Dr. Kelly Roan believes one of the best ways to improve overall health and boost the immune system is to prioritize gut health. Fortunately, anyone can make small lifestyle and dietary changes that instantly improve their gut health. Today, Kelly Roan, DO, will touch on a few simple changes people can make that can lead to a noticeable difference in comfort level. When it comes to more drastic dietary changes, Kelly Roan, DO, notes that a person should always consult with their personal doctor first.
Many people will take a daily probiotic supplement to boost their gut health. These supplements are typically over-the-counter purchases at local drug stores. Those who are leery about taking a supplement can get their probiotics naturally by consuming a few different foods. Kelly Roan, DO, notes that foods known for supplying natural probiotics include:
- Fermented Vegetables
The reason the medical community often recommends probiotics is that they feed on nondigestible carbohydrates, which are commonly referred to as prebiotics. Having a presence of prebiotics in our guts help probiotics do their job more effectively. Several common foods feature prebiotics, including bananas, garlic, onions, and most whole grains.
Dr. Kelly Roan notes that everything a person consumes will play a role in the human digestive process. As much as people enjoy sugars and artificial sweeteners, too much of these elements can cause a serious imbalance of one’s gut microbes. Artificial sweeteners have also been linked to increased risk of heart disease and diabetes, so Dr. Kelly Roan recommends natural sugar when a person has to choose between the two.
Much like gut health is an indicator of overall well-being, stress levels significantly impact all aspects of a person’s health. Dr. Kelly Roan believes people should prioritize maintaining a healthy sleep schedule to lower their overall stress levels. When a person is overly stressed, the microorganisms in the intestines are disrupted. Believe it or not, stress management techniques like deep breathing exercises and meditation can help improve overall gut health.
People who are very health conscious will often turn to medication rather quickly. One of the worst things a person can do for their gut health is take antibiotics when they do not need them. Antibiotics not only combat harmful bacterial infections, but they can also damage some beneficial bacteria. Dr. Kelly Roan recommends avoiding antibiotics unless they are absolutely necessary to recover from an illness. When people carry excess weight, it causes the heart to work harder. Working out and keeping a certain level of cardiovascular activity can help a person maintain a healthy weight and improve their overall gut health.
The chemicals a person is exposed to can play a factor in overall gut health. Certain disinfectant cleaning products have chemicals that can lead to a number of health issues. Making the switch to organic cleaning products can help lower the risk of certain microbes impacting stomach health. Organic eating can also help a person better control what microbes are entering their gut. People will often switch to a vegetarian lifestyle to avoid some common harmful microbes that can be found in red meat or poultry.
Finally, Dr. Kelly Roan recommends avoiding smoking and drinking when looking to prioritize gut health. Both smoking and drinking are often the root cause of digestive system disorders like heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease. Smoking also causes an increased risk of contracting Crohn’s disease, colon cancer, pancreatitis, and even gallstones.