Your gut is essential to your overall health and affects your immune system, nutrition, and well-being.
So you should think about promoting good gut health – but what does that mean? Our team here at Lakeland Surgical Clinic, PLLC, located in Jackson, Mississippi, offers the following expert advice when it comes to promoting good gut health and reducing your risk or easing symptoms of issues like acid reflux and hemorrhoids.
Here are some basics about gut health and how you can best support yours.
Your gut is the digestive tract and spans from your mouth to your anus. It includes the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, colon, and rectum.
Gut health refers to the bacteria that exist within the digestive tract, much of which are concentrated in your large intestine. The bacteria is known as your gut microbiome, and when it’s off balance, so are many other systems in your body.
If your gut bacteria is off, you may be one of the 60-70 million people experiencing digestive disease. These gut-related issues can cause health problems beyond your digestive tract and may show up as:
Supporting gut health means helping your body find balance in the gut bacteria. Good bacteria thrive when you have lots of soluble and insoluble fiber, while bad bacteria feed on processed foods and simple sugar.
Foods that can lead to an abundance of bad bacteria include processed sugars, processed foods, and alcohol. That means that if you want to restore a more healthy gut microbiome, you should cut back on sugary snacks like cookies, soda, and energy bars. Processed foods, like white bread, fast food, and pre-made meals, are also more likely to encourage the growth of bad bacteria.
Whole grains, garlic, onions, yogurt, and other fermented foods, such as sauerkraut and kombucha, promote good bacteria in your gut.
The more whole foods you consume the better. That means more options like brown rice, oats, fresh vegetables and fruits, beans, and lean meats or tofu.
A plant-based diet focused on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is especially supportive of gut health.
Some medications can significantly impact your gut bacteria balance. Antibiotics, for example, can wipe out the good bacteria in your gut.
Certain medications, like antacids, can lead to an imbalance of good and bad bacteria, too.
If you are on antibiotics or acid-reducing medications, talk to us about how these drugs may affect your gut health and what you can do about it. For example, certain strains of probiotics can help you maintain better gut health, but always talk to us before adding supplements to your diet. The wrong ones may do more harm than good.
Your daily habits impact your gut health, too. Take efforts to reduce stress, like meditation or breathing exercises. Make sleep a priority.
Physical activity, including daily walking, also helps keep your digestive tract moving so you avoid problems like constipation that can make you uncomfortable or lead to complications like hemorrhoids.
We here at Lakeland Surgical Clinic, PLLC, are ready to help you take the steps to support good gut health. Call the office or use this website to set up an appointment today.