By Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, nutrition expert, author and AVON Wellness Ambassador
How can I support my gut for better digestion?
You’ve heard the buzz about gut health and how important it is. But you may be confused about how to actually get a healthy gut. Your gastrointestinal system (also known as your “gut”) includes the organs in your body that are involved in digestion. They’re responsible for what happens to food when it enters your mouth all the way until it leaves your body. While we can’t look inside to see how well our gut is functioning, there are certain lifestyle steps we can take to support our health from the inside.
- Include Probiotics in Your Diet: Probiotics are the good bacteria that live in your gut and by eating and drinking foods that include them, you can strengthen your immune system. Probiotics can be created when certain foods, like vegetables and milk, are fermented. In addition to yogurt and kefir (both dairy and non-dairy), you can also get probiotics in fermented vegetables, like kimchi and sauerkraut, as well as miso (fermented soybean paste) and kombucha. Start your day with a bowl of yogurt or a kefir smoothie, top a salad or grain bowl with some crunchy kimchi, or add miso to a recipe for a delicious way to get more probiotics in your diet.
Another way to improve your gut health is to take a probiotic supplement. Avon’s re:tune Daily Essentials Digestive Health can be a helpful tool for achieving gut health. This twice daily probiotic contains two strains to help support the growth of good gut bacteria.
- Include Prebiotics in Your Diet: Prebiotics feed the beneficial bacteria in your gut, so that they can flourish and do their job. You can get prebiotic fiber in plant-based foods like apples, bananas, kiwi, onions, Jerusalem artichokes, asparagus, whole grains and seeds. Aim to include these prebiotic-packed foods in your daily meal and snack routines.
- Get Regular Exercise: Daily movement, whether you like to run, walk, spin or practice yoga, is beneficial in so many ways. Surprisingly, it can also help support gut health. Get exercising on your own or connect with a friend. Having a workout buddy can help you stick to a fitness routine, plus it’s just more fun!
- Work on Your Sleep Hygiene: Are you getting enough sleep? Sleep supports brain health and gives your body (including your gut!) time to heal and repair after a long day.
Try these strategies to help you get a better night’s sleep:
- Turn off tech at least an hour before bed
- Limit caffeine in the afternoon
- Go easy on alcohol—it may relax you at first, but can disrupt sleep later on
- Keep your bedroom cool—ideally 65 degrees or so
- Go to bed at a consistent time each night
- If you’re still struggling to get some zzz's, melatonin can help. Check out re:tune Inner Beauty Restful Sleep to help with your beauty sleep.
- Prioritize Self-Care: Research has established a link between our gut and our emotions. Our brain influences the gut and vice versa. Include stress relief and self-care practices in your daily routine for overall health. Try these stress-reduction practices:
- Meditate: If you don’t know where or how to start, try just sitting quietly, with your eyes closed, in a comfortable spot for 10 minutes.
- Breathe: Try breathing in for four counts, holding your breath for four counts, and then slowly breathing out for four counts.
- Journal: Getting your thoughts on paper regularly can help you feel better and manage stress.
- Socialize: Spending time with people you trust can also help to boost our self-confidence and promote a healthy lifestyle.
As you can see, there are many ways to help your gastrointestinal system achieve peak performance. Try to include them all, but start by adding probiotics...after that, follow your gut.