The human body is a pretty incredible and strange thing. Take this fun, albeit somewhat unsettling fact: did you know there are about 100 trillion bacteria living in the intestinal tract of your body? Ok, take a deep breath and don’t freak out.
No matter how strange of a fact this may seem it is completely normal. In fact, this is actually a positive thing! See, although bacteria is normally associated with diseases and other bad things, there are many kinds of good bacteria that live in your digestive tract, or the “gut microbiome,” that contribute to keeping you healthy and feeling good.
You may have heard about gut health before and how important it is. Well, this healthy bacteria is a major part in maintaining good gut health. This bacteria plays a vital role in helping you efficiently and effectively breaking down and digesting your food so you get all the nutritional value out of your food and flush out the bad stuff. This helps you prevent excessive weight gain.
Good gut health also helps your immune system. Healthy gut bacteria can help your body quickly react to infection and keep unhealthy unwelcome guests in your stomach under control.
But, without healthy gut bacteria you are likely to have poor gut health, which can contribute to a slew of issues. Regular upset stomach, unintentional weight gain, unusual intolerances to certain foods, and other regular and persistent gastrointestinal issues are all signs that your gut microbiome is not balanced, healthy, and able to do its job.
The beginning of a new year is a great time to take a fresh approach and focus on improving your health. So now that we know that maintaining gut health is important, how do you do it? Fortunately, maintaining good gut health isn’t a matter of taking special medicine or going to a special doctor. There are very simple choices and decisions you can make every day to ensure that you keep good gut health and feel your absolute best every day.
It seems that every healthy dietary choice starts with eating more beans! That should come as no surprise to you because of how healthy beans are due to the nutrients they provide your body. When it comes to gut health, beans are particularly good for you because of their high fiber content.
The human stomach doesn’t digest fiber, but the bacteria in your stomach can and they love it! While your body processes all the protein and vitamins from beans, your healthy stomach bacteria go to work on the fiber and use it as food and fuel to keep them growing and healthy so they in turn keep your gut healthy and protected from unhealthy bacteria.
Cut down on sugar
The average American eats far too much sugar in their daily diet. We don’t need to tell you that while foods with high sugar content may taste good, they have very little to no nutritional value and just leave you with a sick stomach and a sugar crash. Well, sugary foods aren’t just poor for your health, but the gut microbiome as well.
Where high fiber foods provide lots of food and nutrients for gut bacteria, sugary foods provide very little nourishment. Sugar has been shown to stunt the growth and decrease the health of gut bacteria. If you want to maintain proper gut health, it is important that you not only nourish your body with healthy foods but limit your sugar intake to a healthy amount as well.
Get plenty of rest
Sleep is one of the most essential components of feeling good mentally and physically and staying healthy. Sleep gives your body rest and helps balance hormones that control your weight and gives your body much needed time to rest, regulate, and repair your internal systems. Studies have shown that sleep is also beneficial to maintaining gut health too.
Getting plenty of rest is a self-fulfilling system. If you get your solid 7 or 8 hours of sleep in each day, it helps keep your gut healthy so it can digest and breakdown food normally, preventing intestinal issues that may cause you to have problems sleeping. Otherwise, inadequate sleep will prevent this process from happening and cause you to continue to sleep poorly. In short, getting sleep helps get even more peaceful sleep.
Incorporating a proper diet and plenty of quality rest into your everyday life isn’t hard and will help pay off by helping keep good gut health and contribute to looking and feeling good! Head over to our recipe page to find recipes and cookbook collections you can use to help maintain a gut healthy diet.