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4 Ways to Improve Your Gut Health Naturally

It is well known that our digestive system plays a significant role in our overall health. A well-functioning digestive system allows you to receive fuel, nutrients, and water from what you consume and eliminate waste. It has also been associated with other vital roles within the body, for example, influencing mood, immune function, and mental health. Did you know 70-80% of immune cells are present in the gut?1 The digestive system also houses our intestinal microbiome. 


Your microbiome affects your overall health.

Our microbiome is an ecosystem comprising trillions of microorganisms consisting of bacteria, viruses, and fungi unique to you. 

Much like a disturbance of an environmental ecosystem, changes in the diversity and the composition of the intestinal microbiota disrupt our health. Fortunately, evidence-based natural ingredients and lifestyle interventions are available to improve our gut health and protect our microbial diversity. 



How can I restore my gut health naturally?

An individual's diet and lifestyle directly influence the health and diversity of microorganisms within the gut. The following diet and lifestyle tips are a great way to have a positive impact. 

1. Eat diverse natural foods
 
You’re not only eating to fuel your body, but you’re also eating to feed the microbiome.
Interestingly, evidence shows that those who consume more than 30 different types of plants/vegetables each week have a much more diverse microbiome than those who consume 10 or fewer types of plants weekly.2 A diet rich in plant-based fibres will fuel your beneficial organisms to maintain gut microbial diversity and health. 

2. Manage your stress levels

Observational studies have shown that psychological stress is associated with an altered microbiome in humans.3 When you experience stress, your body releases cortisol and adrenaline, both stress hormones. Exposure over long periods causes numerous concerns for the body, including gut inflammation.4 Incorporating stress reduction techniques reduces the whole body’s exposure to stress hormones, including beneficial microbes, resulting in better health and well-being. 

3. Enjoy Fermented Foods 
Fermentation relies upon bacteria to break down carbohydrates in food or liquid. This bacterium can have a probiotic action and contribute to the diversity of microbes within your gut. Probiotic-fermented foods are increasingly popular and accessible from your local supermarket or health food store. The following is a list of common fermented foods.  

  • Natural pot set yogurt 
  • Milk or water kefir- A drink made from kefir grains, full of probiotics.
  • Kombucha – a drink from fermented, lightly effervescent black tea
  • Sauerkraut – German-origin finely fermented cut raw cabbage. 
  • Miso – seasoning, Japanese in origin fermented soya beans. 
  • Tempeh – Traditional Indonesian food made from fermented soybeans used like Tofu. 
  • Kimchi –Korean origin made by fermenting cabbage and carrots added to many dishes.  
  • Pickles- As a vegetable preserve, sweet and tangy, great in salads and sandwiches. 

red liquid in clear glass jar

4. Incorporate key ingredients that support gut health.
Extensive research has been conducted exploring the health benefits of edible brown seaweed, such as Undaria pinnatifida, specifically on gut and digestive health. For example, research published in February 2023 examined the ability of high-purity fucoidans (a bioactive component from Undaria pinnatifida) to decolonise pathogenic bacteria (remove harmful amounts of bacteria) and support a healthy gut microbiome.5 Another investigation found that fucoidans support microbiota composition and consequently control gut inflammatory symptoms.6
This research suggests that supplementing the diet with seaweed containing high-purity fucoidan balances intestinal bacteria and reduces gut inflammation. 
 


Our understanding of the complexity of the gut microbiome on human health increases year after year. We know that by improving your microbial diversity, you can improve your intestinal microbiome, which will reward you in all areas of health. So, enjoy eating all that nature offers through a plant-based diet, make a habit of stress-reducing practices, and incorporate ingredients such as Australian organic, high-quality fucoidan-containing seaweed to protect and improve your gut health naturally! 

 


References

1 Wiertsema SP, van Bergenhenegouwen J, Garssen J, Knippels LMJ. The Interplay between the Gut Microbiome and the Immune System in the Context of Infectious Diseases throughout Life and the Role of Nutrition in Optimizing Treatment Strategies. Nutrients. 2021 Mar 9;13(3):886. doi: 10.3390/nu13030886. PMID: 33803407; PMCID: PMC8001875.

2 Buschman H, Bright D. Big Data from World’s Largest Citizen Science Microbiome Project Serves Food for Thought. [Internet]. San Diego (CA): UC San Diego School of Medicine. 2018 [cited 2018 July 05]. Available from: https://health.ucsd.edu/news/releases/Pages/2018-05-15-big-data-from-worlds-largest-citizen-science-microbiome-project-serves-food-for-thought.aspx

3 Michael T. Bailey, Scot E. Dowd, Jeffrey D. Galley, Amy R. Hufnagle, Rebecca G. Allen, Mark Lyte, Exposure to a social stressor alters the structure of the intestinal microbiota: Implications for stressor-induced immunomodulation, Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, Volume 25, Issue 3, 2011, Pages 397-407, ISSN 0889-1591, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbi.2010.10.023.

4 Guilliams TG. The role of stress and the HPA axis in chronic disease management. Point Institute, Stevens point (WI). 2015;80.

5 Janapatla, R.P., Dudek, A., Chen, CL. et al. Marine prebiotics mediate decolonization of Pseudomonas aeruginosa from gut by inhibiting secreted virulence factor interactions with mucins and enriching Bacteroides population. J Biomed Sci 30, 9 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12929-023-00902-w

6 Yang JY, Lim SY. Fucoidans and Bowel Health. Mar Drugs. 2021 Jul 30;19(8):436. doi: 10.3390/md19080436. PMID: 34436275; PMCID: PMC8401300.