If you want to live long and well, your number one priority must be focusing on your gut health. Because modern-day research shows that almost every aspect of your health and longevity—from a sharp brain and strong immune system to a healthy heart, lungs, liver, even muscles and skin—is at least in part dependent on it!
Today, we’ll discuss 8 ways you can improve your gut microbiome and change your life.
First, let’s understand how the gut microbiome can impact your overall health.
Your gut microbiome is made up of trillions of microbes that live in your gastrointestinal tract. These include not only bacteria but fungi, parasites, and viruses.
Now, when your gut is healthy, there is a diverse population with the right balance of species. But when beneficial bacteria are scarce or nonexistent, the harmful bacteria take over and throw your microbiome out of balance.
This is called dysbiosis, and it promotes inflammation, prevents nutrient absorption, and makes the gut lining “leaky”.
Now, if you suffer from bloating, constipation, excess gas, and other gut issues, you are well aware that your gut is where digestion occurs.
But did you know your gut also has a “second brain”?
This “second brain” is a network of 100 million nerve cells that line your gastrointestinal (GI) tract from the esophagus down to the rectum.
So, your gut and your brain can “talk to each other” in both directions via the vagus nerve.
If your gut is in distress, it could either be caused by, OR, the result of anxiety, stress, or depression.
Also, consider that 70-80% of your body’s immune cells are in your gut lining. And your gut lining is like a “security fence” designed to keep “foreign invaders” out of the bloodstream.
Unfortunately, when this physical barrier becomes leaky due to dysbiosis, it can spread inflammation throughout the body, causing joint problems, brain fog, food sensitivities, fatigue, skin issues, and respiratory issues.
Furthermore, scientists now believe, that not having enough beneficial bacteria in the gut, may cause autoimmune diseases, such as Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, and even neurological conditions, like cognitive decline.
So, the bottom line is, gut health is important because it equals overall health and vibrant longevity!
And you should do everything you can, to improve your gut microbiome.
Make sure you watch till the end, to learn about the 1 fatty acid, that is absolutely crucial to a long healthy life.
Let’s begin with Number 8. “Avoid things that destroy the gut microbiome”.
First, you want to limit or eliminate the things that damage the gut microbiome.
These include highly processed foods, refined carbohydrates, sugar, artificial sweeteners, vegetable oils, gluten, some non-organic foods, GMO foods, excessive alcohol consumption, antibiotics, birth control pills, and overly sterile environments.
Highly-processed foods support pathogens and bacteria that produce endotoxins. These unhealthy gut species increase blood sugar, oxidized cholesterol, and inflammation levels.
Some non-organic foods and “all GMO foods” are damaging, as they contain high levels of the herbicide glyphosate. The World Health Organization (WHO) has labeled glyphosate as a probable carcinogen, meaning it is capable of causing cancer. Furthermore, glyphosate contributes to an overgrowth of harmful bacteria.
We need to mention sugar, as it is hard to maintain a healthy microbiome if you regularly consume large amounts of sugar and sugary foods. This includes processed sugar and sugar from sources such as refined grains and fruits.
That’s because fast-digesting sugar starves beneficial bacteria and feeds pathogenic bacteria and fungi, such as Candida, leading to an overgrowth.
See our video “5 Foods That Cause Gut Inflammation” after you finish watching this video.
One often overlooked source of chemicals is tap water. Depending on where you live, tap water can contain chlorine, fluoride, and aluminum, which alter the composition of your gut microbiome.
Next, avoid chemicals that disrupt your hormones in personal and household products such as plastic bottles, cookware, detergents, fragrances, cosmetics, and other hidden sources.
Also, watch out for exposure to mycotoxins produced by mold in damp and poorly ventilated areas, and even in your food such as grains, coffee beans, nuts, chocolate, and wine.
These chemicals and toxins disrupt the gut microbiome and increase the risk of infection.
Next, we have Number 7. “Balance Stomach Acid”.
If you have low stomach acid, this should be the most important thing for you to address.
This is because low stomach acid makes it difficult for your body to get nutrients from food.
When you have low stomach acid, food stays undigested for longer and this leads to an overgrowth of harmful microbes, resulting in dysbiosis.
So, how do you know you have low stomach acid?
The common symptoms include:
gas and belching, acid reflux,
bloating and cramping,
chronic bad breath, bad body odor,
feeling tired after meals,
feeling full yet still hungry,
weak fingernails, anemia,
and frequent nausea.
You can test for low stomach acid by using baking soda, as explained in our video “5 Ways to Stop Bloating Fast”. Or have your doctor perform a diagnostic test.
Now, for healthy digestion, stomach acid must range from 1.5 to 2.2 pH.
Here are THREE ways to stimulate your body to produce hydrochloric acid (HCL):
One. Chew on a small slice of ginger before a meal, get the juice out of it, and then throw away the remaining pulp.
Two. Add raw apple cider vinegar to your meat and veggies. Or take it with water before meals.
Three. You can supplement with Betaine HCL. This can make a huge difference.
Take it halfway through the meal or at the end, but NOT before the meal.
Also, do NOT take Betaine HCL with NSAIDs.
If you plan to take Betaine HCL for acid reflux, see our video, “3 ways to Stop Acid reflux Naturally”.
When you balance your stomach acid, it can help with food sensitivities.
This is because many food sensitivities result from undigested proteins leaking out of the gut and triggering an immune response.
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Moving on, we have Number 6. “Prebiotics, Probiotics, Fermented Foods”.
You may have been told to eat more fiber to prevent constipation.
Fiber is a prebiotic that feeds your beneficial bacteria, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, or probiotics. In other words, prebiotics is food for the probiotics.
Prebiotics help to curb the growth of harmful bacteria. And also move waste through your digestive tract in a timely manner.
Some excellent high-fiber foods include beans, peas, edamame, lentils, chia seeds, oatmeal, artichokes, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts, and leafy green vegetables.
Many fruits are also high in fiber but also contain lots of sugar. High-fiber fruits that are relatively low in sugar include strawberries, blackberries, grapefruits, avocados, green apples, and oranges.
Now, once you are eating lots of fiber, you can add fermented probiotic foods to your diet.
Probiotic foods improve the good bacteria, so you have a flourishing and diverse microbiome. Some fermented foods that provide a diverse set of bacteria are sauerkraut, kimchi, natto, miso, kefir, gluten-free tempeh, plain yogurt, cottage cheese, and some aged cheeses with live cultures.
When probiotics feed on prebiotics they produce a short-chain fatty acid called butyrate. Butyrate is super important because it is the main fuel for the cells that line the gut, known as “colonocytes”.
Butyrate helps these cells perform their job of nourishing and sealing the gut lining so that it can keep out foreign invaders. Researchers have found that people who live beyond 100 years have higher levels of butyrate and bacteria that produce butyrate.
Next, we have Number 5. “Heal the Intestinal Barrier”.
Healing a leaky gut is one of the most important things you can do to improve your overall health.
Leaky gut occurs when waste products and toxins, food proteins, and bacteria seep through the gut lining and enter the bloodstream due to the “gut microbiome destroyers” we mentioned earlier. This causes your immune system to “misfire” and destroy healthy tissues.
See our video “5 foods that cause inflammation” for a detailed discussion of leaky gut.
Supplements that help repair your intestinal barrier include L-glutamine, vitamin D, vitamin A, and zinc carnosine. Also, sipping on bone broth throughout the day can help.
Moving on, we have Number 4. “Herbal Remedies.”
Herbs that help heal the gut barrier include slippery elm, aloe vera, deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL), and medicinal mushrooms such as Turkey Tail, Reishi, Lion’s mane, and Chaga.
To destroy harmful bacteria in your gut, you can add antimicrobial herbs to your meals.
These herbs include rosemary, oregano, basil, thyme, turmeric, and raw garlic.
Cooked garlic is good, but raw garlic is ten times more effective.
To alleviate gut symptoms such as bloating, constipation, abdominal pain, and heartburn, drink herbal teas such as chamomile, ginger, wormwood, lemon balm, fennel, and peppermint.
In the top 3, we have Number 3. “Eat Real Food.”
By now, you know that gut health equals immune health and overall health.
When you have gut dysbiosis, this damages the absorption structures in your intestines, called villi, thus making it more difficult for your body to get the nutrients it needs.
Now, if you have ongoing digestive issues, such as excess gas, bloating, acid reflux, and constipation, or if you have an autoimmune disease, your immune system is in overdrive and burning through nutrients.
Therefore, it is important to replenish your nutrients by eating antioxidant-rich, real food so that your body can contain inflammation.
You’ll be surprised, that simply eating anti-inflammatory real food, can often be a game-changer for your gut health.
Here’s what real food means:
Food that comes in its whole form, not in a package.
Think of a grass-fed steak with buttered broccoli and sweet potato, NOT a deli-meat sandwich with a bag of chips.
Food that is nutrient dense.
Organ meats and shellfish have the most nutrients, followed by other meats, eggs, seafood, and dairy. Then come properly prepared vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. Nutrient-poor choices include refined grains and virtually all processed foods.
Food that is properly prepared.
For grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, this means soaking and sprouting before eating, to break down phytates and lectins.
For leafy greens such as spinach and kale, this means boiling and steaming to reduce oxalates.
For dairy, this means full-fat, pasture-raised, and fermented dairy.
For bread containing gluten, this means slow-rising, sourdough-leavened varieties.
Food that is properly sourced.
Try to source produce that is organic or from local farms.
Eat meat, dairy, and eggs from pasture-raised animals that are free to move in the sun and eat what they are supposed to eat; for example, cows eating grass instead of corn.
Seafood should be wild-caught whenever possible.
Grains should be non-GMO to ensure they are free of pesticides.
To get your FREE anti-inflammatory diet plan, click the link below at the end of this video.
Next, we have Number 2, “Exercise, Sleep, Manage Stress”.
Stress can cause gastrointestinal problems, such as cramping, bloating, inflammation, and loss of appetite. You may have experienced this yourself.
It can also worsen existing gastrointestinal disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), peptic ulcers, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
When you are stressed, your digestive secretions can slow down or even stop.
Studies show that high levels of stress can negatively alter the composition of the gut microbiome and increase intestinal “leakage”.
Eventually, this can lead to the development of autoimmune diseases such as Graves’ Disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
So, learning to manage your stress is key to maintaining a healthy gut.
Moving your body every day through fun exercises and gentle physical activities is an effective way to reduce stress.
In human studies, exercise has been linked with increases in the number of beneficial microbial species, as well as enriching microbial diversity.
Specifically, there was an increase in the gut microbes that help with the production of the short-chain fatty acid (SCFA), butyrate, we mentioned earlier.
This important nutrient helps to repair the gut lining, reduce inflammation, reduce the risk of bowel diseases, combat obesity and diabetes, and protect the brain.
Other ways to keep stress at bay are meditation, journaling, taking a bath, talking with a friend, deep breathing exercises, and yoga.
Getting 7-9 hours of quality sleep every night is one of the best ways to beat daily stress and improve your gut microbiome.
It is only during sleep, when the body is in fasting mode, that certain species of microbes can clean out the gut and the rest of the body. These microbes also trigger processes to repair cells, thereby preventing disease.
And at Number 1, we have “Diagnostic Testing”.
Do you want to know what your gut health looks like? Testing can help you figure this out.
If you want to get a clear picture of your microbiome makeup, get a stool test or a microbiome mapping (GI-MAP) test.
To figure out your food intolerances or allergies, you can do a food sensitivity test, also known as an Immunoglobulin G (IgG) Blood Test.
And a breath test can determine if Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) is an issue.
Testing is best done by a health professional who can also interpret your results for you.
As always, this video is educational and does not constitute medical advice; we are not doctors.
I hope you enjoyed this video.
Click the link below to get your free anti-inflammatory diet plan.
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