Deep Dive on Digestion

Digestive diseases affect more than 40 million people in the United States alone, totaling up to millions of clinical visits and millions of dollars in medical bills annually. Although these numbers are hard to digest (pun intended), we don’t have to sit by and wait for bloating to strike. There are multiple ways we can take action to improve our gut microbiome before it results in a visit to the doctor’s office.

What is Gut Health, and Why is It Important?

You may be surprised to know what goes on in your gut plays a larger role in your overall wellness than you might think. In fact, research is showing that our gut microbiome, the bacteria and other micro-organisms that live in your gastrointestinal system, can affect every organ in our bodies. 

In the large intestine alone, there are about 200 different species of bacteria, viruses, and fungi whose job is to facilitate the breakdown of food, turning it into nutrients your body can use. For this reason, everything you eat, drink, and even how you eat affects your gut. When your microbiome is upset, several digestive ailments can occur including: 

  • Bloating
  • Heartburn
  • Upset stomach
  • Fatigue
  • Irregular bowel movements
  • Constipation
  • Insomnia
  • Skin irritations

Digestive problems can be temporary, such as heartburn, bloating, and upset stomach. Other types of gastrointestinal diseases, including Crohn’s and IBS, are lifelong and can cause permanent discomfort. In serious cases such as these, always consult your doctor about the best course of treatment. However, if you suffer from occasional gut issues and have been cleared of more serious conditions, there are more than a few reasons to try and get your gut in check. 

A healthy microbiome can improve your immune system, help maintain regular bowel function, and reduce inflammation that can damage your organs. Some studies even suggest the balance of bacteria in the gut microbiome plays a role in mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression and has an effect on the way our brains process information and regulate emotions. If you find it hard to trust your gut, try our three tips below to improve your digestive health. 

Three Tips to Improve Gut Health

1. Fill up on Fiber 

When it comes to gut health, fiber is your best friend. Fiber is an indigestible form of carbohydrates that is found in plants. Although that doesn’t sound very impressive, fiber is what keeps foods moving through our digestive systems, helps us feel full longer, and prevents us from the dreaded constipation. Fiber can also help manage blood sugar, cholesterol, and weight.  

Fiber is broken down into two categories according to whether or not it dissolves in water. Insoluble fiber (non-dissolvable) creates bulk and is found in whole grains, wheat cereals, and vegetables like green beans, cauliflower, celery, and tomatoes. 

Soluble fiber (dissolvable) aids in water absorption and creates a gel-like consistency when digested. Forms of soluble fiber include oats, nuts, fruits, and beans, among others. For those who have difficulty eating enough fiber-rich foods, fiber supplements may be a good option to add to your diet. 

2. Make Probiotics Part of Your Daily Routine

Probiotics are bacteria that are good for your gut! They have fun names like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. The most common sources of probiotics are yogurt, kefir, and probiotic drinks like kombucha or health sodas. These products are marked with a label that says “live and active cultures” to indicate the presence of healthy bacteria.

Another good source of probiotics is fermented foods. Miso, sauerkraut, and kimchi are all fermented foods that can help the growth of good bacteria in your gut. Although many probiotic-rich products are available online and in stores, the easiest way to maintain a convenient dose of probiotics is by purchasing a probiotic supplement to add to your daily routine.

3. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!

The human body is approximately 60% water. While many of us have heard this statistic before, it bears repeating. According to a 2023 poll, 47% of adults in the U.S. aren’t getting the hydration they require. 

Our bodies need water to operate properly. When we eat, the carbohydrates and proteins that our bodies use as fuel are metabolized and transported by water in the bloodstream. Not only does being properly hydrated allow our bodies to break down vital nutrients, but water also assists in flushing waste and toxins out of our system. 

While it might sound simple, one of the best things you can do to support your gut health and every bodily function is to have an extra bottle of water a day! 

Looking for more ways to improve your gut health and reach your wellness goals? 10X Health can put you on the right path. It all starts with a blood test. Order yours today

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