Home to more than 100 trillion bacteria, the human gut needs good bacteria in order to thrive. However, one’s lifestyle, diet, and certain environmental factors may have a negative effect on the gut bacteria in one’s body. Worried about your body’s bacteria? Read on to learn six things that can take a major toll on your gut health and the health of your body overall.
1. Eating the Same Types of Foods
Failing to diversify your foods can limit the types of bacteria in your gut, which makes it harder for your body to recover from antibiotics or infection. This is why it’s important for your diet to include various type of foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and whole foods. A diverse gut flora will ensure that your gut is filled with different kinds of bacteria, allow your gut to be at its healthiest.
2. Having Fewer Prebiotics in Your Diet
Prebiotics pass through one’s body undigested. They work to improve the activity and growth of beneficial gut bacteria. Foods like whole grains, vegetables, and fruits contain prebiotic fiber. Individuals that have lower levels of prebiotics in their diet may cause damage to their digestive health. In addition to eating the right foods, you can add prebiotic and probiotic supplements to your diet to help improve your gut health. Moreover, consuming foods like yogurt help to improve the number of probiotics in your body as well.
3. Drinking Alcohol Excessively
Alcohol in moderation isn’t incredibly damaging to the body, but when consumed regularly in large amounts, it can have damaging effects on your body. Certain studies have shown that alcohol consumption negatively effects you gut bacteria. However, red wine does have a polyphenol content that works to protect your gut bacteria.
4. Using Antibiotics
While antibiotics have an important place in modern medicine, they are intended to actively kill or suppress bacteria. While this is good in the case of strep throat and urinary tract infections, antibiotics can quickly damage the diversity in your gut flora.
5. Not Getting Enough Exercise
A lack of regular exercise can have adverse effects on your overall health, including the health of your gut flora. Among the perks of being active, taking care of the body’s gut bacteria is one of the benefits that many people overlook.
Research shows that people with higher levels of fitness have a greater amount of the fatty acid butyrate and butyrate-producing bacteria. Similarly, Akkermansia is another bacteria common in individuals with higher levels of physical fitness as this bacteria helps to improve one’s metabolic health.
6. Not Sleeping Well
We all know that humans need their sleep. However, many people never realize just how much of an effect poor sleeping habits have on their health. Similar to the body’s circadian rhythm, the gut follows a pattern that can be disrupted through the lack of adequate sleep. Studies show that poor sleep quality can disrupt the composition of the body’s gut flora.
Gut health is more important than you think. Keep these six truths in mind as you work to improve your gut health, as well as your body’s overall health.