Shortchanging your sleep can seriously impact your gut health. In fact, sleep and your circadian rhythms appear to affect the health and diversity of the bacteria in your gut. Strive to get seven to nine hours on uninterrupted sleep each night.
A diet rich in foods that foster growth and diversity of beneficial bacteria was shown in a 2018 study review by the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine to reduce the risk of leaky gut. Focus on Omega rich foods like fatty fish, healthy fats, fermented foods, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Whenever possible choose organic.
Staying hydrated has a beneficial effect on the mucosal lining of your intestine and can help keep your gut bacteria in balance. Aim to drink at least half your body weight in ounces of pure water daily to make sure you’re staying within the healthy hydration zone. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds you want to drink at least 75 ounces of water daily to stay within the healthy hydration zone.
Exercise can help limit inflammation in the gut while beneficially modyfing gut flora. Plus studies suggest that a good aerobic workout increases blood flow to the digestive organs. Consider jogging, swimming, biking, or dancing. One of the best choices is walking. Simply taking a 20 to 30 minute walk after dinner can kick-start sluggish digestion and normalize bowel activity.
Chronic stress impacts digestion and the bacterial balance in your intestinal tract, and this can effect the integrity of the intestinal barrier. Even an acute bout with stress can boost cortisol levels and increase permeability. Manage stress and improve intestinal health by tapping into relation techniques whenever life throws you a curve. While yoga and meditation are the most popular go to stress relievers, other techniques that may help restore a sense of calm to your gastrointestinal tract include hypnosis, progressive muscle relaxation, mental imaging, biofeedback, deep breathing, and even simply listening to some soothing music.
Studies have consistently shown that the occasional consumption of moderate amounts of alcohol can be a healthy thing. The key word in all of this is “moderate.” Other research has found that excessive drinking can have a direct negative impact on your intestinal barrier. What’s moderate? For women, that means no more than one drink per day, For men the limit is two per day.