From nutrition to stress management: 5 ways to improve digestive health
The care of the microbiota is considered through aspects as fundamental as healthy nutrition or correct stress management. “The objective is to maintain a balance and a high biodiversity in the microbiota. Each person has a different microbiota and it is very sensitive to changes, both physical and emotional, ”warns Dr. Ámina Alani, an expert in digestive health at SHA Wellness Clinic.
Our body is home to about 100 billion bacteria of about 400 different species. And the microbiota feeds on nutrients that we ingest through our diet. Therefore, it is very important to eat a balanced diet that guarantees the adequate supply of these nutrients. But also physical activity and emotional management.
- Increase consumption of prebiotic foods
The prebiotics are basically vegetable fibers acting as fertilizers to promote healthy growth and development of bacteria in the gut.
Eating prebiotics favors the growth of these bacteria by providing different substrates. Their action takes place in the large intestine or colon, where the bacteria of the intestinal microbiota ferment them.
We can find them in many fruits and vegetables, especially those that contain good levels of complex carbohydrates. They are naturally present in foods such as vegetables, greens, fruits, cereals, legumes or nuts, among others.
- Take more probiotic foods
The probiotics are foods or supplements that contain live microorganisms with the aim of promoting good bacteria of our organism. Generally, they have a high fiber content and favor the improvement of the balance of these microorganisms.
There are foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, miso or kombucha that enrich the microbiota. Vegetable and fermented yogurts in general are also other very interesting natural probiotics.
- Learn to manage stress
Mental stress is synonymous with stress on the microbiota and vice versa. Therefore, managing stress and our emotions is very important for our digestive health.
According to a study conducted in Canada and published in the journal Nature Communications , the gut microbiota could play a key role in the development of psychological disorders such as depression or anxiety.
- Do exercise
According to a 2017 review, exercise increases microbial diversity regardless of diet. Thus, the microbiota of athletes may be related to the protein content of the diet.
“The alterations of the microbiota as a result of the exercise are more substantial in the first stages of the life in comparison with the later ones. Exercise capacity can be influenced by the presence of a diverse microbiota ”, explains the work.
And he adds: "High-fat diets increase intestinal inflammation and exercise reduces this inflammation and can improve the integrity of the intestinal epithelium."
Recently, other studies have shown that some of the lactate produced during exercise can positively affect certain intestinal microorganisms.
- Adequate rest
Several important works suggest that sleep is influenced by the state of the gut microbiota, since both mechanisms are constantly related and interact.
A poorer and less diverse microbiota significantly reduces the duration and quality of sleep and, in turn, poor sleep hygiene and altered circadian rhythms and sleep-wake cycles lead to intestinal dysbiosis.