Do you practice these simple everyday habits to improve gut health? Everyday simple lifestyle habit can determine the health of your gut. And practicing unhealthy habits can also lead to unhealthy leaky gut and chronic illnesses. Are your everyday habits causing your leaky gut?
Maybe you have wondered whether your gut is healthy enough and may have questions such as:
- What can you do to maintain a healthy gut?
- Or how can good bacteria help keep a gut healthy?
- And even more important, what can you do to get healthy gut bacteria?
- Perhaps even you may be asking, what do you need to know about gut health?
Why is it so important to have a healthy gut?
Hippocrates once said that all disease begins in the gut. And he was right. So that is one big reason to want a healthy gut. It is true that once you have a sick gut or a leaky gut, you are going to have many various illnesses long term.
When the gut gets inflamed and leaky, vital nutrients are not well processed and absorbed.
Plus a leaky gut allows things in the bloodstream that have no business being there. Things like toxins, food particles, and even bacteria. Also, the gut does so much more than just digest and process food.
The gut also produces hormones, some neurotransmitters like serotonin, intrinsic factors, and more.
The gut is also your second brain with its very own enteric nervous system. So all these important functions get messed up when the gut is unhealthy. And the result is a chronic disease.
But first, what is a leaky gut?
A leaky gut simply means that the lining of the intestinal tract is worn out, and thin. It has become permeable to stuff other than nutrients. And large molecules, food, bacteria, and toxins are leaking into the bloodstream.
When that happens, inflammation occurs. Infections can result, and other metabolic functions are disturbed.
What causes a leaky gut?
There are many things that can cause a leaky gut including medications, and many lifestyle factors.
Of these, lifestyle habits are what we have great control of. So focusing on changing our habits to avoid or reverse leaky gut is the best place to start.
What happens when you have a leaky or unhealthy gut?
The most common problems that result from poor gut health include gastrointestinal illnesses such as inflammatory bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis, and constipation. You may also experience conditions such as:
- Chronic fatigue
- Skin issues including rashes such as eczema, acne
- Joint pain
- Constipation and diarrhea
- Autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s
- Hashimoto’s, lupus, celiac, rheumatoid arthritis, Multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s, celiac
- Hormonal imbalance
- Weight gain
- Candida overgrowth
- Immune dysfunction
- Diabetes and heart disease
- Chronic pain
Related post: symptoms of leaky gut in this post
What are the benefits of having a healthy gut?
You may feel lighter, happier, have more energy, sleep well, lose weight. Who wouldn’t want all of this? Beautiful radiant skin, more friends! Okay, maybe not more friends.
But it can happen. If you are less crabby because you are not as constipated or gassy or having some weird pain, you will be more outgoing and when you are outgoing people like you more and so you make more friends. A bit far-fetched?
Well, perhaps but there is some truth there. It can totally happen.
How to reset and heal the gut with simple everyday habits
So here are the best habits for a healthy gut.
Calm down and reduce stress
Does it feel like we are always running around hurrying to go to work? Modern life is full of stressors. It seems the more we develop and have so many inventions that are supposed to make life easy, the more we get stressed. Take cell phones, and the internet for example.
Now we are so connected, and while that’s good, it also is stressful. We are constantly checking our phones feeling kike we are missing something.
And if we should misplace the phone we go into s flight or fight mode. As moms, we have responsibilities that stretch us too thin at times. And this can be very difficult when you have little ones. The whole day can be a stressor because there is a lot to do.
You must get ready in the morning, get your children to school, and then try to rush through traffic across town to your day job. And later, you need to rash back to pick up the kids, take them to activities, come home to make dinner, and… It is all so stressful.
Sometimes you have a stressful job, and the list of stressors is at times pretty long.
Stress is unhealthy and leads to health problems including affecting the health of your gut. You may think that stress will only affect your mental health.
But the gut and the brain are in constant communication, and a stressful situation affects the gut. If you have ever felt butterflies when there is something you are dreading, you know this is true. Or have you ever had loose stools when you are expecting a scary situation? It happens.
Chronic stress then leads to a leaky gut. Keep in mind that the constant stress also diverts blood flow from your gut as well to other organs such as your heart and muscles in preparation to do battle, that really is never going to happen.
This is supposed to be a protective thing that is useful if you have to run away from a wild beast, or need to physically fight an enemy and such.
And so while some things can’t be changed some can, and others can be improved.
To avoid chronic stress try to simplify your life so your to-do list is a little bit manageable. Plan and have systems in place that will help life be a bit less chaotic so you down feel frantic. Try mindful practices like yoga and meditation to calm your mind.
Incorporate routines in your life. It is good to have a morning and nighttime routine to improve your life and decrease stress. This will improve your gut health, your mental health, and other areas of your health.
To have a healthy gut, you need to have the habit of staying hydrated.
It amazes me when people say they hate water. But whatever you drink it needs to be healthy and sugar-free and chemical-free. Don’t poison your gut with a sugary sludge that only contributes to a leaky gut.
Bad bacteria love sugar and the more they eat the more they multiply killing good gut bacteria. As well.
Your body needs water to process all the functions necessary for health. You need water to help in digestion and waste removal.
The longer waste stays in the colon, the worse it is. It creates things like diverticulosis, then diverticulitis. When diverticulitis happens, then you are in trouble. That can lead to a leaky gut as infections of the gut inflame the colon. Eventually, colon resection may be necessary.
Drinking water can help you avoid such a situation. You should be drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day. Sometimes is advised to drink at least half your weight in ounces daily.
This good health staple affects all your health.
Yes, even the health of your gut. You may wonder, what do exercise and movement have to do with gut health?
Did you know exercise improves gut health, especially with gut motility? When you lay around or sit too much your bowels get lazy and stuff sits in the gut too long. That is bad for gut health
It can lead to stools that are too dry and hard to pass and even issues like diverticulitis and gut inflammation and infection. So exercise to improve bowel movement and have a clean healthy gut.
You don’t have to run a marathon. You can just take a brisk walk every day. You can follow along with a video in your living room or even stretch with some yoga. You will improve your gut, as well as all of you.
Avoid sugary foods
The bad bacterial loves sugar. And the more you eat sugar the more they grow and the more they want. In fact so much so that research is pointing to the fact that bad bacteria can actually influence your cravings for sugary food. Now that is scary.
The more bad bacteria you have the more gut inflammation happens to cause leaky gut and ensuing discomfort and health issues.
If you find it hard to cut out sugary foods, try replacing them slowly, and eventually, you will stop craving them.
Avoid simple carbs
The problem with simple carbs is that they really are just sugar in disguise. And they don’t have much nutritional value. These include cookies, white bread, and crackers.
Also, many of these foods are cooked with omega 6 oils which are inflammatory. Plus, since these foods don’t have much fiber, they cause constipation and compound the problem.
The problem is that in today’s world food has changed. We are eating so much food that is not right. It is inflammatory.
Be careful about dairy
Some people cannot process dairy and consuming dairy leads to inflammation when you are lactose intolerant. Substitute dairy products to calm inflammation that leads to a leaky gut. It has also been found that too much-processed dairy can also cause gut dysbiosis.
If you are experiencing stomach pain, discomfort, and even symptoms of a leaky gut like eczema, or diarrhea, try cutting out dairy and substituting with plant-based milk. That may calm the leaky gut.
Avoid gluten foods
When you have gluten sensitivities, eating gluten food will lead to increased gut inflammation and permeability which leads to a leaky gut. Unfortunately, today farming practices have changed many food sources including wheat.
Today’s wheat has different proteins that cause more inflammation by causing an immune reaction or allergic reaction.
Eat more fiber
Eat more fermented foods. Some gut problems such as constipation and diverticulosis develop due to slow gut movement. The bowels get sluggish and don’t move waste out. In diverticulosis, waste material gets stuck in pockets that form in the big intestines.
This causes inflammation and eventually infection-diverticulitis. Sometimes the infection is so bad that part of the bowels dies and then a resection has to be done and may require a colostomy( a bag that one wears to act as the last part of the bowel where stool comes out).
Constipation is also a problem of not eating fiber, and also of dehydration. When you eat too much cheese, white bread, and other simple carbs, you will not enough fiber to clean out the bowels.
You need fiber to bulk up the waste and remove waste. So try to eat more fiber foods like leafy greens, fruits, and certain seeds like chia seeds.
And fiber-full foods also help your gut by feeding the good bacteria because these are prebiotic foods, the precursor to probiotics. So load up on those greens and other veggies, fruits like bananas, and your gut will be happy.
Sleep does so much more than many people know. Sleep is vital to overall health and it is during sleep that cells are repaired, memories are consolidated, and the brain basically takes out its trash during sleep.
But how does sleep affect your gut? Mainly lack of stress causes the body stress. Cortisol levels rise and this stress causes cells that line the gut to become more permeable, causing a leaky gut.
Also, it is during sleep that melatonin is produced. Melatonins are thought of as a sleep hormone. But newer research is indicating that melatonin does so much more and in fact, can and does influence gut health. You see according to new research there are two types of melatonin.
One is produced by the pineal gland and has a more circadian influence but there is also enteric melatonin that is produced in the gt and greatly influences gut health.
This melatonin also acts as an antioxidant and curbs gut inflammation and ulceration of the gut lining, as well as increasing gut motility.
Plus, the gut and your body follow a circadian rhythm. And research has found that irregular sleep patterns, tend to cause a dysregulation of the gut microbiome and metabolic changes that lead to insulin insensitivity and obesity. These are also factors associated with a leaky gut.
Basically developing good sleep hygiene is essential for gut health.
Here are great tips on how to ensure you get good sleep every night.
Related: Simple Calming Nightly Routine for Anxiety
Drink alcohol in moderation
The gut is important for nutrient absorption into the bloodstream. Therefore it is supposed to be permeable enough to allow only nutrients into the bloodstream nut sealed enough to keep toxins and food particles out of the bloodstream. This happens through a wall of cells called the tight junctions.
But toxins like alcohol wear off these cells, and the tight junctions widen and become permeable or leaky. This allows toxins, bacteria, and food particles into the bloodstream, causing inflammation.
As mentioned earlier, so many health conditions can then follow, including IBS, Crohn’s, arthritis, and even depression and anxiety.
Additionally, chronic heavy drinking can kill good bacteria, causing an imbalance in the gut flora. The health of the gut depends on a well-controlled microbiome, and gut ecosystem.
Keep in mind that too much alcohol can also lead to liver disease and pancreatitis.
These organs are linked closely to the gut and when they get inflamed eventually the gut will get sick too.
Eat fermented foods.
Develop a habit of eating fermented foods if you are not doing so already. Foods like yogurt( avoid sugary yogurt), tempeh, saurkraut, and kimchi are loaded with probiotics- the good bacteria that keep your gut healthy.
The more of these good guys you have the less likely you are to have the bad bacteria and other toxins like yeast/ candida that cause leaky gut.
Avoid certain medications if you can
Medications such as antibiotics and NSAIDs can cause a leaky gut. First, antibiotics kill all the bacteria in the gut, even the goods ones.
That leads to excessive growth of yeast and SBO. These are bad for the gut. Second, the NSAIDS used regularly, or destroy the lining of the gut and leaky gut.
In fact, per an article in Holtorf Medical group, using NSAIDs like Ibuprofen, Aleve, and Aspirin impairs the gut within as little as 24 hours after use.
And there you have it. Changing your habits and keeping habits that support your gut can prevent leaky gut. And having a healthy gut has so many benefits including preventing many chronic problems caused by gut inflammation.
Do you suspect you may have a leaky gut? Start changing your habits now for improved gut health.