Which Lifestyle Behaviors Contribute to Good Gut Health?

Many gut problems and digestive disorders can be improved and managed by practicing certain healthy lifestyle behaviors, such as eating healthy foods. Here are behaviors you can start practicing today to reduce digestive symptoms and achieve a healthier gut.

Effective Stress Management

Chronic stress can disrupt your overall hormone balance by increasing your body’s production of the stress hormone cortisol. Increased cortisol levels can interfere with your gut health and slow digestion. Find ways to effectively manage and reduce stress, such as going for a walk, taking a relaxing bath, or practicing mindfulness meditation.

Quality Sleep

Sleep deprivation can upset both your gut and metabolism to cause a range of digestive problems. Aim to sleep for between 7 to 9 hours every night, and make changes to your sleep environment as needed to ensure you get enough quality sleep. Buy a comfortable mattress, hang up blackout curtains, and use a white noise machine to help you fall asleep more easily.

Adequate Hydration

Dehydration can cause stool to harden and dry up, which increases the risk of constipation and poor digestion. Drink lots of water and fluids throughout the day to promote good digestion and to help waste move more easily through the intestines. 

Good Nutrition

A diet composed of healthy whole foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, nuts, seeds, legumes, and beans are loaded with important nutrients that support good gut health. Probiotics and fermented foods also contribute to better digestion. Stay away from foods high in sugars and fats like donuts, white breads, and fried foods—all of which can increase the number of bad gut bacteria.

Regular Exercise

Sitting for long periods and having a sedentary lifestyle can slow your metabolism and the flow of waste through the intestines. Exercise regularly to promote good blood flow and circulation, and to achieve a healthier gut and more comfortable bowel movements.

Food Intolerance Awareness

Certain foods can affect digestion in some individuals on behalf of genetics and lifestyle behaviors to cause symptoms such as excess gas, bloating, and nausea. When you experience symptoms of poor digestion and gut health, take note of the foods you’ve recently eaten to identify those that may be causing your symptoms. Then, either eliminate those foods from your diet or eat them in moderation to prevent problems with digestion.