Your Health: Improving gut health

"Basically, there's a chemical warfare that occurs between the good and bad guy bacteria."
Published: Apr. 19, 2023 at 5:19 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Your gut contains trillions of bacteria that are important for your overall health and well-being and some that aren’t.

Did you know the bacteria living in your gut affect your sleep, weight, digestion, cancer risk, mental health, and other important functions?

Bruce Stevens, Prof., University of Florida explains “this bacteria kind of steers our physiology, steers our basic health.” Experts call this gut bacteria your microbiome, and a balanced microbiome is a healthy one. “Basically, there’s a chemical warfare that occurs between the good and bad guy bacteria.”

There are some simple ways to boost your gut health. First, eat a diverse diet that includes a variety of whole, nutrient-rich foods.

Try consuming more fermented products like yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir, or kombucha. They contain probiotics that help your gut balance itself. Also, drink coffee. That cup of joe has prebiotics, which are special plant fibers that help healthy bacteria grow in the gut.

Get enough soluble fiber. It’s found in foods like oats, legumes, and fruit.

Limit your use of antibiotics because they can wipe out healthy bacteria along with bad bacteria.

Exercise can also boost the growth of a variety of gut bacteria. But there is research that has shown exposure to blue light before bed may have a negative impact on your sleep, which could affect the balance of bacteria in your gut. You might want to try blue light-blocking glasses to help you wind down and sleep better.

Studies show the more diverse your diet is, the more diverse your gut bacteria is. And what you eat can impact your gut within 24 hours.

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