Improve your gut health with these doctor-recommended tricks

Your gut health can be kept in check with these simple and effective food and lifestyle tips suggested by a doctor.
A woman measuring her stomach
Acai bowls are great for your digestion. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Lovleena Nadir Updated: 29 May 2022, 07:55 pm IST
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Gut health is the key to long term good health. It is important to address one’s digestive health, today as more and more people are suffering from gaseous distension, bloating, abdominal pain, heartburn, diarrhoea and constipation.

Factors contributing to poor digestive health are:

* Age
* Altered Meal timings
* Consumption of processed foods and sugars
* Sedentary and inactive lifestyles

Modern diets and medications and their effect on human microbiome

Microbiome is a stable community of close to 14 trillion bacteria in and on our bodies. Humans have 23000 genes that determine the cellular function in combination with approximately a million genes from over 1000 species of bacteria in our microbiome.

Microbiome varies in different people and everyone posses their own particular microbiome depending on the diet they consume. Healthy microbiome supports healthy immune function and metabolism.

dieting and gut health
Diet with care. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

How to improve gut health

Improvement in gut health or digestive health can be undertaken by’

1. Plant-based diet

Switching to a plant-based diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds and by limiting processed foods and animal origin products.

2. Probiotics

These can be a beneficial addition to a healthy diet and lifestyle choices for good gut health. Probiotics assist body’s naturally occurring gut microbiota. These living microorganisms, including certain bacteria and yeasts administered in adequate quantities, will help improve gut health, reduce bloating as well as help regulate bowel movement. Probiotics are found in yogurt, dietary supplements and fermented foods like kimchi, kefir, kombucha, miso, temphe, pickles and sourdough bread.

Many dishes in the south Indian cuisine are rich sources of probiotics. These include buttermilk, idli, dosas, appam, dhokla, uttapam all of which are all made by fermenting rice and dals, thus making them rich in live cultures of the good bacteria.

Idli is a wonderful probiotic. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Prebiotics

Prebiotics, on the other hand, are indigestible carbohydrates that feed the healthy gut bacteria, already existing. This includes chicory root, garlic, onions, bananas, barley, oats and asparagus.

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4. Postbiotics

These are substances made by the bacteria in the gut from prebiotics and aid cellular function.

5. Fiber

is a great contributor to improve gut function. Of the two predominant types of fibres in our food, the soluble type is found in fruits, vegetables and beans etc and gets digested by the gut bacteria to support the growth of health bacteria, which in turn produce Postbiotics. One needs to ingest 25 to 40 grams of fiber in our food every day.

Also, read: Stress aside, these 3 emotions can impact your gut health

water for digestion
Make water your BFF! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

6. Water

With summer in full swing, staying hydrated is vital. Water plays a key role in the digestive processes and gut health. Digestion, nutrient absorption, transport of nutrients, elimination of waste products, regulation of body temperature and maintenance of healthy gut microbiome – all these depend on adequate hydration. It is desirable to consume 1 liter of water for every 20 kilo body weight in a healthy adult.

Lifestyle habits for better gut health

* Eat the right foods with plenty of fruits and vegetables
* Get adequate sleep
* Exercise regularly
* Relaxation therapies to reduce stress

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About the Author

Dr Lovleena Nadir Senior Consultant - Gynaecology, Rosewalk Hospital ...Read More

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