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How to improve gut health naturally

How to improve gut health naturally

You probably don't spend a lot of time thinking about what's going on in your gut unless you have digestive issues.

However, over the past two decades, science has made real progress in understanding the importance of gut health to our overall health.

Several studies confirm that an unhealthy gut negatively affects the immune system, mood, and mental health. Inflammation of the intestine also increases the risk of autoimmune diseases, endocrine disorders, skin diseases, and even cancer.

This means it's extremely important to recognize the symptoms and learn how to improve your gut health naturally.

In our modern world, it is impossible to avoid daily exposure to toxic substances.

You may be a little skeptical and detached from all the juicy mums preaching about EMR and the importance of nature. But plenty of evidence contradicts the fact that our modern daily lives are altering the delicate balance of our gut microbiome.

Pollutants are in the food we eat, and the air we breathe, and they even rain down on us from the sky.

You probably have at least one friend who can't eat gluten and you feel sorry for her as you shove a delicious slice of pizza down her throat.

Once I had the same feelings for my sister.

That was until I started looking six months pregnant before I went to bed every night.

Not a single human living an "urban life" should be unaware of the importance of improving their gut microbiota, PERIOD.

In this article, we'll look at the importance of gut health, how to tell if you're colonized with bad bacteria, how to improve your microbiome and explore what a healthy gut diet looks like.

We'll also debunk some common misconceptions about probiotics.

Let's start.

The Importance of Gut Health

Intestinal health is the key to our vitality. This may seem obvious because our gut is the guardian of food and water that sustains our organic existence.

Where we once thought disease was linked to gene expression, we are realizing that it has everything to do with the tiny insects that live inside of us.

Digestive health is at the root of many health issues, especially in terms of brain health and mental health.

We now know that the majority of the production of serotonin (an important neurotransmitter that regulates our mood, sleep cycles, libido, appetite, and many other things) takes place in the gut with the help of a diverse gut microbiome.

The human gut is home to over 10,000 different types of bacteria. In fact, scientists are still trying to understand the microorganisms that make up a healthy gut.

Every few years they add thousands more to the ledger and this list is not limited to bacteria. We are also home to viruses and fungi, although there is currently less understanding of how these species affect us.

One hundred trillion bacteria in the adult human body are more than our cells 10:1.

It contains about 4 million active bacterial genes, over 95% of which are located in the large intestine. I've highlighted a word that works so you won't miss it. Yes, the genes of microorganisms influence the daily biological nuances that occur within us.

According to the Human Genome Project, more bacterial genes modulate daily bodily functions than there are human genes!

We are in childhood largely out of our understanding of the human microbiome as it relates to health. One thing we all agree on is that the microorganisms that live inside our intestines can "lubricate" the machine very well. We have a proliferation of the wrong types and we get very sick.

The influence of the microbiome can alter our immune response, turning an ordinary day into a complete disaster when we encounter common foods like peanuts.

They can manufacture chemicals that affect our sleep cycles and stress response.

They provide us with an additional intestinal barrier against pathogenic bacteria and aid digestion by converting foods that cannot be absorbed into sources of biological energy.

Our health is linked to the microbiome.

This is great news for us because we now have hope!

We no longer have to fear things beyond our control like our family genes. We can affect our health by protecting our gut with a diverse microbiome.

Our next quest, then, is to understand what are the building blocks of an optimal microbiome. But before we can do that, we need to know the warning signs that indicate we are being colonized by a hostile microorganism.

Symptoms of Bad Bacteria in the Gut

Our gut balance can be easily thrown off balance by poor food choices, stress, lack of sleep, overuse of antibiotics, and all sorts of environmental influences (more on that later).

When our system is negatively affected by an outside source, it can motivate a species to take over. This process is small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).

Symptoms of SIBO can be subtle or more worrisome. Your symptoms will depend on the type of bacteria present and how its products (waste products) affect your tissues.

Most commonly, bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine is associated with the overgrowth of negative ram coliforms, such as Escherichia coli or Enterococcus spp. Or Klebsiella or Proteus mirabilis pneumonia.

Although the symptoms you may experience with this overgrowth most of the time are mild (things like bloating, gas, abdominal pain, and diarrhea), it is possible to experience more concerning things like weight loss. (I don't mind), anemia and poor nutrition leading to severe vitamin deficiency.

The frequency and severity of symptoms may reflect the degree of bacterial overgrowth as well as the extent of inflammation it causes.

Here are some general symptoms that may alert you to SIBO:

  • bloating
  • Stomach ache
  • abdominoplasty
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue does not reduce sleep
  • high weakness
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain
  • depression anxiety
  • headache

Bowel Inflammation: Here's What's Happening

All this talk about bad bacteria or the lack of diversity in the microbiome boils down to gut inflammation.

Inflammation of the intestine also called an endogenous toxic response, is defined as a rapid physiological response of the body after exposure to lipopolysaccharides (the fictitious name for a lipid molecule).

Normally, our body protects itself by passing things like hostile microorganisms, undigested food particles, and toxins directly through us, which are excreted as feces. When inflammation is present, the lining of the intestine is damaged. Thus, harmful things can seep through our intestines into our bloodstream.

Inflammation doesn't just happen to people diagnosed with bowel diseases like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

It can happen to you and you may not even realize it. A study of 80 healthy, normal-weight college students showed that more than half had a severe inflammatory response to food.

When you suffer from non-productive inflammation, it has devastating effects on human health.

The natural process of inflammation has a definite end point once the source of the inflammation has been eliminated. Then your body will begin to recover.

In a condition like a leaky gut, the cause of the inflammation continues to seep into the blood until the inflammation never stops.

Long-term inflammation increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, liver disease, cancer, diabetes, dementia, and obesity.

In danger of defeating a dead horse... inflammation is very bad news!

At this point, you might be wondering, "Oh my God, do I need a SIBO and inflammation test?"

The answer is not really. Most of the tests we have for SIBO are unreliable.

If you want to know if your body is in an active inflammatory process, you can consult a functional doctor or ask your family doctor to activate C-reactive protein (CRP),

Keep in mind that this test will cost a pretty penny.

If you're struggling and want to better understand your unique microbiome and how it affects you, you should check out Viome. They offer a home test that you send in the mail that gets all kinds of personal information about how your microbiome affects your health.

They also provide nutritional advice based on your specific needs.

The next part of this article will contain tips on how to eat for a healthy gut and how to improve your gut health naturally.

It doesn't matter if the signs of inflammation are off the chain or not. We should all protect our guts the same way.

These tips are applicable whether your intestine is healthy or diseased. And the focus of this tip will be on simplicity because let's face it, life doesn't have to be any more complicated than it is!

A simple diet for a healthy gut

When it comes to nutrition, I've never been a fan of diets. Now I know everyone is focused on things like fasting, the keto diet, and the full 30 diets.

You won't get any clichéd dietary recommendations on this plan.

When it comes to eating for a healthy gut, we need to rethink what our ancestors did and the time before big food companies sprayed our agriculture with chemicals that none of us can pronounce (hint: glyphosate).

At that time, we were fishermen. We didn't necessarily kill animals every day for dinner. Meat causes intestinal inflammation and should not be eaten daily.

We were gatherers, eating a varying amount of plants that were available to us depending on the season. We didn't eat tomatoes in January.

So how does this relate to our modern city life?

I can describe a healthy gut diet with several simple adjectives. Local, seasonal, unprocessed, and to keep pace with the current vernacular.

Let's take a look.


 Local food from small farms is better for your health. That might be a bold statement, but here are some of the reasons why it's true.

Local foods don't have to travel long distances to get to your plate. This means that it is allowed to ripen on the vine.

Products allowed to ripen on the vine are more nutritionally diverse and superior to green-picked foods.

The best local food you can eat comes from your garden. Not only will you have complete control over the growing and harvesting process, but the experience of digging in the dirt will enrich your microbiome.

You don't have to go through your whole garden and do some farming! Just doing something as simple as potting up fresh herbs and vegetables will make a huge contribution to your microbiome.

Don't rinse anything before eating either!


What does eating in season mean? Well, it will depend on the area you live in, but think about what grows outdoors in your current climate.

If it is summer, you will have the opportunity to eat a variety of ripe produce at the peak of its nutritional value.

If you're in mid-fall, consider eating things like squash, cabbage, and darker green vegetables.

Winter is ideal for eating root vegetables.

By eating seasonally, you allow your microbiome to change seasonally. This causes a change in gene expression in your body.

Of course, eating in season doesn't mean you're starving yourself during the winter.

But you can get creative with eating canned food in different ways.

For example, in winter you can eat more frozen fruit. Frozen fruit was allowed to ripen on the vine and then hung in the freezer. It will be more nutrient dense than fresh strawberries in the winter.


In modern culture, life moves at a rapid pace. Often we don't take the time for simple things like cooking our food.

It's a tragedy because cooking your food can be a way to bring peace to your soul.

If you don't have time to cook daily, you can start preparing meals. Meal prep is simply spending a day planning meals for a week. Then you cook a lot of food at once and eat it throughout the week.

Another tip for eating less processed is to look at the ingredients on the label. You can find a variety of packaged snacks that are low in ingredients and still match your intentions to heal your gut naturally.


All the previous nutritional advice is valid.

You cannot remove these chemicals from food. It is built into food at the cellular level and is the primary way we are exposed to toxins.

Pesticide exposure can have both short- and long-term effects, and they certainly disrupt the microbiome (source)

Of course, one of the biggest hesitations when buying organic food is the price. It's hard to give up $6 for a basket of organic blueberries when you can get them for half the price of a traditional purchase.

We are starting to use the Amazon Subscribe & Save feature for organic dry goods. Buying 5 items a month saves you 15%, so it's a great way to stock up on foods like peanut butter and healthy snacks.

As bad as paying extra money for food, you'll end up saving more on medical bills in the long run by protecting your health.

Another aspect of eating organic food includes the quality of the meat you get. Conventionally raised animals are given tons of antibiotics and treated in a very inhuman way.

It is beyond the scope of this article to go into the details of how the meat industry abuses animals (although it is quite devastating).

However, if you eat an animal that has spent its entire short life filled with fear and pain, the stress hormones circulating in its body will certainly negatively alter the microbiome.

When you eat meat, a little is more.

Lean meat and eggs from pasture-raised chicken and wild-caught fish are great sources of protein to eat 5 days a week. Red meat should be eaten minimally and always spiced up.

Probiotics and Gut Health

The probiotic industry is huge these days. With so much research on the relationship between the gut and natural health, it's no surprise.

Everyone is eager to take advantage of this new trend.

I have to admit, I wasn't completely aware when I started taking a probiotic supplement.

I started taking the supplement after receiving IV antibiotics in the hospital while delivering my son.

I then developed recurrent yeast infections and started having flatulence.

Related: Natural remedies for yeast infection

It seems that many of the probiotics I tried didn't help at all. I later discovered that the way most probiotics are processed renders them completely non-viable once they reach the human guEncapsulatingting probiotics involves growing different strains of bacteria in a separate medium. It is then centrifuged to remove its liquid food (also called prebiotic), freeze-dried, crushed, and then combined with other cultures in the capsule.

In the process, I removed microbes unaccustomed to living together from their food source and threw them into a hostile environment like the stomach.

The truth is that none of them survived to reach our lower intestines.

A company I recently discovered uses organic non-GMO molto to grow 11 different species harmoniouslycies.

The pH of this bottle is around 3.5. The human stomach has a pH between 1.5 and 3.5.

How to improve gut health naturally

We've covered a lot so far, but I didn't want to leave you without giving you a few more quick tips for taking care of your gut health every day.

There are many nutritional and healing benefits to drinking a daily cup of bone broth. There's a reason they call chicken soup for the soul!

Another thing you can do is start your day with a detox drink in the morning.

Of course, getting enough sleep and reducing toxic stress is essential to any true healing process. There are many strategies to achieve this, such as setting a daily schedule, meditating, and controlling your thoughts.

If you can, reduce your caffeine and alcohol intake.

If you drink, opt for a glass of red wine rather than beer. Flavonoids in red wine contribute to your health!

Eat more coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil than other vegetable oils. Most vegetable oils contain high levels of omega-6 fatty acids. A little omega-6 is good for you, but too much can cause oxidative stress (also called inflammation!). ( Source )

Plus it's fun when it comes to exercise. It can be as simple as a brisk walk.

Get out into nature. Go to the beach, to the national park, to the mountains, or even to the woods near you. Getting out into nature helps diversify your microbiome.

Stop using antimicrobial hand sanitizers. These gels are not filled to the brim with easily absorbed chemicals, but kill your skin's natural microbiome. Just use soap and water regularly when out in public.