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Healthy gut strategies

Probotics

You can easily increase good bacteria in your gut by eating fermented foods rich in probiotics, such as live natural yogurt, kefir (a fermented milk drink) and sauerkraut (fermented cabbage). Probiotics is just another word for 'good bacteria'. If you suffer with digestive trouble, taking a probiotic supplement is often advisable. The best ones tend to come from health stores and need to be kept refrigerated.

Feed the good bacteria

You can feed the probiotics (good bacteria) in your gut with prebiotic foods. Prebiotics are the nutrients that allow the probiotics to thrive inside our intestine. The pro and pre work together to help treat a variety of gastrointestinal health issues. Eating foods that contain both or eating different foods that contain each form at the same time will help ensure that you're doing the most for your digestive health. Good prebiotic foods include onions, oats, bananas, garlic, asparagus, legumes and flaxseed.

Avoid overusing antibiotics

Antibiotics are designed to eliminate the bacteria that cause infections. However, in the process, they eliminate all bacteria, including the good bacteria in your gut, which can leave you open to developing yeast infections and even make you more prone to tougher, drug-resistant strains of infections. Avoid taking anti-biotics unless absolutely necessary, and always try natural alternatives first – particularly when it comes to common viral infections such as a cold and the flu.

Get Active

Repeated studies have shown a link between regular exercise and boosted gut health. Exercise gets the colon moving, helping you maintain regularity. It's also useful when dealing with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). A recent Swedish study, published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, showed that people who exercised three to five times a week for 12 weeks had significant improvement in IBS symptoms.

De-stress

There's no question that stress plays a big role in digestive problems and I see direct evidence of this every day with my IBS patients. Hence, effective stress management can be very helpful when it comes to treating gastrointestinal symptoms. Mindfulness meditation, talk therapy, yoga, and even proper belly breathing have all been known to help.


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