Gut health is incredibly important, and a big contributor to your overall health. Providing your digestive system with the nutrients it needs to feel its best is the most powerful form of support for your body! Here are a few things you can ask yourself anytime you think your microbiome needs some extra care.
Am I Getting Enough Prebiotic Foods?
Prebiotics are the indigestible fibers that feed the good bacteria in your gut. You’re most likely familiar with some natural prebiotic foods already – oats, apples, garlic, bananas – are great sources – but the good news is that most plant-based foods contain some amount of prebiotics.
You bacteria need a lot of prebiotic fiber to thrive. The issue with our modern lifestyle is getting enough prebiotics from the food we eat. And without any natural sustenance from the foods we eat, our friendly gut flora faces even more difficulties against harmful bacteria. Some foods we consumer even have the opposite effect – they feed the less hospitable bacteria in your gut instead of the good. These foods included sugar, gluten, dairy, and other processed foods. So try to include plenty of fiber-rich prebiotic foods in your diet!
What’s Your Gut Feeling?
Did you know that your gut is actually connected to your brain? Your brain and gut are in constant communication via your vagus nerve, which means that your brain can help signal your gut to digest properly and can have a direct impact on the way you are feeling.
Changes in your moods can originate in changes in your gut bacteria. When your gut bacteria are in balance, they signal the body to produce the hormones and neurotransmitters responsible for your moods like serotonin and oxytocin. And when your gut bacteria are out of balance, your body tends to produce more of the hormones associated with stress, like cortisol. There are so many things that have an effect on the way you are feeling, but it’s worth paying attention to any big mood swings or overall changes in your mood.
Do I Spend Enough Time Outside?
Spending time outside in nature is one of the best things you can do to help your microbiome thrive. This is happening less and less within today’s fast paced and modern lifestyle, and Americans tend to spend 90% of their time indoors. Whether you are at work, the shopping mall, or your home, being inside so much exposes you to harmful substances from bacteria found in building materials, paint, and even clean products. All of these are damaging to your gut flora and worse, your overall health.
When you are outside, you increase your exposure to new types of bacteria which can then increase your microbial diversity. Spending time in nature also lowers your stress levels and give your body a chance to build up the immune system. This is so beneficial for your microbiome and helps with supporting the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut.