Have you ever experienced some seriously icky tummy issues? That can look like flatulence, constipation, bloating, and other gastrointestinal upsets. How about random mood swings you can’t explain or difficulty sleeping? It might be due to an unbalanced gut microbiome. Your gut health affects you more than you might think. Curious how to fix it?
We’ve got you covered. We went ahead and researched a few tips and tricks to help you restore your gut health naturally. Keep reading to learn more!
Avoid “Unfriendly” Foods
The best way to boost the healthy microbes in your gut microbiome is by eating diverse foods filled with probiotics and prebiotics. Restoring your gut is all about balance.
Processed foods are typically jam-packed with additives, chemicals, preservatives, and fillers to extend shelf life. However, these extra ingredients are neither nutritional nor beneficial for your gut. According to recent research, processed foods have been suggested to cause inflammation in the gut microbiome .
Sugar and Artificial Sweeteners
There are good microbes in your gut and then there are bad microbes. The bad microbes flourish and thrive on a diet high in sugars and artificial sweeteners. Refined sugars, and high fructose corn syrup, among other sweeteners, are among the worst culprits. Moderation is key to helping restore the balance in your gut microbiome. A 2018 study found that six artificial sweeteners all approved by the FDA were discovered to negatively affect the gut microbiota of mice .
Focus on Your Mental Health
According to studies, a healthier gut could be the difference between a good night’s rest and hardly any rest at all. Likewise, lack of sleep can put your gut out of balance . It’s important for not just your gut health, but your overall well-being, to get enough sleep each night.
Here are a few science-backed tips for better sleep:
- Let in Bright Lights During the Day - Let the natural light in! Bright light during the daytime can promote healthy circadian rhythms, which in turn may promote energy throughout the day and longer, higher quality sleep at night [11,12]. You can open the blinds when you’re stuck in the house or if you work remotely, or even invest in artificial bright lights to keep the house well-lit.
- Avoid Blue Lights at Night - If you are constantly checking your social media before bed, or popping open your laptop right before you sleep, this might be hindering the quality of your sleep each night. Nighttime light exposure can negatively affect your circadian rhythm, throwing off melatonin hormones that help you sleep deeply [13,14]. Blue light from smartphones and laptops greatly affects these hormones and sleep rhythms, so it’s best to either put the electronics away at night, or invest in blue light glasses, apps that block blue light exposure, or other methods to avoid long-term exposure.
- Bedroom Temperature - Night sweats and high temps can throw your sleep off. When it is too warm, you may have noticed it is much more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. A study found that temperatures in the bedroom can affect sleep more than noise . Experts say around 65 degrees Fahrenheit is the best bedroom temperature for optimum sleep .
- Don’t Eat or Drink Late at Night - Consuming a large meal before bedtime may impact sleep quality, and disturb sleeping hormone production [17,18]. Similarly, drinking liquids right before bedtime could lead to excessive urination during the night, keeping you awake and reducing your quality of sleep [19,20].
Stress and Anxiety
Stress can induce a fight or flight response in your brain, and this response can make the heart beat faster, cause the pupils to dilate, and even reduce blood flow to certain areas of the body including the gut .
Here are a few tips to help ease everyday stress and anxiety:
- Identify Triggers - Learning what your stress triggers are may help you manage everyday stressors and anxiety. You can ask yourself: Where at work, my personal relationships, my finances, and so on, do I typically get the most stressed? Is it possible for me to take steps to reduce that stress in those areas? Can I avoid these stressful situations?
- Unwind - You can learn to cope with stressful days by relaxing and taking a break. Some people love a good, hot bath filled with salts or essential oils to soothe their minds and bodies, while others need to go on a long run to blow off steam. Whatever your preferred coping mechanism is, make sure you are taking care of yourself in a healthy way.
- Let it Out - Release that pent-up stress. It’s okay to have a good cry sometimes, and research actually recommends it . Let it all out.
- Cut Down - Caffeine and sugar are natural stimulants, so it may be best to cut down occasionally. Research shows that high levels of caffeine and sugar not only increase those nervous jitters, but can decrease the production of serotonin .
Get Outside and Exercise!
What type of exercise is best?
We know you’ve heard this probably a thousand times before. But, it’s true. Exercise can directly affect your gut health. Experts contend that an increase in daily exercise can exponentially improve gut health . The best kind of exercise to improve overall gut health is…
any of them!
Research suggests that whether you are an intensive athlete or a stay-at-home kind of person, getting up and moving your body in any capacity is vital . It is recommended to get in at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week or 75 minutes of high intensity exercise each week . Going on long walks, running, heading to the gym, or any other exercise of choice is a great way to get started on balancing your overall gut health.
Herbs that Heal
Turmeric - Turmeric is an ancient Indian spice, now known as a superfood. It is most easily consumed as a convenient turmeric curcmin supplement, like our Pattern Wellness Turmeric Curcumin, which is made with 95% Standardized Curcuminoids and enhanced with BioPerine Black Pepper Extract for effective absorption. Studies have found that turmeric may help to soothe and balance acids located in the GI tract, as well as promote healthy digestion .
Cinnamon - Studies have suggested that cinnamon may promote relief from GI upset . If you’re a fan of a little extra sweetness, a dash of cinnamon in your morning cup of joe or on top of your oatmeal breakfast can be an excellent aid in promoting gut health.
Ginger - Research suggests that ginger may help to improve the circulatory system and soothe the GI tract during upsets . Remember good old ginger ale, and how your mom probably gave it to you when you had a stomach ache? Same concept. This herb is great for promoting a balanced gut microbiome.
Ashwagandha - This herb is a powerful adaptogen, which means it has the capability to help your body adapt to stress. Remember how we mentioned stress can affect gut health? Although ashwagandha may reduce stress and cortisol, research also suggests this herb has anti-inflammatory properties which may be beneficial in soothing an upset gut . Supplements are the easiest way to start putting this special herb in your diet, so check out our Pattern Wellness Ashwagandha Complex. It’s made without fillers or binders, and includes Black Pepper for enhanced absorption along with organic KSM-66® with 5% Withanolides.
Probiotic supplements are the best way to promote healthy gut flora and get your gut back into balance. Probiotics are live, active cultures that can be found in fermented foods, supplements, and inside your gut microbiome. They are vital to not just a balanced gut, but overall health and wellness. The benefits of probiotics have been documented for hundreds of years across multiple cultures.
Our Pattern Wellness Probiotic promotes a harmonious gut through a formulation of 51 billion CFUs, 11 probiotic strains, and delayed-release technology to ensure maximum potency. Plus, it’s naturally sourced, certified vegan, non-GMO, and free of gluten, dairy, and soy. What do you have to lose?
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