Image: Breathe in Digital
The lower gut was once an afterthought in medical literature, and medical schools rarely if ever stressed its importance in overall health. Today, we know better: the last 15 years has seen an incredible number of studies proving time and again the significant role the colon plays in immunity, bone density, weight, cancer prevention, inflammation and more. Quite simply, a healthy lower gut won’t cure every ill, but it will make you healthier — significantly healthier.
Here are the five easiest ways to improve your gut health.
1. Consume Adequate Prebiotics and Probiotics
Perhaps the easiest way to quickly improve your lower gut’s health is to add prebiotics and probiotics to your everyday diet. Prebiotics in particular are quite effective at fertilizing the gut’s good bacteria, which, when proliferating, produce a variety of important health benefits.
Foods such as wheat, onions, garlic and bananas contain insoluble prebiotic fibers essential for lower gut health; unfortunately, most can’t or won’t eat enough to reap their important benefits. If eating 25 grams of wheat, bananas and onions on a daily basis isn’t possible, add Prebiotin to your food instead.
2. Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
No surprise here: fruits and vegetables are essential components of a healthy diet, and recent changes adopted by healthcare practitioners note that your dinner plate should be two-thirds full of these nutrients. Keep in mind that all produce isn’t created equal, however; choosing dark, leafy vegetables such as spinach and antioxidant-packed fruit such as blueberries is wiser than other, less nutritious alternatives.
3. Eat Less Processed Foods and Proteins
Meats and processed foods aren’t just high in saturated fat and calories; they’re often high in additives that will sabotage your best laid dietary plans. Experts also suggest that proteins, once part and parcel of the standard meat-and-potatoes diet, should take a backseat to their dirt-grown friends. Keep protein portions to a palm-sized amount and avoid whenever possible any foods that come from a box or bag.
4. Practice the Art of Self-Reflection
Many practiced healthy eaters are experts at noting how they feel after they eat certain foods. Pay attention to what you eat long enough and you’ll notice it, too.
Keep a food diary and write down how you feel physically after you eat a piece of cake or drink a soda. Are you tired? Bloated? Cranky? Are you hungry again quickly and what are you craving? Here’s a hint: diets high in processed sugars and saturated fats won’t make you feel energetic and perky.
5. Manage Your Fluids Wisely
You’ve probably heard that consuming at least 64 ounces of water every day is wise. But did you know that drinking water at mealtimes may inhibit digestion?
Instead, drink four 16-ounce glasses of water at preplanned times. For example, begin your day with a lukewarm glass, consume another mid-morning and another mid-afternoon, and your last about an hour after dinner. Not only will you give your lower gut a healthy poke, you’ll find digestion proceeds much, much faster.