Ten trillion. That’s the number of bacteria, good and bad, that are alive and well in your body. A good portion of them reside in your gut. When in balance, they regulate your digestive system, keep your immune system strong and promote a positive mood. When they’re out of balance…well, you know…you feel it. And it’s unpleasant, to put it lightly.
Maintaining a healthy, balanced gut isn’t hard, but requires some planning and deliberate action. Every day stressors, diet, prescription medications and food intolerances can all wreak havoc on your belly, and in turn your happiness. Other than finding ways to relax and unwind, some of the easiest ways to rebalance your digestive system and feel better overall come down being choosy with what you put in your body, what you do with your body, and what you don’t. Four of our favorite ways to do balance your belly bugs are:
Consume Cultured and Fermented Foods
Our favorite recommendation of the bunch, consuming foods that contain live and active probiotic cultures, like kefir, have been shown to help improve digestive flora. Kefir contains probiotics that help replenish the natural bacterial balance, which makes digestion more efficient and easier. So drink up.
Fill Up on Fiber-rich, Prebiotic Foods
Prebiotics are carbohydrates that aren’t digestible by the human body. Instead, the act as food sources for probiotics, increasing their activity and affect on the digestive system. Plus, foods loaded with fiber are shown to help keep you full longer.
Take a Deep Breath…Then Let it Go
If you’ve ever reached into the freezer after a stressful day of work and devoured a bar of chocolate, you know that stress affects your appetite and your will power. That’s not the worst: studies show that stress decreases your body’s immune system by lowering the number of beneficial bacteria in the body. Respond by taking a break, unwinding and letting go. Try yoga, a relaxing sauna or a walk outside.
Be Careful with Antibiotics
Prescription antibiotics provide relief from infections for many people. They should be taken in accordance to a medical professional’s advice because they not only destroy bad bacteria, but the good bacteria as well. Be sure you are using antibiotics only as directed, and to drink some kefir when you’re done!