In the rush to meet the demands of everyday life, we may or may not get a chance to reflect on the state of our health until something goes awry. When it comes to symptoms like bloating, gas, diarrhea, or constipation, men tend to ignore them or joke about them. In many cases, these occurrences are taken in stride, and we move on. However, sometimes, they may be indicative of an underlying condition that begs medical attention and should not be ignored.
Good gut health lays the foundation for overall good health. When your gut is functioning top-notch, both your mind and body are getting the full benefit of all the nutrients your gut absorbs. Plus, with a healthy gut, your body ups its immune function game and helps keep chronic diseases at bay.
The gut and the mind are also interconnected and have a constant dialogue. Getting “that gut feeling” about something or someone, or “butterflies in the stomach,” before a big day indicates that your gut-brain axis is at work. A healthy gut is mandatory for a healthy body as well as mind.
Here are our top 3 tips for men to maintain a healthy gut
1. Diversify your gut microbiome
The term “gut microbiome” refers to the trillions of microorganisms that reside in our gut. It is now recognized to be an organ in its own right, exerting an influence on our immune response, mood, metabolism, and overall health. A healthy gut microbiome reduces the risk of developing diabetes, obesity, depression, or even cancer.
The more diverse your gut microbial composition, the better. A diet rich in fiber, legumes, whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables helps achieve a varied and balanced gut microbial population. Stay away from junk food, excessive alcohol consumption, sugars and artificial sweeteners, and fad diets.
2. Consume prebiotics and probiotics to boost “good bacteria” counts
The abundance of antibiotics in our environment and high-protein foods such as meat, dairy, and poultry has the unfortunate side-effect of killing beneficial gut bacteria, leading to a host of problems. Probiotics can be used to counteract this, and restore gut microbial balance.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that colonize your gut and boost gut health and function. They can be obtained from fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, or live culture yogurt, for instance. Kombucha is another popularly consumed source of probiotics. Probiotic supplements are also available.
Prebiotics are what feed probiotics: They are (often) fiber-rich foods that are instrumental in the proliferation of beneficial bacteria. They are abundant in foods belonging to the allium family such as raw onions and garlic. However, you can also find them in fresh greens, whole grains, and fruits.
3. Manage stress and try to get a good night’s sleep every night
Psychological stressors can disrupt gut bacteria, leading to unfavorable states. In addition, disturbances in one’s sleep patterns can have a detrimental effect on gut health. Find healthy ways to manage stress such as physical exercise, meditation, and calming exercises that call for progressive muscle relaxation. Exercise, in particular, has a beneficial effect on gut microflora.
Tap into the power of the gut microbiome for a full life brimming with energy and vitality!