6 Tips on How to Maintain a Healthy Gut Flora

6 Tips on How to Maintain a Healthy Gut Flora

by Mathieu Millette, Ph. D., Mcb. A.
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Intestinal flora or the gut microbiota refers to the microorganisms and bacteria in your digestive system that line your digestive tract. Depending on your diet, lifestyle, medication, and other internal and outside factors, you may have a more or less diverse and healthy microbiota. In some cases, the balance in a person's microbiota may be altered, this is what we call dysbiosis. It can sometimes be difficult to restore gut health. In this article, we will look at what steps you can take to prevent dysbiosis, probiotics you can take, and how to have a healthy microbiota.

How to Take Care of Your Microbiota

Having a healthy microbiota is crucial for your overall health. Here are some ways to help restore gut health and improve digestion naturally and encourage balanced microbiota.

1. Change your diet

Having a healthy diet is one of the easiest things you can do to help your gut and support your digestive health. By making changes to your diet based on your dietary needs, you may be able to strengthen your digestive system and limit the growth of harmful bacteria in your digestive system. Limiting processed foods is a great first step. Processed food and artificial sweeteners might create an imbalance in the gut system by affecting gut bacteria and their metabolism. Increasing your intake of plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes is also a great thing to do, but it may be harder than it seems. If you notice symptoms showing up after you eat a particular food, you should consider seeing a registered dietitian. They can help you tailor a healthy diet that is right for you.

Some foods that you should consider adding to your diet are prebiotics and fermented foods such as yogurt, kimchi, and kombucha. Prebiotics-containing foods, like asparagus, bananas, onions, and whole grains, are great sources of fiber and help support the beneficial bacteria in your gut as well. The prebiotics contained in foods are a great way to support good bacteria that make up your gut microbiota.

2. Reduce stress

Stress is one of the biggest reasons for an unhealthy gut. Learn more about how stress and gut health intertwine.

3. Take probiotics

Taking a probiotic supplement can help promote digestive and immune health as well as support healthy intestinal flora. Bio-K+® products are available at different strengths to choose accordingly with your digestive goals. Whether you suffer from IBS, travel constipation, whatever it may be, read more about "what are probiotics." Also, try eating probiotic foods like yogurt, or fermented foods like kimchi and kombucha that naturally contain probiotic bacteria.

4. Exercise regularly

A 2014 medical study found that athletes had a larger variety of gut flora than nonathletes.4 While these athletes had a more varied diet than the control group, the results of certain studies like these have doctors encouraging exercise to restore a healthy gut. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that the average adult should engage in at least five days of 30-minute moderate-intensity workouts and at least two days of muscle strengthening exercises.

5.  Get enough sleep

It’s recommended that the average adult get at least seven hours of sleep per night. Several habits, like going to sleep at the same time each night and turning off electronics before bed may help you achieve better sleep hygiene. According to a recent clinical review, abnormal sleep patterns may be associated with dysbiosis.4

6. Avoid smoking

Smoking might alter your intestinal flora by increasing harmful bacteria and decreasing good bacteria in your gut. Quitting smoking can make a difference in the quality of bacteria in your digestive system.19

How long does it take to restore gut flora?

A 2018 study found that it took about six months to fully restore healthy gut flora after taking antibiotics.3 This finding seems to be true for healthier individuals without other digestive problems.

For those who suffer from severe digestive issues, it may takes longer to restore their gut health. The time it takes for individuals with "leaky gut" to restore their gut flora depends on a variety of factors like diet, stress, the severity of the condition, etc.

Conclusion

Restoring gut flora is essential to relieving symptoms like digestive issues, constant fatigue, unexplained weight loss or gain, and even autoimmune conditions. To help decrease these symptoms and build a healthier digestive system, you can become more aware of your diet and lifestyle, and consider taking probiotics like Bio-K+.

Bio-K+ has been researched and proven effective in supporting gut health in many conditions. Our probiotic products use a patented formula of Lactobacillus acidophilus CL1285®, Lacticaseibacillus casei LBC80R®, and Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus CLR2® strains. These strains work effectively together and address digestive and immune health. To learn more about probiotic strains, read more about the best probiotic strains and their benefits.

After reading this article, we hope that you know more about the benefits of having a healthy gut and what steps you can take to achieve this. 

 

Sources:

  1. "What's an Unhealthy Gut? How Gut Health Affects You" Healthline, https://www.healthline.com/health/gut-health.
  2. "Autoimmune Diseases: Types, Symptoms, Causes, and More" Healthline,, https://www.healthline.com/health/autoimmune-disorders.
  3. Mohr, Alex E et al. “The athletic gut microbiota.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition vol. 17,1 24. 12 May. 2020, doi:10.1186/s12970-020-00353-w
  4. 5 Palleja, A., Mikkelsen, K.H., Forslund, S.K. et al. Recovery of gut microbiota of healthy adults following antibiotic exposure. Nat Microbiol 3, 1255-1265 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41564-018-0257-9.
  5. 5 Zhang, Yu-Jie et al. "Impacts of gut bacteria on human health and diseases." International journal of molecular sciences vol. 16,4 7493-519. 2 Apr. 2015, doi:10.3390/ijms16047493,, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4425030/
  6. Alcock, Joe et al. "Is eating behavior manipulated by the gastrointestinal microbiota? Evolutionary pressures and potential mechanisms." BioEssays : news and reviews in molecular, cellular and developmental biology vol. 36,10 (2014): 940-9. doi:10.1002/bies.201400071, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4270213/.
  7. Markowiak, Paulina, and Katarzyna Śliżewska. "Effects of Probiotics, Prebiotics, and Synbiotics on Human Health." Nutrients vol. 9,9 1021. 15 Sep. 2017, doi:10.3390/nu9091021, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5622781/.
  8. InformedHealth.org [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. Using medication: Using antibiotics correctly and avoiding resistance. 2008 Nov 14 [Updated 2013 Dec 18]. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK361005/.
  9. Ciorba, Matthew A. "A gastroenterologist's guide to probiotics." Clinical gastroenterology and hepatology : the official clinical practice journal of the American Gastroenterological Association vol. 10,9 (2012): 960-8. doi:10.1016/j.cgh.2012.03.024, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3424311/.
  10. Ko, Chih-Yuan et al. “Gut microbiota in obstructive sleep apnea-hypopnea syndrome: disease-related dysbiosis and metabolic comorbidities.” Clinical science (London, England : 1979) vol. 133,7 905-917. 12 Apr. 2019, doi:10.1042/CS20180891https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4434546/
  11. 13 Lee, Su Hwan et al. "Association between Cigarette Smoking Status and Composition of Gut Microbiota: Population-Based Cross-Sectional Study." Journal of clinical medicine vol. 7,9 282. 14 Sep. 2018, doi:10.3390/jcm7090282, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6162563/.

 


Mathieu Millette
About the author
Mathieu Millette, Ph. D., Mcb. A.
Graduated with honors from INRS-Armand-Frappier Institute, Dr Mathieu Millette is an authority on probiotics for the last 20 years.
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