5 Things you Can Do To Improve Your Gut Health
Dr. Roshini Raj is a board certified gastroenterologist and attending physician at NYU Medical Center. She is the Medical Editor of Health Magazine, a regular contributor to Dr. Oz, CNN, FNC, Inside Edition and other national shows, and a member of Cure's Medical Advisory Board.
Gut health refers to the balance of microorganisms that live in the digestive tract. Maintaining the right balance of these microorganisms is vital for physical and mental health, immunity, and more.
Here are 5 scientifically supported ways to improve your gut health.
1. Keep moving!
We know exercise has a host of heart health benefits, but it is also great for your gut. Regular aerobic exercise can help with bowel regularity, bloating symptoms, and reduces your risk of colon cancer.
2. Deep breaths
The gut is also known as the second brain because it contains many of the same neurotransmitters that are in our brains and because there is a two-way conversation between the gut and the brain. Anyone who has experienced butterflies in their stomach knows that we often feel out emotions in our stomach (this is heightened in those with irritable bowel syndrome), so anything you can do to reduce stress - meditation, yoga, deep breathing - will help keep your digestive tract in optimal shape.
3. Stay hydrated
Dehydration causes your digestion to slow down which can cause constipation, nausea, bloating and/or abdominal pain. You want to maintain fluid intake consistently and increase it when you are losing more fluid due to exercise, sweating, or when you are sick.
You'll also want to replace electrolytes you lose when you sweat, including sodium and potassium. Sweat rates vary by person but on average 1 pack of Cure replaces sodium and potassium lost from an intense 30-minute cardio workout.
4. Go Green
A high fiber plant-based diet is the best for gut health. Not only does it exercise your colon to keep it moving smoothly, but it also is far better than animal-based fats and protein in terms of colon cancer risk.
5. Take care of your microbiome
You are host to approximately 38,000,000,000,000 microorganisms (most of which are bacteria) which live in and on your body. That's roughly 50% of all the cells which constitute the body! These microorganisms make up what's called your microbiome, and these bugs serve important functions ranging from strengthening your gut lining to decreasing inflammation and boosting immunity. You can take better care of your microbiome by taking a daily probiotic or eating probiotic-rich foods like kombucha and fermented vegetables and avoid antibiotics unless absolutely necessary.