Did you know that every person has over 200 different species of bacteria in their digestive tract? These microorganisms live in the “gut microbiome,” AKA your intestines. Some can be harmful to the body, but most are essential for your overall wellness. Gut health has been linked to the immune system, mental health, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and more, so it’s crucial that you are keeping your gut health in check. So where do we start?
There are signs to look out for which have the most detrimental effects on the gut. These include high stress levels, lack of sleep, heavy consumption of processed foods, or too many antibiotics. How will you know these habits are negatively affecting your gut health? The results are found in immune function, hormone levels, weight, or the development of diseases.
Don’t think this is the end, though! Gut health is becoming a more conversational topic, which means more research and methods for improvement. For most people, fixing your gut health can be done simply through lifestyle changes. One of these changes is lowering your stress levels. Find time for yourself by going on a walk, reading, journaling, or meditating! Research also suggests taking a prebiotic or probiotic supplement which promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut. Getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, and changing your diet are other effective approaches to a healthy gut.
In terms of advantageous foods for gut health, adding high fiber foods to your diet is a great start. You can find fiber in legumes, whole grains, nuts, vegetables, and fruit! Fermented foods are another great source of probiotics, so go get some sauerkraut and yogurt while you’re at it. If you’re still feeling unsure, you will definitely find foods under these categories in your weekly ThirdLeaf NW deliveries for the perfect test run!