Although everyone's guts are different, some things can be done across the board to help our gut microbiome thrive. Keep reading to discover 5 ways to improve your gut health!
Eat more plant-based foods
If you've been keeping up with our blog posts, you'll know that we've already discussed how people with a plant-based diet tend to have a better balance of good bacteria in their guts. Depending on how many plant or animal products you eat, your gut bacteria will differ substantially. (1)
Plant-based diets have many gut health benefits, mainly due to their prebiotic fiber content. By definition, prebiotics are nondigestible carbohydrates found in grains, fruits, and nuts that selectively feed strains of good bacteria existing within the gut. Maintaining a good balance of good bacteria versus bad is important as gut bacteria imbalances are a factor that can lead to digestive health complaints.
Plant-based diets have also been proven to increase the diversity of the gut microbiota. (2) This is partly because a diverse diet of prebiotics can help to optimize a wide array of probiotics within the gut. There is no scientifically validated super prebiotic that optimizes every strain of probiotic in the gut. But by diversifying prebiotic fiber intake with plant-based foods and supplements, such as the Arabinoxylan in Inner Life! for bifidobacteria, consumers can establish a healthy microbiome. (3) Helping your gut bacteria to become more diverse also helps it to become more resilient.
While the available research suggests that a vegetarian/vegan diet effectively promotes a diverse ecosystem, it's okay if changing to a strictly plant-based diet may not be for you. By increasing your intake of plant-based foods, you can still improve the amount of fiber in your diet and the amount and diversity of beneficial bacteria in your microbiome.
Eat fermented foods with beneficial bacteria
Even if you're not a 'foodie,' you have probably seen the rising popularity of fermented foods rich in probiotics such as kefir and kombucha—and they're not only a hot topic in the food industry but also as they pertain to health. Fermentation is a food preservation process where bacteria and yeasts break down sugars. (4) The beneficial bacteria that grow during the fermentation process can also help the gut by improving digestion, boosting immunity, and maintaining weight. (5)
A quick tip from a nutrition professor at the Harvard School of Public Health—look for the words' naturally fermented' on labels to ensure the fermented foods you choose contain probiotics. You can also look for bubbles in the liquid when you open the lid, which signals that live organisms are present. (6)
Take prebiotics to feed good bacteria
Prebiotics, such as those found in Inner Life!, nourish the good bacteria already existing in the gut and optimize their growth and functions. They do this by supplying the crucial, nondigestible ingredients that fuel the growth of healthy bacteria. Adding a prebiotic to your diet is a great way to improve your gut health! Lucky for you, we know the perfect one.
Inner Life! makes meeting your daily prebiotic needs easy and is conveniently packaged in single-serve sticks. Each serving of Inner Life!'s prebiotic drink mix provides 3.8g of the clinically-proven prebiotic fiber, Arabinoxylan. Inner Life! is made with only the best ingredients, meaning no artificial sweeteners, colors, preservatives, or gluten. Additionally, Inner Life! is gentle on the stomach and will not cause the bloating or belly discomfort associated with other prebiotic fibers. Just add it to water and enjoy!
Eat foods rich in polyphenols
Polyphenols are natural antioxidants found in many plant-based foods and beverages that support beneficial bacteria's growth in the gut and are overall great for your health. (7) When you see bright, vibrant fruits and veggies that can likely be attributed to polyphenols—they're colorful, they can protect your body from disease, and they're good for your gut too! Polyphenols also increase good bacteria in the gut, specifically Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, which can provide anti-inflammatory and cardiovascular protection (link under the plant-based section to reference).
Polyphenol-rich foods include seasonings such as clove and peppermint, cocoa powder, dark chocolate, blueberries, blackberries, black currants, plums, black beans, hazelnuts, artichokes, and much more. Oh, and did we mention that Inner Life! has polyphenols too?
Drink more water
Possibly the simplest way to promote a healthy gut? Drinking water. Throughout your life, you've probably been reminded on a regular basis to make sure to drink a certain amount of water to keep hydrated. Still, you've probably never really thought about all that water actually does for your body.
While water is essential for our overall health, drinking a healthy amount of water has also been shown to have a beneficial effect on the balance of good gut bacteria. (8) Water is a crucial component of digestion, and it also can flush toxins, ensures absorption of nutrients throughout the body, and eases waste removal. Drinking plenty of water and consuming foods that contain water are vital in promoting a healthy gut and a healthy body. (9) Try drinking at least 2 liters of water per day to keep things moving smoothly!