Is There Anything We Can Do To Heal Our Guts Other Than Taking Probiotics?

Did you know what we eat influences directly how we feel generally? As it turns out, eating plays a huge role in how we feel — and not just in regards to our stomach and digestion. So what happens when our gut isn't happy, and how can we help make it better?

Our body is filled with good and bad bacteria that dictate how we function and feel (via Cleveland Clinic). When the bad bacteria becomes overwhelming, it can upset our system, causing both expected and unexpected symptoms. What we eat, certainly, directly impacts that the balance of that bacteria. 

Probiotics, for example, are good bacteria that live within our body and help maintain the balance of our microbiome (the living community of organisms working in our body). You can help balance the stomach environment by eating certain foods containing probiotics or taking probiotic supplements. Many conditions can knock our microbiome out of balance, harm the gut, and require healing. These conditions include infections, diarrhea from antibiotics, constipation, and lactose intolerance.

Probiotics aren't the only thing that plays into how balanced our gut is — and, therefore, are not the only thing to consider when trying to keep it healthy. Recently the topic was brought up on an episode of the LadyGang podcast. The hosts spoke to Tina Anderson from Just Thrive to get insight into what else can be done. Although Anderson was promoting her own blend of probiotics, she had some other helpful recommendations on gut healing.

Eat the good stuff

"There are so many things that we can do to heal our guts ... Trying to eat clean, really eating organically ... staying away from processed foods..." says Anderson. While eating clean seems like common sense, Anderson also commented on specific "health" diets such as vegan or paleo. She emphasizes the importance of eating a diverse range of foods, which provides a variety of both nutrients and microbes. While diets that limit what you can eat may help you achieve other goals, having a more varied menu can help the gut flourish. According to Anderson's discussion on the podcast though, what you consume orally isn't the only thing that affects gut health.

Surprisingly, she also mentions mental health and its mutually beneficial relationship with gut health. "Stress is a huge thing, so [try] to mitigate stress. And I know we all say that ... It's not easy to do that, but we have to do that, we have to start changing our lifestyle, we need to start making changes. You know, starting meditation, or deep breathing, going on walks in nature. There's a huge connection between your gut and the brain. There's something called the vagus nerve that connects your brain to your gut, and both organs are sending signals back and forth to each other." Therefore it seems the key to a healthy gut outside of probiotics lies in keeping a diverse and healthy environment in both our stomachs and our minds.