The health of your gut affects not only your digestion, but the overall health of your body.
Today, your McAllen pharmacists at Saenz Pharmacy will impress you with our gut knowledge and let you know how you can improve yours.
Why Is Gut Health So Important?
Your gut is your entire gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) and all the bacteria inside of it. The health of your gut depends on how that bacteria functions and balances out within your GI tract.
Your gut is responsible for breaking down all the food you eat and then sending it into the bloodstream to nourish your body. This only runs seamlessly if you have a healthy gut.
Other benefits of a healthy gut include:
- Healthy immune cells that fight off bacteria, viruses, and fungi
- Nerve and hormone communication to the brain to help maintain general health
How Do You Know If I Have an Unhealthy Gut?
It is normal for everyone to deal with mild digestive issues every now and then. Certain symptoms that are cause for concern include:
- Persistent constipation or diarrhea
- Consistent bloating and gas
- Exhaustion or fatigue
- Changes in weight
- Itchiness or rashes on the skin
- Feeling anxious or depressed
All of these symptoms could be a sign of an underlying problem and you should notify your doctor if you are experiencing any of them.
How To Improve Your Gut Health
1. Eat Gut-Healthy Foods
The three main food categories you should be eating from for gut health are fiber, probiotics, and prebiotics.
Fiber is necessary when it comes to staying regular. It is responsible for the speed at which your food moves through your gut. Some examples of fiber are:
- Legumes (chickpeas, lentils, and split peas)
- Berries (raspberries and blackberries)
- Whole grains (barley, bran, and bulgar)
Probiotics are known as good bacteria that fight against infection-causing organisms contained in certain foods that we eat. Types of probiotics include:
There are also over-the-counter probiotic supplements that you can take along with your diet. It is always best to consult your pharmacist on the best option for you.
The purpose of prebiotics is to nourish the healthy bacteria on your gut. Some examples of prebiotics would be:
By adding these foods into your everyday diet, you will see a positive impact in your gut health.
2. Clean Out Your Colon
The food we eat every day can cause us to suffer from various digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), chronic constipation, bloating, and irregular bowel movements. By cleaning out your colon, you are essentially getting rid of the waste and starting fresh. Here are some ways to cleanse your colon:
- Increase your dietary fiber
- Drink lots of water
- Add omega-3 fatty acids into your diet
The best way to cleanse your colon is naturally and not with over-the-counter products that are advertised as colon cleansers.
3. Bring Your Stress Levels Down
Stress is directly associated with your immune response and digestive system. High amounts of stress can put a lot of pressure on your immune system, making it difficult for your body to perform at its best. To lower your stress levels, we suggest:
- Focus on your breathing
- Do activities that you enjoy
- Ask for help
Everyone deals with stress on a daily basis, but the important thing is how you choose to handle that stress.
When thinking about gut health, you tend to think of diet and not exercise. But physical activity can greatly benefit the health of your gut. Research has shown that high-intensity workouts can increase the efficiency at which oxygen is delivered to your tissues, and has a positive impact on the presence of your gut bacteria. If you’re looking for exercise ideas, you may want to try:
- Going on a walk around your neighborhood or mall
- Biking with a spouse or family
- Taking a yoga class
- Gardening in your backyard
- Cleaning around your house
Even if it begins with chores around your house, getting your body moving can greatly impact the health of your gut.
Go With Your Gut and Start Improving Your Health With the Help of Saenz Pharmacy!
If you’re looking to improve your gut health, but don’t know where to start, give your local McAllen pharmacy a call and we’ll be glad to offer you assistance.