Good intestinal health is in your own hands
It is often thought that you have to take many types of supplements to improve your intestinal flora. From different types of fiber complexes to vitamins, minerals and probiotics. They certainly do not form the basis for good intestinal health and can sometimes even cause additional complaints due to the side effects. With the help of the tips below, you can optimize your intestinal flora in a natural way and you can therefore control it yourself.
1. Drink plenty of water and herbal teas
Everyone knows that drinking enough water is important, but why? Water serves as a means of transport to bring nutrients into the cells and to provide you with energy. It is also a building material, that helps to detoxify the intestines and keeps the body at the right temperature. Therefore, drink at least 1.5-2 liters of water per day; preferably not with or just after a meal, but between meals. You can also take herbal tea from, for example, turmeric, fresh ginger, chamomile, or mint. Lukewarm water with lemon can also be wonderfully refreshing.
2. Choose the right fiber in food for a better intestinal function
Dietary fibers are very important because they are a food source for the good bacteria in our gut. It converted these fibers into useful substances that can be used, for example, as an energy source by the cell wall. Fiber also helps to attract moisture, which is essential for proper bowel movements.
It is important to see which type of fiber you mainly consume. Insoluble fibers are not broken down by the intestinal bacteria and are mainly found in whole-grain cereal products (including bread, crackers, breakfast cereals, pasta, rice), beans, cabbage, carrots and bran. We quickly eat too much of this group and can therefore cause intestinal complaints. Soluble fiber is mainly found in vegetables, fruits and legumes and should make up the majority of your fiber intake.
3. Chew each bite at least 30 times
You have probably heard that you have to chew well, but very few people realize how important this is for good intestinal health. If you chew only five times on each bite, a lot of food remains enter the gastrointestinal tract in chunks. Fewer nutrients can be obtained from your diet and you have a greater chance of having problems with bowel movements.
Therefore, try to chew 30 times on each bite or only swallow it when your food slurry is liquid. During chewing, food enzymes are released into the saliva to help digest carbohydrates and nutrients can also be better absorbed. Do you think this is too big a step? Then start counting how often you chew one meal a day. It all starts with awareness.
4. Make eating a relaxing moment
It’s not just what you eat that matters, but how you eat. Do you notice that you often eat in a hurry or are doing something else in the meantime? This has a negative effect on your gut health. Digestion can only work properly if you are at rest. Watching TV while eating, thinking about what you still have to do or working on your smartphone actually activates the central nervous system. These activities take precedence, which puts your digestive system to the test. Make it a habit to take the time and attention before the meal and enjoy it.
5. Limit stress and deal with it effectively
Stress does not have a good effect on the gut. You may recognize that if you are very nervous about something, your stomach will start to hurt faster. This also has to do with the connection between the brain and gut; the brain-gut axis. This means that if you are stressed, your intestines can also be stressed.
They also call the gut the second brain and many similar substances are also produced, such as Dopamine (happiness hormone). At times of stress, the production of hormones is disrupted, which can cause intestinal complaints and make you feel less comfortable in your own skin. Limit stress and deal with it effectively by taking regular breaks and doing something for yourself.
6. Get enough sleep and thus reduce your intestinal complaints
In the case of intestinal complaints, the importance of sufficient sleep is often underestimated. A good night’s sleep is important for the recovery of the body and can also help against physical and psychological complaints. When your body is tired, digestion can do its job less well and this can cause intestinal complaints.
Sleep deprivation can also adversely alter the gut bacteria composition, resulting in sub-optimal gut flora. In addition, if you are not well-rested, you are extra sensitive to stimuli, which can also cause abdominal pain. Therefore, try to sleep at least 8 hours a day and go to bed and get up at regular times. The quality of your sleep is also important.
7. Avoid sugary foods and alcohol as much as possible
Sugar and alcohol are really disastrous for your intestinal flora. They actually create bad bacteria in the intestines and can therefore cause intestinal complaints earlier. You may also recognize that after a night out you have a bad bowel movement the next day. Bubbling bowels are also more likely to occur after eating sugary foods, such as cookies, sweets, pastries, ice cream, and products made from white flour. Limit alcohol and sugar as much as possible and certainly do not do it every day. Smoking also has the same effect on the intestines.