention to diet is only the first step in learning how to heal your gut, it is an important one. Your goal should be to support the gastrointestinal microbiome, by eating a diverse diet, similar to the Mediterranean diet or a low-fat, high complex carbohydrate diet. Eating the right diet helps promote a healthy microbiome, with several different types of beneficial bacteria. There are a number of factors to take into account when you are determining the right foods to eat for digestive health.
- Go for fiber. Eating whole grains is a great way to do this, because the fiber and nondigestible carbs in whole grains are not absorbed by the small intestine. Instead, they travel to the large intestine and aid in the growth of beneficial bacteria. What’s more, whole grains can make you feel fuller, as well as reducing inflammation and your risk of heart disease. Be cautious with gluten-containing whole grains like wheat, barley, and rye, as these can cause issues in people with a sensitivity. Beans and legumes are another great source of fiber.
- Focus on fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables, like whole grains, beans, and legumes, contain abundant gut-improving fiber. Additionally, fruits and vegetables are nutrient dense, with vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that are beneficial to the gut biome. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that plant-based diets provide specific nutrients that increase beneficial bacteria and decrease harmful bacteria.
- Diversify your diet. If you consider the diversity of bacteria in your intestines, where hundreds of species play very specific roles in promoting good health, it should be obvious that your diet should be varied enough to support them. In the United States, most people tend to eat a limited diet. Branch out, and your gut will thank you.
- Add some fermented foods. Eating fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, and tempeh can enhance the function of the microbiome and reduce disease-causing bacteria in the intestines. Be careful to choose plain yogurt that has live active cultures, steering clear of yogurt with added sugar.
- Include prebiotics and probiotics. Prebiotics, found in complex carbohydrates, promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. Probiotics are live microorganisms that improve microbiome function. A balance of each of these will help keep your intestinal microbiome in good condition.
- Put polyphenols on the menu. Plant compounds that humans can’t always digest, polyphenols have been shown to reduce blood pressure, inflammation, cholesterol levels, and oxidative stress. It is a bonus that we can’t always digest them, because that means they are digested by gut bacteria, improving our health in many different ways. You’ll find polyphenols in cocoa and dark chocolate, red wine, grape skins, green tea, almonds, onions, blueberries, and broccoli.
Other Factors That Affect Your Gut
So, aside from diet, what makes for a healthy gastrointestinal microbiome? Adequate sleep helps, particularly because sleep-deprivation is linked to obesity, which promotes digestive disorders. Exercise is important too, because it helps you keep a healthy body weight. Stress can upset your digestive system, which is why managing stress is one of the pillars of gut health, and getting help for issues like anxiety and depression is important too. Digestive system health, particularly disorders like irritable bowel syndrome, is closely linked to mood.
Schedule An Appointment with Advanced Functional Medicine
At Advanced Functional Medicine, an integrated medical clinic, we exclusively practice functional medicine. A full functional medicine approach to healing uses a comprehensive diagnostic screening to get to the root of a patient’s issues. Our whole body approach to medicine utilizes all-natural, researched-based nutritional approaches to optimize the body’s natural healing abilities, rather than just using medication to treat symptoms. Each individual receives unique and customized care, formulated based on the latest scientific resource, and we have a 96 percent success rate in patient outcomes. As a medically driven, patient-focused health clinic, we support our patients’ individual health goals, providing natural relief for symptoms of chronic factors and expert guidance about the decisions affecting a patient’s long-term health. It is our goal to help reverse chronic disease without resorting to dangerous or unnecessary drugs or surgical interventions, promoting healing from the inside out, in its truest, healthiest form. To schedule an appointment or learn more about how we can help restore your health and strengthen your body’s unique physiological functions, call 858-500-5572 or contact us through our website.