Frank Salvatore
Health and Lifestyle

Improving Your Gut Health

February 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

While many people make the New Year’s resolution to get healthier, only a handful of people actually follow through. Studies have shown that fewer than 10% of people carry out their health goals. So how do these successful people pull it off? There are a few tricks and tips to remember if you want to be among the few who succeed.

Make Specific Goals

By making specific goals, you will be able to measure your progress and forecast your future weight loss according to your schedule. This also means that your goals need to be reasonable and achievable so you are not setting yourself up for failure. Making a commitment to changing your health habits will improve your gut microbiome, which is important to many aspects of your health, including bowel movements, decreasing your risk for cancer, depression, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes.

Improving Your Gut

Research has proven that your gut plays a critical role in your overall health, and has actually been referred to as the body’s second brain. Restoring the health of your gut microbiome can help you lose weight while gaining health and wellness.

The immune system works by responding to anything that it finds foreign, which creates injuries to the cells as well as inflammation. Restoring your gut will help your body fight foreign substances, therefore decreasing inflammation as well.

Short-term inflammation is common, due to a scraped knee or a bee sting, but chronic, systemic inflammation makes the body have a different response, leading to serious diseases such as neurological degeneration, diabetes, and heart disease. It can also have an effect on one’s emotions, mood, anxiety, and allergies.

The Origin of the Gut

Your gut microbiome starts to create its own diversity and homeostasis when you are a newborn. It is largely affected by genetics, but also has environmental factors that come into play.

As you age, your diet is what greatly affects your gut microbiome, along with your exposure to toxins and your hygiene. Consuming a large amount of sugar and processed foods has a negative effect on your gut, and therefore your overall health.

Studies have found that improving your eating habits can positively change the diversity of the bacteria in the gut, which will then affect your body’s responses when you start dieting or have nutritional interventions.

Improving Your Diet Causes Constant Improvement in Your Gut

Studies have been done on eating habits that look at the fecal microbiota of people who eat an unrestricted diet versus those who eat a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables. People who ate a plant-based diet had more microbiomes than those who ate processed foods. Studies have also shown that a diverse microbiome can actually be contagious. Spouses develop microbial communities that mimic each other.

Your Unique Gut Bacteria

A diet rich in fiber is an effective way to support bacterial growth and help prevent chronic inflammation. Because it is not digested by the body, fiber plays an important role in creating your gut bacteria. While soluble fiber may suppress your appetite, insoluble fiber aids in proper digestion and healthy bowel movements. Fruits and vegetables are rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber. The good bacteria in your gut thrives on insoluble fiber, extracting energy, vitamins, and minerals from the fiber.

The flora in your gut stays contained in that area of your body, however, it has a large influence on your overall health. The uniqueness of each person’s gut microbiome has been studied to see just how much it can vary. Studies were performed on people who were suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome.

The study showed that people who have chronic fatigue syndrome have a much lower microbial diversity as opposed to healthy people. People with chronic fatigue syndrome also had more inflammation in their blood, suggesting that bacteria from the gut migrates to the bloodstream.

The Role of Vitamin D

Vitamin D also plays a huge role in maintaining proper health. Adequate levels of vitamin D have a great impact on the development of cancers, heart disease, infections, and autoimmune diseases. A deficiency in vitamin D has been linked to an imbalance of microbial levels in the gut.

Constipation, gas, and chronic diarrhea are all associated with an abundance of bad gut bacteria. Vitamin D deficiency inhibits the production of anti-microbial molecules that your body uses to maintain gut health.

Research continues to show that vitamin D plays a large role in preventing diseases and maintaining proper health. Vitamin D affects nearly 10% of all of the genes in your body and can cut down your risk of developing cancer by up to 60%. Keeping your vitamin D levels high can help prevent cancers such as pancreatic, ovarian, lung, prostate and skin.

Improved Gut Microbiome Can Help With Weight Loss

The community of bacteria in your gut has a large influence on your ability to lose weight. Many people who are successful losing weight gain it back, and possibly even more weight than where they started. This phenomenon has been proven with studies on mice who were fed to the point of obesity, returned to a normal diet, and then given the high-fat foods once again.

After going on the diet, the obese mice that returned to their starting weight also returned to their normal levels of cholesterol, blood glucose, and insulin. However, further examination showed that their gut microbiome did not fully return to its pre-obese state.

The gut microbiome decreases in diversity after gaining weight. Researchers concluded that this change in gut bacteria was why the animals experienced rapid weight gain after returning to a high-fat diet.

How to Improve Your Gut Microbiome

Eating fermented foods is the easiest, best, and least expensive way to improve your gut microbiome. Fermented foods have several health benefits aside from promoting gut health as well. Fermented milk contains a non-digestible carbohydrate that acts as a prebiotic, and provides essential amino acids.

Your diet is something that you have full control over that is the most effective way to optimize your microbiome, so take advantage of that control and put yourself into great health.

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Frank Salvatore