When it comes to supporting a healthy gut, there are so many factors that play a role, not all of them are widely discussed. Here are three factors you may not have considered for a gut-friendly diet:
A diet containing a variety of probiotics. Probiotics are live strains of microorganisms which can offer many health benefits. The human gut has 100-1000 microbial species which play a large role in our health. Research supports that probiotics can help support many GI diseases including irritable bowel syndrome, Helicobacter Pylori (H.Pylori), inflammatory bowl disease (crohn’s disease and colitis), and diarrhea. There are many different strains of probiotics, including Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Lactococus, Streptococcus, Enterococcus, and
Foods to include that contain probiotics:
- Yogurt and kefir. If you are not eating dairy, there are some dairy-free options that contain probiotics as well.
- Tempeh (a fermented soy product)
- Fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut and kimchi
- Kombucha tea
It can also be helpful to consider taking a probiotic supplement. Always speak with your healthcare team prior to introducing any new supplement.
Stress and incorporating self-care. Our gut and our brain are very strongly connected, which means that an increase in stress can create an increase in GI distress. This raises the importance of managing stress levels and including self-care into your life. What does self-care look like? It can look different for everyone, from enjoying a hobby like painting, doing a puzzle, reading, to focusing on deep breathing or practicing gratitude in those high stress moments. It can also look like prioritizing a balanced meal because you know it provides your body the nourishment is needs.
Getting support. Living with a GI disorder or living with GI distress can be incredibly challenging. It can affect quality of life and your enjoyment of day-to-day activities. Reaching out for support to help manage your GI condition is an extremely important thing to consider if you are not able to manage on your own. For example, working with a registered dietitian can help to identify any food triggers or components of your diet/lifestyle that may be impacting symptoms, as well as help to support stress management by focusing on self-care.
By Katrina DuBois,
Registered Dietitian (Nutritionist)
Markowiak, P., & Śliżewska, K. (2017). Effects of probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics on human health. Nutrients, 9(9), 1021. doi:10.3390/nu9091021
George Kerry, R., Patra, J. K., Gouda, S., Park, Y., Shin, H., & Das, G. (2018). Benefaction of probiotics for human health: A review. Yàowu Shi͡p︡in Fenxi, 26(3), 927-939. doi:10.1016/j.jfda.2018.01.002