A healthy gut is vital for so many reasons. Here are tips to improve yours.
HENDERSON, Nev. — Gut health has indeed skyrocketed to the top of health and wellness concerns, but if it didn’t happen on social, then it didn’t really happen, right? Well, it has happened on social. Enter the latest trending hashtag on TikTok: #Guttok. More than a billion posts on this platform highlight gut (a.k.a. the gastrointestinal tract) problems and potential solutions. Rather than wade through all those posts, here are some insights and valuable tips from Nutrishop, a national retail nutrition franchise specializing in dietary and nutritional supplements, vitamins and wellness.
First, it’s important to know that the bacteria in your gut play a huge role in your well-being. They are responsible for your digestive system and affect everything from metabolism and mood to brain function and the immune system. In fact, your gut is a major part of your immune system.
“Your gut helps usher all the nutrients and micronutrients in your foods to the body – and works hard to keep out pathogens, bacteria, and more,” said Brittinie Wick, a fitness and nutrition coach and Nutrishop brand ambassador who regularly contributes to Nutrishop’s Learning Center. “When gut microbes are out of balance, it can cause all sorts of problems, from digestive upset to chronic inflammation and immune system issues.”
With this in mind, we’ve gathered some tips from Wick along with Nutrishop franchisee Jay Vicino on ways to improve gut health. These suggestions are in addition to the standard healthy living tips of getting eight hours of quality sleep per night and drinking plenty of water daily to stay hydrated. Believe it or not, practicing those two tips alone will help keep your gut healthy and happy! Keep reading for additional tips.
- Eat a clean, healthy diet. Processed and ultra-processed foods (think chips, crackers, cookies, fries, etc.) have been shown to negatively impact the gut microbiome because they break down easily into sugar, a sworn enemy to healthy gut flora. Instead, try to get your nutrition from whole, nutritious foods like veggies, lean meats, whole grains, and low glycemic fruits. “With the tremendous amount of processing in food options across America, we’re constantly battling higher levels of acidity in our gut,” warned Vicino, who owns the successful Mt. Juliet, TN Nutrishop location and is ISSA-certified in nutrition. “We regularly recommend to our clientele to be as selective as possible in the grocery stores and to increase their daily greens intake.”
- Exercise regularly. The current Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans state we should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week, along with two days of strength training. Even if all you do is walk briskly, it’s better than nothing when it comes to supporting the gut. “Physical exercise will stimulate your circulation and blood flow and deliver nutrients and oxygen to all body parts, including the gut,” Wick said. “Plus, exercise – yes, even walking – helps your body move food through your digestive tract.”
- Get 20-30 grams of fiber a day. Fiber can help balance your gut bacteria. The current recommendation for fiber intake is 25 grams per day for women and 38 grams for men. If that is more than you usually eat, try slowly increasing your fiber intake so you don’t feel bloated, uncomfortable, and gassy, said Wick. Since it’s fall, she suggested adding butternut squash to your meals. “Butternut squash is delicious, full of vitamins and minerals, and high in fiber and antioxidants!”
- Reduce stress. Research shows that when you’re stressed, your gut knows it, which might result in some uncomfortable gastro issues like diarrhea and gas. “Your body has a more challenging time digesting food when it’s tense and stressed out,” Wick said. “One way to reduce stress is by doing deep breathing exercises. When you do this, think about breathing down deep into your belly!” As an extra step, Nutrishop offers Restōr Stress Formula with Ashwagandha and other key ingredients to help support optimal health and well-being for your body and mind.
- Consider probiotics and prebiotics. Both probiotics and prebiotics support healthy bacteria in your gut. “It’s important to know the difference between PREbiotics and PRObiotics,” Wick said. “Probiotics are the ‘good’ microorganisms – such as bacteria and yeasts – that live in your intestines. Prebiotics feed the probiotics in your gut. You can get both of these by adding a variety of fibrous and fermented foods.” Some probiotic foods include kimchi, kombucha, kefir, yogurt and sauerkraut. Some prebiotic foods include red kidney beans, oats, grapefruit, bananas, asparagus, mushrooms, watermelon and chickpeas.
- Supplement it. Many health-conscious individuals turn to supplements to help fill in the gaps of their nutrition needs, including probiotics and digestive enzymes. One of the most popular stacks sold at Nutrishop locations nationwide during the holidays and beyond is the Jumpstart Stack (Gut Formula, 7-Day Cleanse and SuperMulti+). This stack is touted for its ability to “clean house” by getting rid of the “ick” and replacing it with vital micronutrients, all while supporting gut health for an overall feeling of optimal well-being. Another popular stack throughout the holiday season and beyond is the Complete Detox & Cleanse Stack (Gut Formula, Daily Detox and Liver Complex). “Gut Formula alone is not only loaded with good-for-your-gut ingredients like probiotics, digestive enzymes, apple cider vinegar, peppermint, caprylic acid, and more, but if you were to buy all these ingredients individually, it would cost over $200,” Vicino said. “Thankfully, Gut Formula contains everything you need in one bottle.”
If you would like additional suggestions or want to learn more about what Nutrishop can do to help you with your nutrition needs, visit your local Nutrishop store and speak with a knowledgeable professional today.