5 tips to keep your gut microbiome healthy | UCLA Health Newsroom
How to Maintain Healthy Gut Bacteria
There are more bacteria living in your gut than cells in your body. When gut bacteria gets out of balance, it may lead to infectious diseases, diabetes, obesity, immune disorders, heart disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s disease, colon cancer, and ulcerative colitis.You can help your body to maintain healthy gut bacteria by paying attention to your body’s signals, eating the right foods, and supplementing with probiotics if necessary.
Determining if You Have Healthy Gut Bacteria
Pay attention to your bowel movements.If you have regular and easy bowel movements, then this is a good indication that your gut bacteria are healthy. If you frequently experience hard, painful bowel movements or if your bowel movements are irregular, then you may be lacking healthy gut bacteria.
Think about how much gas you pass.Gut bacteria produce more gas if they are healthy, so passing gas is a good sign. Many of the foods that help to promote healthy gut bacteria are known as gas-inducing foods, but try not to think of this as a bad thing.
Consider how often you get sick.Healthy gut bacteria also help to promote your immunity to certain illnesses and infections. If you do not get sick with colds and other infections very often, then you may have healthy gut bacteria.
Monitor your weight.You may have healthy gut bacteria if you are at a healthy weight or if you begin to lose weight. Some studies have shown that thinner people tend to have healthier gut bacteria than people who are obese or overweight.
- One study indicated that if you transplant the gut bacteria of a thin mouse into an obese mouse, then the obese mouse will lose weight.
Reflect on your pain levels.You may begin to see various aches and pains subside because of the anti-inflammatory effects of healthy gut bacteria. Think about how often you experience pain in your joints and other areas of your body. If you are relatively pain-free, then you may have healthy gut bacteria.
Incorporate fermented foods into your diet.Fermented foods are especially helpful because they contain prebiotics and probiotics. Try to get 4-6 servings of these foods every week to help promote healthy gut bacteria. These foods include:
- soft cheeses
Increase the amount of fiber in your diet.You can do this by eating whole foods (whole grains) and avoiding processed white foods such as white bread, white rice, and white pasta. Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of fiber as well. Men should consume 38 grams (1.3 oz) of fiber per day, while women should shoot for 25 g per day.
- Increasing your fiber intake can increase gas. However, one study suggests that increasing your fiber intake by even small amounts can be good for your gut bacteria.If you experience excess gas after increasing your fiber intake, try increasing it in smaller increments.
- Make sure to drink plenty of water with your high-fiber diet. This will help keep your stools regular and easy to pass.
Choose foods that support healthy gut bacteria.Some foods contain soluble fiber that healthy bacteria can digest. Eat one type of prebiotic food daily to ensure that you are providing your gut bacteria with enough fuel to grow. Foods that are high in this type of fiber include:
- chicory root
- Jerusalem artichoke
- dandelion greens
- wheat bran
- whole wheat bread
Eat plenty of vegetables.You should eat lots of vegetables every day. Vegetables support the growth of healthy gut bacteria. They contain substances that bacteria use to produce anti-inflammatory substances and may even help prevent cancer. Be sure to include:
- cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and kale
- leafy greens such as spinach, Swiss chard, mustard greens, collard greens, beet greens, and turnip greens
Consume more beans.Beans are a good source of fiber and they also release short-chain fatty acids (SCFA). SCFAs strengthen and support healthy gut bacteria. SCFAs are also good for the lining of your gut and improve nutrient absorption.
- Try to include beans in your diet 3-4 times per week.
Avoid foods that can harm the gut bacteria.Diets high in certain types of foods can harm the gut bacteria and alter the numbers and types of bacteria in the gut. Evidence is growing that this sort of alteration of the gut bacteria, often called dysbiosis, may lead to all sorts of health issues.Many of these foods also increase your risk of other health issues, such as heart attack or cancer. Foods to avoid include:
- animal fat
- antibiotic-fed meat and poultry
- processed and packaged foods that include additives, preservatives and sugar
Keep in mind that probiotics are not necessary in most situations.You can get plenty of probiotics from the foods that you eat, as long as you make good food choices. If you are unable to eat certain foods or if you are concerned that you are not getting enough probiotics from food, then you may want to consider a probiotic supplement.
- Make sure to discuss taking probiotics with your doctor if you are on any medications or if you are being treated for something.
Check the label for other important information.Make sure that you check the label for important information and also look for a “USP Verified” seal on the bottle. The USP seal indicates that a non-profit lab, the USP, has checked the product and found that the bacteria and other ingredients listed on the label is what is in the bottle. Some other things to look for include:
- company name and contact information
- the recommended dose
- strain, genus, and species of the probiotic
- expiration date that also mentions how many organisms will be alive by that date
Take probiotic supplements as directed.Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the supplements that you are taking. You can also ask your physician for advice. Since it may take a while for your body to balance out the bacteria after you finish a round of antibiotics, it is a good idea to use probiotics for a month after you are finished taking the antibiotics.
- If you are having digestion problems or other symptoms that are interfering with your daily life, talk to your doctor to make sure that these are not signs of a more serious condition.
Video: Gut bacteria and weight loss: Mayo Clinic Radio
How to Lower Estrogen in Men
How to Get a Private Pilots License (General)
10 Apps That Will Boost Your Sex Life
How to Install RTA Cabinets
25-Minute Abs and Cardio Workout Video
How to Change Fuses in a Car
Water Exercise Eases Arthritis Pain
More Than Half Of Cancer Deaths Can Be Prevented, Finds A New Report
The Hottest Summer Nail Colors You Need to Try ASAP
How to Behave on YouTube
Flax Meal Peanut Butter Hot Cereal