There are hundreds of different bacteria that live in your gut. The reason you are able to digest food and absorb its nutrients is because of those bacteria. But only some of the gut bacteria are good for your body. It is the reason why eating certain foods and avoiding bad habits can make a huge difference to your gut health over time.
Here are five things that you may be doing that could damage the gut bacteria in your body:
1. Lack of Food Diversity
When you are eating many different kinds of healthy foods, you are engaging in behavior that is good for your gut. A diet that has many whole foods, like vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and vegetables, is great for your body.
Getting enough fiber, adding healthy fats, including probiotics and other helpful nutrients will make all the difference to the bacteria in your gut. Even if you are being healthy, eating the same few foods is not great, as it can limit the types of good bacteria in your gut.
Studies have shown that people in Africa and South America have more diverse ranges of good bacteria in their gut, compared to people who eat a European or North American diet.
2. Not Enough Prebiotics
We touched on diet above, but prebiotics deserves its own section because of its importance.
A type of fiber that passes through your body without digestion prebiotics can make a world of difference to your body. These foods include lentils, oats, bananas, garlic, onions and nuts.
Make sure that you are getting enough of these in your diet. Diversity is the key. Do not just pick one or two and eat them all the time. That is a good start, but eating all the possible prebiotics during the year is what will promote the most diverse range of good bacteria in your gut.
3. Excessive Alcohol Consumption
If you are going to drink alcohol regularly, you should look at red wine as the best option. Studies have shown that moderate red wine consumption can promote good bacteria growth in your body.
In contrast, other types of alcohol will damage your gut bacteria in numerous ways. Not only will they limit good bacteria, but they also promote the growth of bad bacteria in your body. Anything more than a drink a day is not good for your body.
4. Being Sedentary
If you are not moving around during the day and getting in 30 to 45 minutes of serious exercise a few times a week, you are giving your gut a lot of problems. Studies have shown that when people are sedentary, a lack of activity results in less helpful bacteria in your gut.
You will have diverse gut flora in your body when you are a healthy weight, exercising regularly and eating a good diet. Exercise is a key part of the equation. Try to make more time in your life for exercise, ensuring that you are adding those healthy bacteria back into your gut.
Cigarettes can kill you in more than one way. They are bad for your lungs, brain, heart and other organs. They are also bad for your gut, as they can promote the onset of inflammatory bowel disease. They can also limit healthy gut flora, which is why you should try and quit immediately if you still smoke.