We’ve known for some time that it’s important to maintain gastrointestinal health, and that factors such as diet and health can actually alter the composition of your gut microbiome (aka the network of microbes in your intestinal tract). Eating probiotic-rich foods, for example, can help support gut flora and aid digestion.
But did you know that the brain and gut are connected as well? The idea of a mind-gut connection was first hypothesized by the Ancient Greeks, and recent studies have shed light on this conversation. The research is still ongoing, but it turns out, there are many interesting interactions and complex correlations between gut health and mood.
Scientists are working to figure out how exactly this two-way connection works; but, in the meanwhile, the emerging mind-gut connection is just one more motivation to pay close attention to your gut and microbiome. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle through activities and routines that help you relax and de-stress, can be a solution towards achieving that healthy gut.
In partnership with Activia, we’ve discovered four easy ways to improve your overall gut health, and ease your mind in the process.
Seek out gut-friendly foods
Unsurprisingly, your diet affects the make-up of your gut microbiome or microflora, aka the bacterial ecosystem in your intestinal tract. Experts recommend eating a healthy variety of foods that are high in dietary fibre and nutrients, and low in refined sugar and saturated fats. Think: whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds. Fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir and kimchi are also a good bet, and may offer additional benefits because they include beneficial bacteria.
Staying hydrated will definitely help your gut and body with digestion, and the best way to do that is to make sure that you’re drinking enough water every day. Just keep a reusable bottle of water near your desk, and remember to refill it a few times throughout the day!
When consumed in adequate amounts, probiotics can help your gut. Essentially, probiotics are friendly or "good” bacteria that have been linked to improved digestive health. Eating probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt and kefir on a regular basis can help maintain a healthy gut.
One easy way to include probiotics in your diet? By including a probiotic yogurt, like the new Activia Chia (available in four flavours like Raspberry-Cranberry or Peach) in your morning breakfast routine—your gut flora will thank you!
Get more sleep
It’s certainly easier said than done, but research has shown that the mind-gut connection goes both ways. Just as your gut ecosystem can impact your sleep, getting enough hours of quality sleep on a regular basis could actually help your microbiome stay healthy. Time to stop doomscrolling, and start heading to bed at a reasonable hour!