Maintaining proper gut health has become a priority for many people as we learn more about how impactful this aspect of our health can be on our overall health. According to experts, our gut health doesn’t only impact how easily and frequently we go to the bathroom. This aspect of our health may also be linked to our immune health, our mental health, and even our skin health. In other words, maintaining gut health is pretty important.
When we think about ways to keep our gut health where we want it to be, many of us automatically think about eating more fiber-rich salads and including live bacteria (probiotics) in their diet. But there are some surprising things that people may be overlooking when they are trying to keep their gut health in-check that extend beyond eating fermented foods and getting enough roughage in their diet every day.
If you are already eating probiotic-rich foods and you are hitting the mark when it comes to fiber intake, yet you want to take your gut health to the next level, here are four surprising ways to accomplish this goal.
If You Drink Alcohol, Opt For Red Wine
If you live an alcohol-free lifestyle, we are in no way encouraging you to fall off the wagon. But if you do enjoy an occasional cocktail, what you choose to sip on may impact your gut health.
Data suggests that people who drink moderate amounts of red wine may have more microbial diversity vs. those who don’t drink red wine, possibly due to the polyphenols that naturally occur in this drink.
Prioritize Stress Management
Think your gut health is only affected by your diet? Think again! Your stress level can have a profound impact on your gut health, highlighting how our entire lifestyle should be evaluated when we are trying to be the healthiest we can be.
Stress can affect health through its impact on gut bacteria. When we are stressed, the autonomic and circulatory systems carry distress signals to the gut, impacting its function in a negative way. Too, stress can reshape the gut bacteria’s composition through stress hormones, inflammation, and autonomic alterations.
Makes you want to take some time to find your chill, right?
Swap Some Animal-Based Proteins For Plant-Based Options
There is nothing wrong with an occasional piece of lean beef or chicken as a part of your overall balanced and healthy diet. But eating too much meat may not be the best practice when you are trying to support your gut health.
In fact, studies show that eating less meat and eating more plants may have a positive impact on gut health.
Swapping your meat for lentils, nuts, and seeds more frequently may help you see the results you want to see when you are focusing on your gut health.
It isn’t news to many people that what you are choosing for your mealtime can impact your gut health. But your snack choices can help you reach your gut health goals too, and this factor shouldn’t be minimized by any means.
Snacking on a probiotic and prebiotic-rich options, like CORE Bars can help keep gut health in-check. Along with doing “all of the right things” during mealtime, making your snacktime “count” by reaching for the right foods can help make your tummy happy and healthy.
Small Changes For Your Gut Health
Along with including the tried and true tips to support gut health, including eating fermented foods and including fiber in your diet, including these less-known tips can help you reach your gut health goals in a simple way. From trying to manage your stress to exploring low sugar, probiotic, and prebiotic-rich snacks (like CORE Bars), there are some truly approachable ways to support your gut health that can have a huge impact that you will be happy to see.~Lauren Manaker MS, RDN, LD