Easy Diet Hacks to Improve Gut Health Fast
Scientists have determined that the gut functions as a second brain. This has focused a considerable amount of attention directed toward getting our digestion and microbiota in order.
Both inside and outside, our bodies host a diverse community of micro-organisms. It is estimated that there are more than 5000 different species. These include bacteria, fungi, parasites, yeasts and viruses. Together these organisms make up your microbiota.
Microbiota and microbiome are often used interchangeably. Your microbiome is technically the genetic material that your microbiota contains. We have 100 times more bacterial DNA within us than human DNA!
Without a proper balance of the ecosystem that exists within us, we become susceptible to a variety of diseases and conditions, including (but certainly not limited to) diabetes, autism, anxiety and obesity. It is not surprising that the microbiome is considered to be one of the most influential predictors of metabolism.
There are good, and bad, microbes. And good microbes can be bad if they get in the wrong place or boom in numbers causing an imbalance, like in the case of Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth, SIBO, and Small Intestinal Fungal Overgrowth, SIFO.
Our microbes help to program and influence our immune system, both locally and systemically throughout the body. They are located everywhere that the outside world comes into contact with us, like the sinuses, lungs, digestive tract, skin and vagina. Each location has a particular community based on what is best for that environment.
Microbes are a critical component of digestion and help to provide nutrients for our cells and guard against colonization of harmful bacteria and viruses. They also play a role in hormone balance. You may be surprised to learn that 89% of women with hormone imbalances have gut dysfunction.
Symptoms of hormone imbalance are common. They are more common than you probably think. About 80% of us have hormone imbalances on some level. And these symptoms often go beyond decreased libido and bad skin. Brain fog, fatigue, depression and loss of strength can be debilitating to live with on a daily basis.
Microbiomes differ from person to person. This variability is why some people respond differently to the same foods or infectious exposures. This also re-enforces that there is no one-size-fits-all diet or food strategy.
We know that a poor diet, dehydration, stress, lack of sleep, medications and exposure to environmental toxins can make for trouble in the gut. Here are some simple tips to nurture your microbiota, improve your gut function and transform your health.
- Go whole, unprocessed, and unrefined
Start by making most of your plate -- fill it with colorful vegetables and plant-based ingredients. These high-fiber foods are among the best to nourish your good gut bacteria, and this is a step you can take with each meal you eat.
- Munch on more fat
Good fat, that is! Things that have omega-3 and monounsaturated fats help reduce inflammation so that healthy bacteria can grow in numbers. Think high-quality extra virgin olive oil, avocados and wild-caught Alaskan salmon.
- Start craving coconut
Coconut oil and coconut butter both contain MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) oils that help fight inflammation and can be beneficial in losing weight. These are easy to add to nearly any recipe, including coffee, tea and smoothies, without changing the flavor. Make these a part of your daily routine as often as possible.
- Get rid of bad fats
While good fats help your gut health, the bad fats are doing harm. Ditch the vegetable oils high in Omega-6 fatty acids and swap them out for the good stuff with coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil. This simple switch reaps noticeable benefits.
- Make more room for fiber
Fiber makes you feel fuller longer, and also gives your gut prebiotics, which helps feed that good bacteria. Go for more vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, and you'll be on the right path.
- Fall in love with fermented foods
Koreans eat kimchi with every meal. Other options include sauerkraut, miso, or tempeh to help get your good bacteria in your gut multiplying.
While your microbiome is very agile, it is important to note that you won't suddenly get rid of any gut issues you have. Be sure to consult your doctor to monitor any health conditions you have and incorporate these simple hacks to help you achieve the best health of your life with a little help from your gut!