Are you feeling sluggish? Do you feel like you’re physically and mentally lagging? If you are, it may mean your gut health could do with some improvements. Eating junk food, irregular exercise, and a general poor lifestyle can leave your gut health in peril. And if your gut health isn’t doing very well, your entire body will feel it.

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Improving and maintaining good gut health will help you feel better, decrease the risk and symptoms of associated health complications and keep you at your physical and mental best. With that being said, let’s break down what exactly gut health entails and the ways we can improve it. 

Signs of Poor Gut Health

Gut Health

Identifying poor gut health can be hard to do when you are sick or are suffering from an existing health complication. However, here are a few signs that may indicate that your gut health is a concern or in poor shape:

  • Upset Stomach – If you notice that you often experience bloating, frequent passing of gas, constipation, diarrhoea, and heartburn can all be signs of an unhealthy gut. 
  • Uncontrollable Changes in Weight – Unhealthy guts can often lead to weight gain and weight loss without intentional dieting or exercise. This is usually caused by an imbalanced gut that has difficulty with absorbing nutrients and processing food. 
  • A High-Sugar Diet – eating excess sugar can decrease the good bacteria in your stomach, making it susceptible to inflammation and can lead to stomach aches, poor mental health, and sleep difficulties.
  • Poor Sleeping Habits – As serotonin, the hormone that makes you feel mentally and physically better is produced from the gut, when the production of serotonin is impaired, it will lead to sleep disturbances.
  • Skin Irritation – certain conditions related to the skin, including rashes and eczema, have often been linked with poor gut health. 
  • Food Intolerances – Food intolerances can occur when certain foods are difficult to digest by the stomach. This can be caused by the poor quality of bacteria in the gut. This can also lead to an upset stomach, including bloating, constipation and becoming gassy. 

Ways to Improve Your Gut Health

1. Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise will help you maintain a healthy weight and improve your cardiovascular health. By maintaining a healthy weight and maintaining good physical shape, your gut health will also benefit in turn. 

2. Control and Minimize Your Sugar Intake

Sugars, artificial sweeteners, and additives can kill the healthy bacteria in your gut that is used for digesting foods. Refined sugars such as high-fructose and corn syrup can promote inflammation in the gut. Minimize your intake at all costs.

Excess sugar can also make you gain weight and spike your blood sugar levels. By minimizing it or reducing it, not only will your gut health benefit, so will the rest of your body along with other aspects of your health.

3. Take Probiotics and Eat Fermented Foods

Many fermented foods contain great amounts of probiotics. Probiotics are also an excellent supplement to take to improve gut health. Probiotics are great for improving gut health as they can boost the number of healthy bacteria in your gut, helping you digest food better as well as making you feel physically better.

If you struggle to eat foods that are high in probiotics, supplements are also available in chemists and health stores. Fermented foods that are high in probiotics include:

  • Kimchi
  • Fermented vegetables
  • Miso
  • Kombucha
  • Herbal teas
  • Kefir
  • Sauerkraut

4. Reduce Stress

Stress can actually take a heavy toll on your physical health, and your gut will also pay for it. Being able to manage stress and relax when necessary won’t just improve your mental health, but will also enhance your physical and gut health.

Stress and management techniques can certainly help, including yoga, meditation, hobby’s to help you relax, as well as physical activity. Practising your breathing and taking a few minutes every day to remove yourself from things that may be stressing, you can also have immediate relief of pressure for your gut. 

5. Eat Prebiotic Fibre

Prebiotic fibres can also improve your gut health. Probiotics will feed off of nondigestible carbohydrates known as prebiotic fibre. When you have more if it in your gut, your gut feels more at ease and encourages the production of healthy bacterias. Prebiotic foods you can consider trying include asparagus, garlic, onions, whole-grains, and bananas.

Probiotics feed on nondigestible carbohydrates called prebiotics. This process encourages beneficial bacteria to multiply in the gut.

6. Cut Down Unnecessary Antibiotics

Many people use antibiotics to heal or provide relief from common sicknesses; however, many people do overdo it and take more than they need. This will increase antibiotic resistance, making them useless in the process.

Antibiotic resistance will damage the gut microbiota and the immune system. As an alternative, look for natural remedies and avoid taking too many antibiotics. Speak with your doctor in regards to how to use antibiotics based on your personal needs.

7. Avoid Smoking

Smoking is extremely common in most adults in the UAE; however, it’s absolutely integral that people understand its effects on health. Smoking will damage almost all the organs in your body, your gut included.

Smoking will kill the healthy bacteria in your gut and promote the growth of bad ones that can cause inflammation in the gut as well as bowel disease. Reduce your smoking or cut it out completely. There are many support lines you can use in the UAE to help you quit. 

Head over to the Okadoc app to immediately book an appointment with your health practitioner.