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You might not think much about digestion and your gut health unless things aren’t going well. After all, unless discomfort and other troubles set in, most people assume all is well. However, by paying more attention to what’s going on behind the scenes, so to speak, you can improve your overall health and feel better than ever.

Cultural components

Your digestive tract is a world unto itself. According to Harvard Health, around 100 trillion bacteria, both good and bad, comprise your gut microbiota. Science is beginning to understand how all these bacterial elements function, but they contribute directly to your overall health. When things are out of balance, you are more likely to suffer from poor digestion. An unhealthy gut appears to be linked to numerous medical concerns, such as obesity, heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. When your gut health is compromised, your immune system doesn’t function as well. As a result, you can’t absorb nutrients, which can compromise your overall health. The culture inside your gut is so influential that some experts even call it your “second brain.”

Lay a good foundation.

Some aspects of digestive health are apparent and included in that it is a major bacterial component known to be vital for an overall well-functioning system. First and foremost in the world of gut culture are prebiotics. Prebiotics are a kind of non-digestible fibre that acts as fertilizer for other healthy bacteria, and they come from fruits and vegetables such as onions, bananas, and broccoli. A particular prebiotic fibre in milk, rice bran, and bamboo shoots is called Xylooligosaccharides, or XOS. XOS can improve your digestive system’s health and help specifically with weight loss. Practical and convenient XOS prebiotic supplements are available to help your digestive system get on track and stay there, which is a boon to those of us who sometimes grab meals on the run or whose gut health might already be in question.

Building from there

Probiotics are another crucial essential kind of bacteria for gut health. Probiotics and prebiotics go hand-in-hand, and in fact, you need prebiotics in place for probiotics to flourish in your gut. A diet rich in probiotics includes fermented foods with live bacteria, such as yogurt, kefir, miso, and pickles.

Extenuating circumstances

You might be surprised to learn your sleep habits can influence your gut health. Just a couple of nights of insomnia takes a toll on your good bacteria and can even decrease your sensitivity to insulin. There appears to be a link between poor gut health and lost sleep, and along with those concerns, your cognitive function seems to drop off when your digestive tract is unbalanced. Conversely, improved sleep seems to improve gut function, helping good bacteria to thrive while lowering your risk for depression and improving your ability to think quickly. Studies cited by Science Direct explain some experts feel there might even be a three-way link between reduced mental sharpness we often associate with age, inadequate sleep, and gut health.

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Simple but effective

Staying hydrated is a key to good gut health, and Healthline points out that drinking sufficient amounts of water helps gut bacteria stay balanced and promotes the proper condition of the walls of your intestines. Our bodies are primarily composed of water, and while there is no hard and fast rule for how much you should consume, some research suggests that you should listen to your body and imbibe whenever you’re thirsty.

Paying attention to your gut health is essential since it appears to affect your overall condition. Encourage a properly balanced digestive tract with well-chosen foods and supplements, sufficient sleep, and good hydration. By naturally improving your digestion, you can enjoy better general health.

By Alice Robertson

Image courtesy of Pixabay