How to Improve Gut Health and Digestion + Why It’s Important

Apr 04, 2024Contributing Editor


There's a significant distinction between experiencing an upset stomach and having poor gut health. Dyspepsia occurs when your digestive system is impaired, potentially leading to serious health problems. However, there's no need to worry! By improving your gut health, you can help reduce these risks. There are a few ways you can improve your digestion, including by taking probiotics. But first, let’s take a look at what is gut health and why a healthy gut is important.


What is Gut Health? 

Gut health refers to the balance and diversity of the trillions of microorganisms living in your digestive tract, mainly your gut. These microbes, mostly bacteria, play a crucial role in digestion, nutrient absorption, immune function, and even mood. A healthy gut microbiome means having a thriving population of "good" bacteria working in harmony while keeping potentially harmful ones in check.


Benefits of Proper Gut Health 

Your gut and the bacteria that reside in it play major roles in your body and health. Having a healthy gut microbiome helps your digestive system. It may also benefit your brain, heart, and intestinal health. But how can one aspect of your health impact so much? Let’s take a closer look. 


Healthy gut bacteria promote proper digestion of foods. Some types of bacteria digest fiber to produce short-chain fatty acids. These are super important for your health. This may help prevent weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer risk.

Brain Health 

Research suggests that healthy gut bacteria may affect your central nervous system. This controls your brain function. Indeed, certain types of bacteria may help your body produce neurotransmitters. These regulate mood, stress, sleep patterns, and more. Your gut is also connected to your brain through nerves. This means it may also help control messages sent through these pathways. 

Heart Health 

The foods you eat affect your heart, but so do the bacteria in your gut! A study found that a healthy gut microbiome promoted good cholesterol and triglycerides. However, unhealthy strains may increase your risk for heart disease. They do this by producing a chemical that can lead to blocked arteries. 

Intestinal Health 

Proper gut health may improve intestinal issues. Strains of bacteria such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli help seal gaps between your intestinal cells. This may prevent leaky gut syndrome and help reduce symptoms of IBS. 

How to Improve Gut Health 

Our gut is important for overall health. So, how can you make changes if you have poor digestion and gut health? The first step is to understand that digestion doesn’t begin in the stomach alone; it extends from your mouth down through your body. Let’s delve into some ways you can improve your digestion and gut health.

  1. Chew Your Food Thoroughly: Digestion begins as soon as you start chewing your food. The movement stimulates your saliva glands, which contain digestive enzymes that initiate the breakdown of food before it reaches your stomach. However, if you don't chew enough, your mouthful of food won’t mix adequately with saliva, putting more strain on your gut and making it work harder.
  2. Eat Probiotic-Rich Foods: As discussed earlier, healthy gut bacteria provide numerous health benefits, including promoting proper digestion. A normal digestive tract typically harbors around 400 types of probiotics. These beneficial microorganisms help inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria and provide protection against the side effects of antibiotics, which can eliminate both good and bad bacteria. Probiotics may help prevent issues such as diarrhea, gas, and cramping caused by these disruptions.
  3. Add fiber to your diet: Increase intake of fiber-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes
  4. Limit the Nasties: Processed foods, sugar, unhealthy fats, and artificial sweeteners can disrupt your gut balance. Minimize their intake and prioritize whole, natural foods.
  5. Hydrate: Water is essential for digestion and keeps things moving smoothly. Aim for at least 8 glasses daily.

Probiotic Gut Health Foods That Can Help

Probiotics are microorganisms that inhabit certain foods. It's important to note that bifidobacteria and lactobacillus are particularly beneficial for your digestive system. Let’s take a look at some probiotic foods that are good for your gut. 

  • Yogurt with active cultures: Good sources of lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria.
  • Kefir: Contains various strains of beneficial bacteria and yeast.
  • Sauerkraut: Fermented by lactic acid.
  • Tempeh: Contains phytic acid levels that facilitate mineral absorption.
  • Kimchi: Contains lactic acid bacteria, including lactobacillus kimchi, among others.
  • Kombucha: Fermented by friendly bacteria and yeast colonies.
  • Pickles: Fermented with their lactic acid bacteria.

Don’t worry if you’re lactose intolerant; kefir is usually well-tolerated. Some yogurts may also be okay since the lactose gets converted into lactic acid. 

Final Thoughts 

Maintaining proper digestion and gut health is essential for overall well-being. These factors not only impact your gut but also influence your entire body, including your heart and brain. Improve your gut health by practicing thorough chewing, having frequent small meals, and incorporating both probiotics and fiber into your diet. 


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What are some signs of poor gut health?

Poor gut health may manifest as bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and discomfort after eating.

  1. Can I improve gut health through supplements?

Yes, certain supplements, such as (product 1), (product 2), and (product 3), can contribute to better gut health.

  1. Are there specific foods to avoid for a healthier gut?

Processed foods, excessive sugar, unhealthy fats, and artificial sweeteners can disrupt gut balance. Opt for whole, natural foods.

  1. How does gut health impact mental well-being?

A healthy gut can positively influence neurotransmitter production, affecting mood, stress, and sleep patterns.

  1. Can gut health affect weight management?

Yes, a balanced gut microbiome plays a role in preventing weight gain and related health issues.

Other Resources

For those who are curious, want to expand their knowledge, or just like keeping informed, here are some links to sites that you might like. These online resources come from institutions that hold a sterling reputation for their expertise and stringent standards for relevant information.

Dyspepsia. HealthLink BC. Retrieved from: 

Why the Gut Microbiome Is Crucial for Your Health. Healthline. Retrieved from: 

Digestive Health Basics. Healthline. Retrieved from: 

Probiotics. HealthLink BC. Retrieved from: 

11 Probiotic Foods That Are Super Healthy. Healthline. Retrieved from: 

Preventing Digestion Problems. Healthline. Retrieved from: 

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