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7 Hacks To Increase Your Gut Health

Wondering how to increase your gut health? Then, you're in the right place. Today, there is more talk of gut health and the gut microbiome than ever before. In this article, we'll talk about precisely what gut health means, learn more about the gut microbiome, and share seven of the most effective hacks to increase gut health, including with the help of vagus nerve stimulation at home.

What Is Gut Health?

First, let's start by defining gut health. Gut health refers to the balance of gut microbes and the gut's overall health. It's a hot topic of conversation because the gut microbiome has been linked to everything from immunity and inflammation to weight loss and mood.

What is the Gut Microbiome?

Your gut is home to trillions (yes—trillions!) of microbes, including bacteria, fungi, and viruses. These microbes are collectively known as the gut microbiome. The gut microbiome is integral to many aspects of health, including digestion, nutrient absorption, immune function, and more. If this delicate balance in the gut microbiome is disrupted, it can lead to a variety of health problems.

How Does Gut Health & Microbiome Affect Your Overall Health?

There are many ways in which gut health and the microbiome can affect overall health. For example, the microbes in the gut produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which are key for gut barrier function, immune function, and more. The gut microbiome also plays a primary role in nutrient absorption and digestion. In addition, the gut microbiome is involved in the production of certain vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B12 and vitamin K2.

Signs of Poor Gut Health

If you're wondering whether or not you have poor gut health, there are a few key signs to look out for. These include:

Digestive problems

This is a telltale sign of poor gut health. So if you're experiencing digestive issues like constipation, diarrhea, bloating, or gas, it's a good idea to get your gut checked out by a healthcare professional and start considering ways to improve your gut health.

Immune problems

If you find yourself getting sick often, it could be a sign that your gut microbiome is out of balance. A healthy gut microbiome is key to a robust immune system.

Skin problems

Another common sign of poor gut health is skin problems like eczema, psoriasis, and acne. This is because the gut microbiome plays a role in inflammation. When the gut microbiome is out of balance, it can lead to inflammation throughout the body, including in the skin.

Mood issues

There is a powerful connection between the gut and the brain, which is why poor gut health can lead to mood disorders like anxiety and depression. This is due to the fact that the gut produces essential neurotransmitters like serotonin and GABA.

Weight gain

If you're struggling to lose weight or find that you're gaining weight even though you're not eating more than usual, it could be a sign your gut microbiome is out of balance. This is because the gut microbiome affects metabolism, appetite, and satiety signals.

Now that we know a little bit more about gut health and the gut microbiome let's talk about some of the most effective hacks to increase gut health.

Components of Good Gut Health

When it comes to how to increase your gut health, there are a few key things to focus on:

  • The diversity of your gut microbiome. A diverse gut microbiome is associated with good health, while a lack of diversity has been linked to various diseases and conditions.
  • The balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut microbiome. An imbalance of good and bad bacteria has been linked to several diseases and conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, and inflammatory bowel disease.
  • The health of your gut barrier. This is a layer of cells that line the gastrointestinal tract. It acts as a barrier between the gut and the rest of the body and is important for maintaining gut health. A healthy gut barrier helps to keep harmful substances from entering the bloodstream and causing problems.

7 Hacks To Increase Your Gut Health

The following hacks all focus on one or more of these three key areas of gut health.

Healthy options: Incorporate more fermented foods

Fermented foods are an effective way to increase the diversity of your gut microbiome. They are also a good source of probiotics, which are live microorganisms that can have health benefits when consumed in adequate amounts. Some examples of fermented foods include yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, and pickles. Fermented foods are easy to add to your diet and can be found at most grocery stores.

Take a probiotic supplement

Probiotic supplements are another way to increase the diversity of your gut microbiome. They can also help to increase the number of good bacteria in your gut and restore the balance of good and bad bacteria. Probiotics come in many forms, including capsules, powders, and liquids. Look for a probiotic supplement that contains multiple strains of live microorganisms and has been third-party tested for quality. Some good probiotic supplements include Garden of Life Primal Defense Ultra, and Renew Life Ultimate Flora Critical Care 50.

Consume prebiotic foods

Prebiotics are a type of dietary fiber that acts as food for probiotics. They help to increase the number of good bacteria in the gut and promote the growth of beneficial microbes. Prebiotic foods include garlic, onions, bananas, asparagus, and oats. When you consume prebiotic foods, make sure to also consume a probiotic food or supplement so that the probiotics can multiply.

Lower stress levels

Chronic stress can have a negative impact on gut health. It can increase inflammation, disrupt the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut, and lead to leaky gut syndrome. To reduce stress, try implementing some relaxation techniques into your daily routine, such as mindfulness meditation, walking, massages, yoga, or deep breathing exercises. 

Did you know laughter can also help to reduce stress? Spend time with friends and family, watch a funny TV show or movie, or read a humorous book.

Exercise regularly

Exercise has many benefits for overall health, including gut health. It can help increase your gut microbiome's diversity and reduce inflammation. It can also help to improve gut barrier function and increase the number of good bacteria in the gut. Aim to exercise for 30 minutes on most days of the week.

Get enough sleep

Getting enough sleep is vital for overall health and can also help to improve gut health. Sleep deprivation has been linked to a number of gut problems, such as inflammation, leaky gut syndrome, and an imbalance of good and bad gut bacteria. To promote better sleep, establish a regular sleep schedule and avoid working or using electronic devices in bed. You should also avoid caffeine later in the day and create a relaxing bedtime routine.

Vagus nerve stimulation

Interestingly, the vagus nerve has been shown to play a role in gut health. Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is a therapy that involves electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve. This therapy has been used to treat a variety of conditions, including epilepsy and depression. In addition, some research suggests that VNS may also be effective for treating gut disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease.

By stimulating the vagus nerve, VNS can help to increase the number of good bacteria in the gut and reduce inflammation. It can also help to improve gut barrier function and increase the production of short-chain fatty acids. Learn more about how to try vagus nerve stimulation at home with the Xen device by Neuvana here.

Prebiotic vs probiotic

It's also worth discussing the difference between prebiotics and probiotics. Probiotics are live bacteria that are beneficial to gut health. You'll find them in abundance in fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut, or they can be taken as supplements. On the other hand, prebiotics are indigestible fibers that serve as food for probiotics and other beneficial microbes in the gut.

In terms of gut health, both prebiotics and probiotics are important. Probiotics introduce beneficial bacteria to the gut, while prebiotics help those beneficial bacteria to grow and thrive.

How to Increase Gut Health: FAQs

Next, let's go over a few other frequently asked questions about how to increase gut health.

What are the best probiotics for gut health?

There are many different types of probiotics, and the best one for you depends on your individual gut health needs. Some of the most popular probiotics include Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, and Lactobacillus reuteri.

What are the best foods for gut health?

The best foods for gut health are those that contain prebiotics and probiotics. Good examples include yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, and other fermented foods. You should also incorporate plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains into your diet.

What supplements can I take to improve gut health?

There are numerous supplements that can help to improve gut health. These include probiotics, prebiotics, omega-3 fatty acids, glutamine, and zinc.

How can I check the health of my gut?

There are a few different ways to check the health of your gut. These include stool tests, breath tests, and blood tests. You can also track your symptoms and how you feel overall. Speak to your doctor if you're concerned about your gut health and would like to assess where it stands.

How can I increase good gut bacteria?

You can boost the number of good bacteria in your gut by consuming probiotics and prebiotics, exercising regularly, sleeping enough, and reducing stress. You can also try vagus nerve stimulation.

Should I be worried about gut health?

There isn't necessarily a need to worry about gut health unless you are experiencing symptoms or problems that concern you. However, everyone can benefit from increasing their gut health. Doing so can improve digestion, increase nutrient absorption, boost immunity, and more.

Conclusion: How to Increase Gut Health

There are many straightforward lifestyle changes you can make to improve your gut health. These include eating fermented foods, taking probiotic supplements, consuming prebiotic foods, lower stress levels, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and managing your anxiety. By implementing these hacks into your daily routine, you can increase the diversity of your gut microbiome, improve gut barrier function, and reduce inflammation.