Self Improvement

Mandy Kloppers

How to Have a Healthy Microbiome: The Top Steps to Take

Bacteria, viruses, and fungi get a bad rap because it’s hard not to associate them with diseases. But not all microorganisms are disease-causing or pathogenic

In fact, if you consider the trillions of microorganisms living inside your body (i.e. your gut), you’ll realize that they can actually be beneficial. Collectively known as microbiome or microbiota, these bacteria, viruses, fungi, and even parasites play key roles in helping support the daily functions of the human body. 

Take note though that a healthy microbiome isn’t something you can have all the time. Infections, certain diets, and medications can disturb the balance of microorganisms in your gut. 

To ensure you have a healthy gut microbiome, here are the top steps you need to take. 

  1. Add More Fiber to Your Diet

Fiber doesn’t just promote regular bowel movements, they also keep your gut happy. 

That’s because when gut bacteria break down fiber, the process releases butyrate, which is the preferred food of cells in the colon. Some studies that suggest butyrate may have a role in colon cancer prevention and treatment

Eating fiber-rich foods such as vegetables, legumes, beans, and fruit can also promote the growth of Bifidobacteria and other beneficial gut bacteria. Bifidobacteria, in particular, can help enhance gut health, as well as prevent inflammation of the intestines. 

  1. Diversify Your Diet

Maybe you’re wondering if there’s a special microbiome diet you could try. But if you’re already eating lots of fruits and vegetables and eating them when they’re in season, you don’t need to change your diet that much. 

You see, the microorganisms in your gut like variety. They’re different microbial species after all and they require different nutrients to thrive. That means the more diverse your diet is, the healthier your microbiome will be. 

  1. Eat Fermented Foods

Kimchikombucha, miso, and other fermented foods contain live microbes that help keep populations of bad gut bacteria in check. If you can, try to eat at least one serving of fermented food every day. 

If you can eat two servings, better. Now, if you don’t like fermented foods, natural yogurt may be the easiest to consume. Not only is it rich in beneficial lactobacilli, but it can also help improve symptoms of lactose intolerance if you have them. 

Another “easier to consume” fermented food option is soy milk. But make sure to steer clear of soy milk beverages that contain a high amount of sugar. 

  1. Try Supplements for a HealthyMicrobiome

Some people choose to take supplements such as probiotics, prebiotics, BioActive Carbon, and so on to keep their microbiome healthy. 

Probiotics are especially helpful to people who are taking antibiotics. Since antibiotics kill both good and bad bacteria in your gut, probiotics can help restore the balance in your microbiome. 

Meanwhile, prebiotics are either fiber or complex carbs that human cells cannot digest. They’re basically food for certain species of bacteria (the good ones) in your gut. 

Just keep in mind that while there are prebiotic supplements you can buy online or in health food stores, it’s still best to go for prebiotic-rich foods. These include chicory, onions, asparagus, bananas, etc. 

As for BioActive Carbon and its many health benefits, you can check out this article posted at Microbe Formulas for more information. 

  1. Don’t Forget About Polyphenols

Red wine, green tea, dark chocolate and other foods rich in polyphenols are microbiome superfoods. Aside from preventing disease-causing bacteria populations to grow, they also help decrease inflammation. 

Beyond these gut health benefits, polyphenols can also help reduce blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and oxidative stress. 

  1. Limit Your Sugar Intake

That includes artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose. Remember, if prebiotics feed the good bacteria in your gut, sugars do the opposite. 

They serve as fuel for bad microbiome bacteria and cause negative digestive symptoms such as bloating, diarrhea, and gassiness. Also, bacterial strains associated with metabolic disease thrive better the more you consume artificial sweeteners such as aspartame. 

  1. Avoid Smoking

If you need another reason to quit smoking, think about your microbiome. When you give up smoking, you can expect a healthier gut flora after only 9 weeks. 

Also, don’t forget that smoking is one of the risk factors for IBS or inflammatory bowel disease. The more you smoke, the more you subject your digestive tract to inflammation. 

Over time, this will decrease the number of beneficial microorganisms in your gut, which puts you at risk for intestinal and systemic diseases. 

  1. Get Enough Sleep and Exercise

Lack of good quality sleep doesn’t only make you irritable. It also affects your gut health, increasing your risk of inflammatory conditions such as IBS. 

If you’re having trouble sleeping, try following some recommended sleep practices on a consistent basis. Or see a sleep specialist who can help you get your much-needed 40 winks. 

As for working out, aim to do moderate-intensity exercise twice or thrice a week. Doing so will help you maintain a healthy weight and microbiome. 

  1. Manage Stress

When you’re stressed out, you’re not the only one affected. The microorganisms in your gut also feel the negative effects of stress. 

This, of course, disrupts the balance in your microbiome. So, if you’re feeling more stressed than usual, it’s good to try some relaxation techniques such as meditation and deep breathing. 

Other things that can help you manage stress include getting enough sleep, working out, and eating right. 

Want to Know More About Gut Health? 

Now that you know some of the best ways to have a healthy microbiome, don’t stop there. 

Gut health is an interesting field of study and you may be surprised to learn how it affects your whole body. You should also look into symptoms that point to an unhealthy gut so you can take the right steps to fix it. 

Did you like this article? If yes, feel free to browse the rest of the site to find more health tips and advice. You’ll also find tons of other posts on different topics that might interest you. 

Mandy X