In recent years, research has revealed how important gut health is to a healthy body. The state of your gut can impact more than just metabolism. It can influence your immune system, nervous system, mental health, skin, and more.

4 Tips for Healing Your Gut and a Healthier Digestive System
Boost gut health with these effective tips! - Shutterstock Images

A healthy gut is central to overall well-being, underscoring the need to pay attention to this often-overlooked aspect of health. Here’s what you need to know to prioritize gut health and four essential tips to improve your digestive system.

Why Is Gut Health So Important?

The term “gut” refers to a microscopic ecosystem or “microbiome” within the digestive system. This is filled with trillions of microorganisms, such as bacteria and fungi. Even viruses and parasites are present.

These tiny, symbiotic organisms initially populate your gut microbiome at birth and continue to evolve over time. They maintain a delicate balance within your digestive system and perform key functions.

The most obvious of these is breaking down food. However, recent studies have also shown that 70-80% of immune cells are located in the gut. There are also connections to other areas of the body, such as hormone production and cognitive function[1].

The gut microbiome is both complex and profoundly important to overall health. When your gut microbiome is thrown off, it can contribute to infections, allergies, obesity, anxiety and depression, and even severe conditions, such as multiple sclerosis and diabetes.

Tips for a Healthier Digestive System

The value of a healthy gut is just beginning to be understood, and new research will continue to shed light on this critical area of health. Regardless of the specifics and whatever else is discovered in the future, the evidence is becoming irrefutably clear on one crucial point: You want to maintain a healthy digestive system.

It’s never too early to begin adjusting habits and cultivating a cleaner gut microbiome. With that in mind, here are a few tips to help you strengthen and maintain a healthier gut.

Tips for a Healthier Digestive System

Tips for a Healthier Digestive System

1. Maintain Consistent Bowel Movements With Fiber

A good digestive system is an active digestive system. You want to have consistent bowel movements to keep your gut microbiome running smoothly.

The average person defecates at least a few times a week. But if it is a daily activity for you, that’s fine, too. Just make sure your bowel movements are soft and easy to pass.

A high-fiber diet is the best way to maintain consistency here, so eating fiber-rich foods, like fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds is very important.

2. Restock on Digestive Nutrients Regularly

Your gut directly benefits from a healthy diet. There are also many gut-friendly dietary food choices you can make to support your gut.

Starting your day with clean, probiotic-rich yogurt is a common activity. Apple skins are a good source of prebiotics. As already touched on above, fruits, nuts, and legumes are rich in fiber (and help keep you regular).

There are also many products that specifically target gut health. One example is a greens powder drink that contains natural ingredients consisting of prebiotics, fiber, enzymes, and other supportive ingredients. This is an easy way to incorporate gut health into your daily routine.

3. Hydrate Well Throughout Each Day

Water doesn’t just keep you alive and well. It is also a crucial part of a healthy digestive system. While this is still an area of new research, studies have found that drinking water significantly impacts the composition of one’s gut microbiome[2].

Make sure you’re drinking water throughout the day. A good rule to follow is the 8-cups a day method.

However, if you want to be sure you’re hydrating thoroughly, there are several resources online. For example, Camelbak has an excellent hydration calculator that considers factors such as gender, height, weight, and age to give you an approximate number for daily consumption.

4. Address the Stress

Stress is connected to your gut. Things like anxiety and depression can profoundly influence your digestive system’s microbiota.

One study[3] found that stress has the potential to, among other things:

  • Decrease gastrointestinal motility (bowel movements)
  • Increase visceral perception (the degree to which you feel stomach aches and similar pains)
  • Negatively impact gastrointestinal secretion and the regeneration of mucosa and mucosal blood flow (both of which impact digestional functionality)

This leads to conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and gastroesophageal reflux disease. The study also simply stated that stress has “negative effects on intestinal microbiota.”

If you want to maintain a healthy gut biome, take steps to address your stress. Use breathing exercises, take breaks, practice gratitude, and otherwise find ways to calm your mind and gut.

Prioritize Your Gut Health

Your gut is the center not just of digestive health but of bodily health. While we’re still learning about all of the ways your gut influences your body, it’s clear that healing your gut can only yield positive benefits.

By following the tips outlined above, you can take steps to support your gut health. Whether it’s through dietary changes, probiotic supplementation, or stress management techniques, these actions can significantly improve your health and enhance your quality of life.

Embracing a gut-friendly lifestyle is a powerful investment in your overall well-being, paving the way for better health and a brighter future.

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3 Sources

We review published medical research in respected scientific journals to arrive at our conclusions about a product or health topic. This ensures the highest standard of scientific accuracy.

[1] The Interplay between the Gut Microbiome and the Immune System in the Context of Infectious Diseases throughout Life and the Role of Nutrition in Optimizing Treatment Strategies : https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8001875/
[2] Drinking Water Source and Intake Are Associated with Distinct Gut Microbiota Signatures in US and UK Populations : https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34642755/
[3] Stress and the gut: pathophysiology, clinical consequences, diagnostic approach and treatment options : https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22314561/
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Katie Whetstone, RD

Katie Whetstone is a Registered Dietitian with a plant-based approach. Her interests include clinical practice, mental health, sports,