How to Heal Gut Health Naturally: 16 Ways to Support Your Microbiome
The microbiome is no new discovery. For the last decade or so, there have been studies done on just how much our gut contributes to our health. Unfortunately, even though we have all of this research, it still isn’t down to a complete science.
While we don’t know everything, we do know some definitive things that help to heal, improve, and nourish it. You may need to improve your gut health if you’re struggling with:
- Brain fog
- Autoimmune diseases
- Constipation or hard stools
- Diarrhea or runny stools
- Food allergies
- Skin problems
- Diabetes or other metabolic disorders
What to Know About Healing Your Gut
When you start trying to heal your gut, you should know that you aren’t going to see drastic results immediately. If you want long-lasting results, you need to stick with these healthy habits long-term.
If it helps, think of it like building a relationship. You need to take the time to make sure you have a solid foundation for the long run.
If you only focus on healing your gut for a short period of time (a few weeks), you’re setting yourself back. Think about any time that you’ve been unhealthy and start doing all the healthy things. You do good for a while and then you eat one bad thing and it throws your whole new healthy lifestyle off track.
This isn’t actually your fault.
You have all types of bacteria living in your gut. When you aren’t leading a healthy lifestyle, ‘bad’ bacteria start growing and reproducing in your gut. These cause chemical reactions within your body to make you crave bad foods and lead to poor moods and choices. These bacteria need to be starved to die off before you can consider your gut “healthy”.
It can take a minimum of 6 months for these bacteria to be completely gone from your gut.
The more unhealthy your lifestyle is, the longer it’s going to take to get it to full health. Think of your gut like a car. Your car needs routine maintenance to continue working properly. But if you let a problem go for too long it can cause other parts to break down making it a bigger problem when you actually fix it.
Your gut is the same way.
Once the bad bacteria are in abundance, it’s hard to get them out. This is because of the biofilm.
Biofilm — a major component of your microbiome — is a sticky substance that bacteria and other microorganisms like to stick to.
When bad bacteria stick to the biofilm it’s hard to get rid of them completely — which is why people will sometimes have stubborn recurring infections that just don’t seem to go away. So even when you start doing your routine maintenance they can hang out for longer than expected which ends up derailing your attempt at staying healthy.
So when you go to heal your microbiome and make it healthier, make sure you intend to make these changes long-term to actually heal your gut.
Now! Onto your list of 16 ways to heal your gut health and nourish your microbiome naturally!
1. Focus on plant-based foods
Plants are the source of an insane amount of essential nutrients that our bodies crave. To name a few of the amazing things they offer us:
Plant-based diets are the best for your gut health since the healthy bacteria strains like to eat foods full of fiber, polyphenols, and prebiotics. They ferment these foods which allow them to replicate and provide our bodies with metabolic byproducts. These metabolites like short-chain fatty acids, branch-chain fatty acids, amino acids, and other biochemicals that help to heal our bodies.
2. Make sure your fruits and vegetables are in season for the most nutritional value
There is a tribe of people called the Hadza and they’re the epitome of good gut health. They live in the most primitive way (hunting and gathering) of any group of people on the Earth today. What makes them so successful in having happy guts is that:
- They only eat foods that are in season (meaning they have their maximum amount of nutrients as opposed to when they’re off-season)
- They don’t use chemicals on their foods when growing them
- They eat some meat but not an excessive amount
- They get a lot of sunlight
- They don’t use antibiotics or disinfectants
Basically, they do all the right things to keep their guts healthy and full of good, rich bacteria.
3. Get some probiotics into your diet
Probiotics are what you’ll usually hear about in reference to boosting your good bacteria. What you do when you take probiotic supplements or eat probiotic-rich foods is you’re adding new/more strains of bacteria to your gut. They do seem to help some people, but depending on the strains and concentrations they might not be doing a whole lot.
That’s why we use prebiotics in Atrantil since it’s not adding bacteria straight into your body. Instead, it contains prebiotics that feeds the existing bacteria, allowing them to produce whatever species are needed to enhance your gut health.
4. Eat the Best Sources of Protein
Our bodies need protein to help build muscle and carry out essential functions throughout the body including the brain. Our diets in the Western world consist of high quantities of protein. This is good to get our daily dose of necessary protein, however, we may be getting more than we need.
Lean meats, nuts, seeds, and fish are the best sources of protein since they provide metabolites that heal our bodies. Red meats in small doses are good too, but they can promote bloating and disease if eating in high quantities.
5. Give your body enough time to digest foods
Our digestive system needs time to do its job of breaking down our foods, which takes a lot more time, energy, and blood flow than we realize. To give your gut adequate digesting time:
- Incorporate intermittent fasting (check out our tips here)
- Take breaks between meals
- Don’t snack after dinner to leave a good break between dinner and breakfast (this will help with digestion and sleep)
6. Do exercises that promote digestion
Light to moderate exercises like yoga, walking, and tai chi help to get your blood moving without disrupting the digestive process. High-intensity workouts can actually stop the digestive process because the blood flow is going to your muscles instead of staying in your gut.
7. Drink lots of water
Water helps to reduce inflammation throughout your body and keep your tissues (and therefore your organs) healthy. This helps to nourish all your cells and microbiome.
8. Take time to relax
Stress is a huge disrupter of your digestion and microbiome. By taking time to focus on relaxation you’re helping your whole body to heal. Try meditating, journaling, gratitude, or other relaxing practices that make you more mindful. Or try new hobbies like reading, sewing, or writing to help you wind down but still be creative.
9. Take Atrantil
Atrantil was created to help heal and nourish your microbiome. It helps to stop bloating by shutting down the archaebacteria and feeds your good bacteria to repair your gut. Atrantil is a great supplement to help fast-track your gut recovery.
*Ask your doctor before adding any new supplements to avoid conflicts with any conditions or medications you have.*
10. Get your hands dirty!
Anyway, you can touch base with your inner child is honestly going to be great for your gut and immune system. Playing in the dirt with your kids or grandkids or gardening gets your hands exposed to soil and additional microbes. You’ll be having fun, getting sun, and enriching your microbiome.
11. Go camping or visit the countryside
When you go to heavily wooded areas or the country you’re being exposed to more natural particles that you don’t have access to in the city. Pollen and other microbes help to give your gut more diversity.
12. Avoid antibiotics and disinfectants when possible
Antibiotics and disinfectants don’t discriminate when it comes to bacteria. They kill them all regardless of if they’re good or bad. This can cause more problems in your gut because while they may get rid of the bad they’re also destroying the good leaving your microbiome too sterile.
13. Limit how much sugar you eat (including artificial sweeteners)
Sugar can be as addictive as hard drugs. This is because the bad microbes start craving sugar and send chemicals to your brain to tell you that you need them. When you starve them of the sugar (for longer than 6 months for best results) they will eventually die off and allow the healthier strains to take over.
Artificial sugars are just as bad for your gut if not worse than real sugar.
14. Quit smoking
Smoking not only hardens your arteries but also changes the balance of microbes within your gut.
15. Don’t drink alcohol often
Wine is okay to drink to get your polyphenols. But when you start drinking alcohol in excess it can have bad effects on your liver and gut. Alcohol causes a leaky gut which has been linked to diseases and autoimmune disorders.
Read more about how alcohol affects the gut here.
16. Prioritize your sleep — 7 hours a night is the goal
Sleep is one of those unexpected ways to heal your gut. Studies show that people who get enough sleep actually have more microdiversity within their guts. This reduces inflammation and promotes a better mood and health.
While the gut is still being heavily researched, there are some obvious ways that it influences our health — for the better or worse. So try adding some of these suggestions into your daily routine and see if you notice any changes in your mood or health.