Have you ever thought that the gut is actually an incredibly important barrier between your body and the outside world? What we consume every day has been outside of our body, probably contracting with bacteria that is invisible to our naked eye. Your gut is a huge player in the immune system, because it’s the first line of defense between you and anything dangerous you happen to swallow; that’s why you don’t always get sick even if you swallow some bacteria in your food. So then, you wonder, what are the thing you can do to keep it functioning well? We listed 6 simple steps you can do to improve your gut flora.
1. Chew your food properly
This is the simplest thing that you can do to work your way for a better gut flora. Chewing process, biologically known as mastication, is the first step in your digestive process. It breaks your food down from large particles into smaller particles that are more easily digested. The process mashes your food into small pieces and partially liquefies it, making it easier for your intestines to absorb nutrients from the food particles as they pass through.
Chewing properly allows your stomach to work more efficiently and break down your food faster. Chewing also stimulates the production of enzymes in your saliva, like lingual lipase to help break down fats. Saliva also helps to lubricate your food so it's easier on your esophagus.
2. Add ginger in your diets
At Herbana, we believe that simple herbs like ginger does wonders for the body. It is perhaps most noted for its calming effects on the stomach, and its ability to ease symptoms of nausea and vomiting. Ginger has also been used to help with indigestion and constipation, since it relaxes the stomach and soothes acidic levels inside.
As an antibacterial, it is particularly helpful in treating some types of diarrhea, intestinal infections and ulcers. Most importantly, ginger scores high marks as a digestive aid: it kills the harmful bacteria in the stomach and intestines that could disrupt the balance of beneficial flora in the gastrointestinal tract.
3. Consume probiotic-rich foods
Probiotic is actually already being produced inside our body. Often times, what we eat is actually killing the production of it unknowingly. Foods loaded with sugar, for example, will most likely create an environment inside our body where probiotics couldn't thrive in.
Getting good, high-quality fiber in your diet can actually cause probiotics to increase in your body. And the best type of fiber is soluble fiber, like oats, chia seeds and flaxseeds. Along with that, organic fruits and vegetables are a great option. High-fiber diet consisting of these foods fuel the production of probiotics.
4. Consume fermented foods on a constant basis
Studies show that fermented foods might improve digestive health. In fermentation, whether for yogurt or beer, bacteria or yeast feed on the natural sugars in foods. These microorganisms create compounds such as lactic acid or alcohol, which help preserve the foods. The fermented foods also wind up filled with friendly bacteria such as those touted in probiotic products, as well as helpful enzymes. The bacteria predigest certain food components, making them easier for your gut to handle and for nutrients to be absorbed when you eat them.
Because the gut is the largest component of your immune system, introducing friendly bacteria into your digestive system may also help keep illness away. Keeping your gut healthy could help avoid inflammation, allergies and autoimmune disorders in the body as a whole.
5. Adding turmeric to your diet
Research have shown that turmeric calms upper digestive system by getting rid of gas. It is also known to help increase intestinal absorption and promote healehy bacteria in your intestines. Turmeric also helps in releasing bile by stimulating the gallbladder, which is believed to play an important role in digestion and absorption of fats and fat-soluble vitamins in our small intestine.
6. Avoid over-consumption of antibiotics
Usually, doctor will prescribe us a specific dose of antibiotics to fight infections. It is proven to be effective in doing so, but its usage in the long run can be detrimental to the growth of good bacteria inside our system. Antibiotic drugs are not selective in choosing which bacteria to kill. Most likely, all the good bacterial colonies in the gut die along with the bad ones.
However, if you really need to take antibiotics, refer to these foods to restore a healthy gut flora. Servings of fermented dairy and cultured vegetables like yogurt, kefir, kim-chi and sauerkraut, during and after antibiotics is advisable. Also, homemade meat stocks and bone broths daily with abundant vegetables are also beneficial to restore good bacteria in the gut.
7. Lower your stress levels
Research shows that stress can negatively affect the good bacteria in your gut, while subpar gut health can also affect the wellness of your entire system. A number of health issues can occur when good bacteria are weakened or damaged due to stress.
Fortunately, stress is manageable and the production of healthy bacteria can be controlled, as long as you are willing take daily action to improve microbial health while we work to reduce our stress levels, we might be able to find the right answers to living, looking, and feeling our best.