Probiotics are a great way of improving the gut bacteria, which can, in turn, mean a significant improvement in your overall health. There are several different foods that can help increase the number of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract. However, there are other ways you can improve your gut bacteria that have nothing to do with what you eat. Here are seven ways to improve gut bacteria that will, hopefully, have you feeling your best.
7 Ways to Improve Your Gut Health
Eat Non-Dairy Yogurt
Yogurt is one of the best foods to increase the number of good bacteria in the gut, but a lot of people have shied away from this food because they can’t tolerate dairy products. There are a lot of non-dairy alternatives available, however, that has the same beneficial bacteria as their dairy counterparts – and they don’t have as many additives. Yogurt can have a significant impact on bolstering the health of the immune system. It can also reduce bloating.
Sauerkraut is another food rich in probiotics. And it’s good on more than just a Reuben sandwich. Add it to a salad, a burger, or eat it on its own. It adds zest to a meal and also contains a large number of Lactobacilli bacteria, which can aid digestion and help fight off bad bacteria.
If you’re looking to add a little variety to your diet, try the Korean version of sauerkraut known as kimchi. It also includes cabbage, but it also has onions, carrots, scallions, and other vegetables. It’s not only dairy-free, it also contains no gluten or soy. You should be able to find it in the produce section of your local grocery store next to the chilled condiments.
Enjoy Miso Soup
Most versions of miso include brown rice and fermented soybeans, although fermented barley is sometimes included instead. Miso not only increases the number of good bacteria in the gut, but it also delivers protein, vitamin B12, beneficial enzymes, and more. The best part is that making miso soup is extremely easy. All you need to do is fill a pot with vegetables (sweet potatoes and carrots work great) and water, add miso and bring it all to a boil. You can also include miso in salad dressing, condiments, sauces, and much more.
Dark Chocolate, Yes Please
Chocolate lovers can take pride in the fact that this incredibly popular food can be good for you as well – in moderation, of course. Dark chocolate not only stimulates hormones that help improve your mood, but it also contains beneficial probiotics. Milk chocolate, unfortunately, isn’t that great for you. You obviously know it contains a great deal of sugar, but you might not know that too much sugar can increase the number of harmful yeast in the body that can actually overrun good bacteria.
Take in More Fiber
Fiber is not only good for keeping you more regular, but it can also increase the number of good bacteria in the gut. Carrots, celery, and greens are great fiber sources, as are a lot of different fruits. Leafy greens are particularly beneficial because they can also reduce inflammation – the main culprit behind a variety of health issues.
Stay Away from Antibiotics When Possible
While antibiotics have saved countless lives over the years, we’ve just recently come to realize that they can do harm as well.2 Antibiotics, as the name implies, are designed to kill bacteria. Unfortunately, they not only kill bad bacteria but good bacteria as well – bacteria that help you fight off infections and promote overall good health to learn more please visit heartland nutrients.
Antibiotics have been over-prescribed for years, and often for unnecessary reasons. For example, doctors will sometimes prescribe an antibiotic for an infection that is caused by a virus – not harmful bacteria. Always ask your doctor if you or a loved one’s infection is actually caused by bacteria or a virus. Only agree to take antibiotics if the infection will not get better on its own, or if you run the risk of severe complications by not taking them. If antibiotics are necessary, be sure to take a probiotic to help maintain the balance of your intestinal flora.3
Around the House
Staying with the antibiotics theme, antibacterial cleaning products aren’t any better than non-antibacterial products. You can do just as effective a job by using a combination of warm water and soap to remove harmful bacteria. Also, the soap you use to wash your body can harm the beneficial bacteria that reside on your skin. Soap can alter the skin microbiome in a way that it promotes the growth of species of bad bacteria.4 We’re obviously not suggesting you take water-only showers. But there are probiotic soaps out there that can clean your skin just as effectively without any of the potentially harmful side effects.
If you have recently brought home a new baby, you should consider breastfeeding if at all possible. Breast milk can be difficult for babies to digest because it contains certain sugars, but these sugars also play a key role in developing the gut microbiome in newborns. Known as oligosaccharides, they feed good bacteria and help to block harmful bacteria that can cause disease. They may also help the developing baby’s immune system be better able to identify and attack bad bacteria.5
However, if you can’t breastfeed, you can still help your child develop a strong gut microbiome by making sure he or she eats foods rich in fiber. Of course, talk to your pediatrician to make sure the baby will be able to tolerate this type of diet.
A wide range of problems is associated with an imbalance between good and bad bacteria in the gut. These include digestive issues, allergies, immune system problems, and even certain problems that affect mental health. In order to be at our best, we need to try and nurture the gut microbiome whenever we can. By supporting your beneficial gut bacteria, you’re also supporting your overall well being.