5 Ways To Improve Your Gut Health
We tend to overlook the importance of our gut health and its pivotal role on our overall general well being. Our GI system performs many functions, such as breaking down food, absorbing water and electrolytes, and transporting stool. The GI tract is home to our gut microbiodome, a complex system of bacteria, viruses, and microbes. Our microbiodome has a direct effect on our immune system and mental health. These are a few ways to keep our gut happy and balanced.
- Take prebiotics and probiotics. Probiotics contain good bacteria, such as bifidobacteria and lactobacillus, that maintain homeostasis in the gut microbiome. These live bacteria are found in yogurt and fermented foods. Taking prebiotic supplements or fibers can be beneficial as well, as they help good bacteria thrive in your gut. However, depending if you have any food intolerances or sensitivities, too much of this can cause increased abdominal discomfort.
- Switch up your dietary routine. In addition to having a well balanced and healthy diet, make sure to change the main ingredients in your meal plans or cooking. This will help diversify your gut microbiodome over a long period of time.
- Exercise. Regular exercise, such as frequent daily walks, can help increase colon motility and prevent constipation. Yoga poses done as a gentle flow (sun salutations, hip openers) can also be beneficial. Incorporate warrior I, high lunge, power lunge, half pigeon, and bow pose into your practice.
- Set a sleep schedule. Try to sleep and wake up at the same time. Sleep allows our gut to take a rest from breaking down food. It coordinates our brain/ gut activity, which is vital for our mood and mental health.
- Stress management. Diaphragmatic breathing exercises, meditation, and stretching/ cardio exercise can help decrease feelings of stress and anxiety. Just spending a few minutes everyday to focus on your breath or movement can be a calming experience.
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