A remarkably high number of women—100 million—suffer from gut health issues. Despite its prevalence, this subject isn’t often talked about or addressed. Many women go through their daily lives suffering from symptoms like bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and discomfort after eating.
While we often blame this continuous discomfort exclusively on diet, it can actually be caused by a variety of factors like medications (specifically antibiotics), inflammatory foods, stress, sleep habits, and even the trace chemicals found in our food and water (like the pesticides used for produce).
So, what can you do to improve your gut health and get rid of that constant stomach-ache? Although there is not one solution, there are plenty of easy changes that can be made in your daily routine to improve your gut health.
Improve the gut microbiota. Your gut is host to a large and diverse population of microorganisms that dictate how your whole body and stomach feels. This community of microorganisms is called the gut microbiota. To relieve bloating or stomach issues, you first must ensure that your gut microbiota is happy and healthy.
An easy way to accomplish this is to take probiotic supplements, specifically probiotics with the bacteria species Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria. These are species of good bacteria that are known to improve the gut microbiota.
- Reduce high levels of stress. Especially after a long day of work, this may seem like an impossible task, but taking a few moments to intentionally breathe and relax can make a huge difference. Allowing stress to persist in every moment of your day can take a huge toll on your body, even your gut. So, even if it’s just a few minutes a day, making room for some “me time" is an easy step that will improve your gut health.
- Stick to a sleep schedule. The gut-brain connection has been shown to be more important than previously thought. Getting a good night’s sleep (nearly) every day of the week improves gut health and overall physical wellbeing. Setting a comfortable and healthy time to go to bed and wake up each morning will help your body relax into a routine and increase the amount of “good sleep” that you get each night.
- Stay active. Raising your heart rate and staying active, in any shape or form, has been shown to be incredibly beneficial for gut health. Exercise induces the release of butyrate, which is a fatty acid that promotes the repair of the gut lining and reduces inflammation. It also has been shown to increase the good bacteria in your microbiota, such as Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, Roseburia hominis, and Akkermansia muciniphila. Taking just twenty minutes out of your day to swim, do yoga, take a walk, or ride a bike can drastically improve your gut health and promote growth of good bacteria in your microbiota.
- Maintain a healthy diet. As you may know, the food you eat plays a significant role in your gut health. Load up on prebiotic-rich foods like veggies, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, and probiotic-rich foods like miso, kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, and kimchi. If possible, try to make the switch to organic produce to avoid unwanted pesticides and chemicals.
All these steps are simple changes that can help to reduce the bothersome symptoms of an unhealthy gut and will have an overall positive effect on your wellbeing and daily life.
The material provided is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the diagnosis or treatment by a qualified healthcare professional. You should always seek medical advice before consuming any new medicines or supplements.