Did you know that your gut is the home to a variety of microorganisms including bacteria, fungi and viruses? It is what scientists refer to as a microbiome, or community of microorganisms. Yes, I did just tell you that inside your body there are small living organisms making themselves at home, but have no fear, they aren’t throwing a party! In fact, most of the microorganisms in the human body are working hard and assisting you with digestion, as well as immune, brain and heart health.
On the contrary, if the microbiome becomes unbalanced, it can wreak havoc on the body causing weight gain, high blood sugar, and other disorders. Having an unhealthy gut may feel like those microorganisms decided to throw a rager like the one you threw back in high school when your parents were out of town. Symptoms such as stomach issues, fatigue, headaches, food cravings, and mood issues may occur.
If any of the symptoms above are sounding way too familiar, a trip to your physician may be in order so they can determine if they are due to an unhealthy gut flora or another underlying medical condition.
How to Get a Healthy Gut
If your gut is in need of some post-party clean up, there are many ways to restore order! Here are some tips to promote a healthy gut flora so that you can get back to feeling your best:
- Eat more plant based meals
- Eat more fiber found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes
- Increase intake of polyphenols (dark chocolate, nuts, olive oil, berries, vegetables, legumes)
- Increase intake of prebiotic (bananas, onion, garlic)
- Eat more probiotic rich foods or take a probiotic supplement (yogurt, kefir, fermented foods)
- Reduce intake of artificial sweeteners
- Take antibiotics only when necessary
- Manage your stress
An indication that you have a healthy gut that is functioning properly is having 1-2 bowel movements a day without any difficulty. If you are struggling to have normal bowel movements, it is possible your gut flora needs some help. Don’t let the microorganisms ruin your home by inviting all of their up-to-no-good friends! Call our office and schedule an appointment with a registered dietitian who can assist you in promoting a balanced gut flora.
Written by: Lexi Nazzaro, Dietetic Intern
Sources: Information adapted from Today’s Dietitian RD Lounge rdlounge.com