WASHINGTON — Have you heard about the gut microbiome recently? More and more people are talking about the microbiome, which is another word for trillions of microscopic organisms that we all have in our bodies, according to Dr. Munzer Sundos, founder of Nupeutics Health and a nutrition and functional ingredients specialist.
Dr. Sundos said the gut microbiome is the home base for the bacteria in your digestive tract. These are the bacteria and organisms in your gut that help break down food into nutrients.
Keeping your gut microbiome in equilibrium is very important for your health. Dr. Sundos recommended five things people can do now to help keep their gut microbiome healthy.
(1) Eat a Healthy Diet
Dr. Sundos said the diet has a significant impact on gut health and the balance of good and bad bacteria. He recommends reducing the number of processed, high-sugar and high-fat foods. Instead, aim for a diet that includes a lot of plant-based foods, lean proteins and fiber.
(2) Avoid Taking Unnecessary Medications
You might have heard about this one before too. Dr. Sundos said the gut can still lack beneficial bacteria even six months after antibiotic use. Other medications like NSAIDs, antacids, birth control, steroids and hormone replaces can also harm your gut’s good bacteria, according to Dr. Sundos.
(3) Eat Probiotics and Prebiotics-Rich Food
If you would like to promote good gut bacteria, look to probiotics and prebiotics. Not sure what to include in your diet to make sure you are getting enough of both? Here’s Dr. Sundos’ top picks:
Prebiotics: bananas, garlic, onions and leafy greens
Probiotics: yogurt, fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, non-pasteurized pickled vegetables and kefir.
(4) Take Natural Microbiome Supplements
Dr. Sundos said you can also increase your probiotic and prebiotic intake as dietary supplements. He’s also created other natural gut supplements at Nupeutics Health that he said will help with good gut health.
(5) Reduce Stress and Get More Sleep
Managing stress is vital for many aspects of health, Dr. Sundos said. It’s especially important for gut health, as psychological stressors can disrupt the microorganisms in the intestines. He also said there is a link between sleep deprivation and a decrease in beneficial gut bacteria as well.