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4 ways to improve gut health

Your gut microbiome plays a very important role in your overall health.  Having an imbalance of the unhealthy and healthy bacteria in your gut can affect your gastrointestinal tract, your heart, blood sugar levels, mental health, and your weight. The verdict is still out but suggestive that if we improve our microbiome, we may be able to reduce our risk of developing certain health conditions.

What do we know about the gut microbiome?

The gut microbiome consists of trillions of bacteria which play an important role in human metabolism. Having a sufficient amount of the healthy bacteria in our gut can help remove some of the harmful bacteria, assist in developing our immune system, and can help reinforce our gut lining.

What is the relation between the gut microbiome and weight?

Some studies have shown that the gut bacteria in people who are obese is different from the population of people who are lean.  Specifically, the studies have shown people who are obese have a reduced diversity of gut bacteria and they also have lower and depleted levels of the healthy bacteria.

So, if having a healthy microbiome can improve your overall health, you may be asking yourself how do I get more of the healthy bacteria into my gut? 

 Here are some ideas to consider:

 Limit your intake of processed foods including high fat, high salt, and high sugar foods

  1. Eat a diet high in fiber with a variety of different fiber sources including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes
    • Add beans to salad, toss some beans into soup
  2. Add some fermented food and beverages to your diet such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, and miso
    • Have some Greek yogurt for a snack, use some sauerkraut in place of relish in tuna salad
  3. Eat foods that contain prebiotics such as asparagus, chicory root, garlic, Jerusalem artichoke, jicama, onions
    • Saute jicama, onions, and garlic together for a side dish
  4. Include a daily probiotic such as bifidobacterial and lactobacilli
Lindsey Sterchi, RD, CDE
ABOUT
Lindsey Sterchi, RD, CDE LSterchi@billingsclinic.org

Lindsey Sterchi, RD, CDE is a registered dietitian and diabetes educator at the Billings Clinic Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism Center.

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