The term “gut health” is most often used to describe how well your body processes the food you eat. While that’s true, your gut (or digestive system) also affects all other aspects of your health.
For example, a healthy digestive system supports your inflammatory response. In return, a strong inflammatory response allows your immune system to run efficiently and help to stave off infection and disease.
A strong inflammatory response also makes it easier for your circulatory system to deliver nutrients throughout your body so your organs receive the nourishment they need. It’s all interconnected and starts with your gut health.
In this article, we discuss how you can maintain a healthy digestive system and feel good inside and out.*
Your Microbiome and Gut Health
The microbiome is a system of trillions of microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites that coexist in your gut.
The idea of parasites and viruses living inside you may be unnerving. But the vast majority of these microorganisms have a symbiotic relationship with — and are vital for the health of — your body.1
According to Dr. Mary Bove, ND and member of Gaia Herbs’ Scientific Advisory Board, “The microbiome is interconnected to our immune function, our overall wellness, and even our emotions.”2
A thriving microbiome is vital for the health and well-being of your gut and your body as a whole. But what happens if your microbiome isn’t as healthy as it should be? Your gut health and other systems in your body may begin to suffer.
Signs of Poor Gut Health
1) Skin Conditions
A weak microbiome and poor gut health can lead to inflammation in the digestive system.
This inflammation may cause your stomach to leak proteins into your bloodstream. These proteins eventually find their way to your skin, where they can cause skin conditions such as eczema.3,4
2) Prolonged Upset Stomach
An upset stomach can happen at any time — usually from something you ate or from stress in other parts of your life.
But prolonged stomach disturbances that happen often (e.g., heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, or gas) may be signs of poor gut health.4
To support digestive health, try Gaia Herbs Peppermint Leaf extract.* This easy-to-use, USDA certified organic liquid is ideal for foodies and all those who occasionally overdo it with food and drink.*
3) Constant Fatigue
A healthy gut produces the hormone serotonin. Serotonin, in turn, has a direct effect on your sleep patterns.
If your gut doesn’t produce enough serotonin, you may suffer from insomnia, poor sleep, or inadequate sleep. Over time, these conditions can lead to low energy levels, brain fog, confusion, and constant fatigue.5
4) High-Sugar Diet
Even if you feel fine, a high-sugar diet can damage your microbiome and your overall gut health. Too much refined sugar, such as high-fructose corn syrup, can decrease the number of good bacteria in your digestive tract and cause an unhealthy imbalance.
This imbalance can result in even more sugar cravings, poor gut health, and, eventually, problems in other parts of your body.4
5) Unintentional Weight Changes
Poor gut health can disrupt your body’s natural ability to store fat, absorb nutrients, and balance blood sugar levels. When that happens, your body can start to gain or lose weight without any changes to your diet or exercise routine.4
Tips for Supporting Gut Health
1) Add Herbal Supplements to Your Balanced Diet
Herbal supplements are an easy way to support your gut health.*
Whether you need relief from overindulging in your favorite foods or you just want to keep your microbiome in good shape, herbal products, such as Gaia Herbs GI Feel Good, Microbiome Cleanse, and Microbiome Food, can help maintain a healthy digestive system.*
2) Try a Serving of Fermented Food
Fermented foods are a natural source of the microorganisms called probiotics that promote the growth of healthy gut flora in your body.
For a delicious way to support your gut health, try adding a serving of these foods to your balanced diet:6
- Fermented vegetables
We are particularly fond of kombucha — fermented tea — because you can drink it alongside your breakfast, lunch, and dinner or as a snack between meals.
3) Eat Prebiotics for Healthy Probiotics
Probiotics — those microorganisms that are essential for healthy digestion — feed on nondigestible carbohydrates called prebiotics that are found in food.
If you’re looking for an all-natural way to improve your gut health, eat prebiotics for healthy probiotics.6
Foods high in prebiotics include:
- Whole grain
4) Skip the Sugar
As we mentioned earlier, too much processed sugar and artificial sweeteners can wreck your gut health — a condition known as dysbiosis.6
Everyone needs a certain amount of natural sugar (carbohydrates) in their diet, but the artificial kind found in most boxed and packaged foods is not good for you.
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables as part of a balanced diet and you’ll get all the natural sugar and fiber you need to maintain good gut health.
5) Manage Your Stress
Another natural way to support gut health is to manage and reduce your stress.6
If you find yourself feeling overly anxious, incorporate stress-management techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, or progressive muscle relaxation into your daily routine.
To combat stress and live a more balanced life, consider taking an herbal supplement, such as Gaia Herbs Adrenal Health® Daily Support. As our best-selling formula traditionally for the stressed and overworked, it helps sustain healthy energy and stress levels.*
6) Exercise Your Way to Good Gut Health
We’re all familiar with the role exercise plays in maintaining a healthy weight, a strong heart, and a fit body. But regular exercise also plays a role in maintaining gut health.6
The Journal of the American Medical Association recommends that adults engage in at least 2.5 hours (150 minutes) of moderate cardiovascular exercise and strength training per week.7
7) Maintain a Healthy Sleep Routine
A healthy sleep routine, such as going to bed and getting up at the same time each day, as well as getting at least seven hours of sleep per night, can improve your microbiome and overall gut health.6
Maintaining healthy sleep habits can even improve your mood, your cognition, and your energy levels throughout the day.
If you’re having trouble falling asleep at night, try one of our sleep support herbal supplements, such as Gaia Herbs Sound Sleep®. This calming blend of herbs supports relaxation and prepares the body for restful sleep.*
8) Kick the Smoking Habit
Smoking tobacco products increases the levels of harmful microorganisms in your body and introduces carcinogens into your system that can attack and eliminate your microbiome.
Those carcinogens in your body — and the resulting imbalance in your microbiome — may increase your risk of digestive and gut health issues such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), heart and lung problems, and cancer.6
9) Drink, Drink, Drink (Water)
Drinking plenty of water is an effective way to maintain both a healthy microbiome and good gut health. The medical community recommends that active adults drink at least eight cups (or 64 ounces) of water every day.
This can have a beneficial effect on the mucosal lining of your intestines and provide an optimal environment in which your microbiome can grow.8
10) Try Going Vegetarian
When you consume the vegetables, fruits, and grains common to a vegetarian diet, you supply your body with high levels of prebiotics, the food on which your gut flora feed.
A vegetarian diet also eliminates many of the chemicals and hormones found in meat, dairy, and eggs that can destroy your microbiome and reduce your gut health.6
A Healthy Digestive System With Gaia Herbs
A thriving microbiome and good gut health are possible with the right support. Gaia Herbs can help.* We offer herbs and herbal products that support digestion and keep your body balanced, including:*
Add these to your daily routine, along with some of the other suggestions in this article, for an easy way to help maintain a healthy gut.*
Keep browsing our site to learn more about gut health and to explore which Gaia Herbs products best suit your needs. You can also search by health concern, including Digestive Support, to make it even easier to find the ideal herbs for you.*
1 The Microbiome. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
2 The Microbiome in Infants and Children: Maintaining Health and Wellness. BotanicalMedicine.org.
3 Is Leaky Gut Syndrome a Real Condition? An Unbiased Look. Healthline.com.
4 What’s an Unhealthy Gut? How Gut Health Affects You. Healthline.com
5 Serotonin: What You Need to Know. Healthline.com
6 10 Ways to Improve Gut Health. Medical News Today.
7 The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. JAMA Network.
8 7 Science-Based Health Benefits of Drinking Enough Water. Healthline.com