Science-Based Ways To Improve Your Gut Bacteria


You have trillions of bacteria all over your body, but the ones in your gut may be the most influential on your health. The microorganisms living in and on your digestive tract are collectively called your gut microbiome. Gut bacteria influence your immunity, metabolic rate and even your mood.

The gut microbiome includes both beneficial and potentially dangerous bacteria. These bacteria live in harmony within the healthy human host. However, disturbances to this balance may make us more vulnerable to illness. So let's review some science-based ways to improve gut bacteria and enhance overall health.

Take probiotics

Probiotics are live microorganisms, typically bacteria, that promote a healthy balance of bacteria in the digestive tract. Scientific research has shown that probiotics can help reestablish gut health, especially for people with preexisting microbiome imbalances.

Probiotics are abundant in fermented foods. Consuming more fermented foods like pickles, kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut, and yogurt is one way to enhance your probiotic consumption. Yogurt is healthy for your gut if it is sugar-free and packed with live, active cultures.

Another alternative is to take a probiotic supplement. However, it is essential to consult your doctor before beginning a supplement regimen, particularly if you are already on prescription drugs or have other health conditions.

Eat prebiotic foods

Prebiotic meals are high in fiber or complex carbohydrates that human cells cannot break down. Instead, they are digested and used as fuel by specific kinds of bacteria in the digestive tract. As a result, good bacteria in the gut can flourish with the help of prebiotics.

Prebiotics can be found in many food sources, including fruits and whole grains. Vegetables, especially leafy green ones, contain a wealth of beneficial fibers. So, to improve your gut health, try eating more prebiotic-rich foods such as artichokes, asparagus, leeks, bananas, chickpeas, chicory, garlic, onions, and whole grains.

Consume less sugar and processed foods

Regular Consumption of a diet high in sugar or processed foods may result in an imbalance of gut bacteria. Harmful bacteria, which thrive on sugar, can quickly outnumber the beneficial ones. Scientists have shown that those who consume a lot of fast food and other processed meals have more harmful gut bacteria.

Granted, naturally occurring sugars, especially in fruit, can contribute to an imbalance. However, simple sugars found in soda, sweets, cakes, and even table sugars are the most harmful.

If you are seeking to cut down on sugar, keep an eye out for hidden sources. You might be surprised to find sugar in some unexpected foods. Smoothies, nut butter, protein bars, salad dressings, and even gut-favorite yogurt can contain a surprising amount of sugar.

Limit your use of antibiotics.

Just as probiotics are friends of your digestive tract, antibiotics are one of the worst foes. Antibiotics are effective in the treatment of some illnesses because they kill bacteria. However, they have serious adverse effects on gut bacteria and should be used cautiously to avoid harming your health.

A study found that six months after using antibiotics, the gut can still be deficient in several types of helpful bacteria. In light of this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC advises that before using antibiotics, patients consult with their doctors to review any potential side effects and other treatment choices.

Of course, when fighting off bacterial infections, antibiotics are often necessary. However, taking a probiotic every day is vital to help replenish your gut bacteria.