The gut does much more than just digest food. It also helps support the immune system, central nervous system, heart health, mental health and other essential bodily functions, per Healthline.
“The gut microbiome is an ecosystem, and it is important that all the different microorganisms within it are balanced,” Abir Hamza-Goodacre, a registered nutritional therapist at Benenden Hospital in the U.K., said in a statement to Fox News Digital.
When the bacteria in the gut microbiome are balanced, the body is better able to process food, distribute nutrients throughout the body and eliminate waste.
There are some specific changes that anyone can make to their lifestyle and diet to support a balanced gut, which Hamza-Goodacre shared with Fox News Digital.
Here are five smart tips.
1. Eat a whole-food diet
Diet is key to favorable gut health, according to Hamza-Goodacre.
She recommends incorporating a diverse range of fruits and vegetables into the everyday diet.
“Eating fermented foods can help boost the number of good bacteria, also known as probiotics, in your gut, ultimately aiding your digestive system,” a nutritionist explained. (iStock)
“It is also important to include sources of insoluble fiber in your diet, which help to speed up the passage of food through the stomach,” Hamza-Goodacre said.
“Eating fermented foods can help boost the number of good bacteria, also known as probiotics, in your gut, ultimately aiding your digestive system,” she explained.
“Consistently high stress levels could be the cause of an unhealthy gut and could also lead to digestive issues such as constipation or loss of appetite,” she noted.
Some ways to reduce stress include practicing mindfulness, exercising regularly and seeking mental health care as needed. (iStock)
“Even small changes, such as practicing mindfulness, exercising more and speaking to a mental health professional could improve your overall well-being and gut health,” she added.
4. Move your body
Increasing activity levels can improve all areas of wellness, including the gut.
“Pilates and yoga are also great low-impact exercises to strengthen muscles and work up a sweat,” she added.
5. Limit artificial sweeteners
Another simple dietary change to make for your gut is to limit the use of artificial sweeteners, Hamza-Goodacre suggests.
“Artificial sweeteners can disrupt the balance of beneficial bacteria in your gut,” according to the nutritionist. (iStock)
“Artificial sweeteners can disrupt the balance of beneficial bacteria in your gut,” she said.
If you have a more sensitive gut or notice uncomfortable stomach symptoms occurring after consuming products high in artificial sweeteners, Hazma-Goodacre suggests opting for naturally sweet foods, such as bananas, berries, sweet potatoes and cashew nuts.
To read more pieces in Fox News Digital’s “Be Well” series, click here.