9 Simple ways to improve your gut health (even in stressful times)
The only thing more frustrating than a super bloated belly? A bloated belly that comes out of seemingly nowhere! We eat well, we exercise, we meditate… and still our stomachs randomly feel like a cruel balloon. And especially now that our routines are flipped and stress levels are higher than ever (hello, 2020), gut health can be one of the first things to suffer.
For us, the world of probiotics + simple lifestyle changes have helped make our tummies happier, digestion gentler, and overall gut health stronger. P.S. We are not doctors and we highly recommend chatting with one before putting anything new in your body! But these are 9 simple tips that have helped us and we hope they help you, too.
9 Simple ways to improve your gut health
1. Add probiotic-rich foods to your diet
Probiotics are notoriously good for gut health for a reason. They’re known as “good” bacteria that help your digestive system, skin, gut health, and immune system. So, by incorporating more naturally probiotic-rich foods into your diet, you’ll get important nutrients in your system to feel the best you can.
Here are 9 plant-based probiotic ingredients to put on your radar:
- Sourdough bread (great excuse to make our Vegan Grilled Cheese Sandwich)
- Pickled veggies
- Green olives
- Dairy-free culture yogurt (we like Forager’s Cashewmilk Yogurt)
And if you’re a vegetarian, many dairy yogurts + cheeses (like aged cheddar, mozzarella, and gouda) are good sources of probiotics.
2. Take probiotic supplements
We love HUM Nutrition for extra love and nurturing when it comes to all things health, beauty, and wellness. All of their formulas are gluten-free, non-GMO, and sustainably-sourced — so you can feel good knowing you’re getting the best of the best. And if you’re specifically looking for a boost in gut health, we’re big fans of HUM Nutrition’s Gut Health probiotics, which are loaded with beneficial bacteria that help keep the digestive tract healthy. Seriously, more than 25 BILLION bacteria are packed inside these little friends to improve your energy and balance your digestion!
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Grabbin' the goods 💚 #GUTINSTINCT is our go-to probiotic for all things good bacteria ✨FUN FACT: Did you know that we have more bacterial DNA in our bodies than human DNA? Mind blown 🤯🤯🤯 Here's what our members have to say about it: x "For 3 years I suffered from stomach pain and violent fits of “cookie tossing” cut gluten out of my diet, that helped some but still several times a month I would get sick and still had a general daily feel of ick. One month on Gut Instinct and I honestly can’t remember a time I felt better. No more pains better energy regular BMs. It saved me. I can’t thank you enough." x "I had been having digestive issues for months off and on. I decided to try this product and it has helped so much! Not only are my flare-ups fewer, but my skin is better than its ever been! Not a single breakout since using this product. I have reordered it and told so many people about it!" #humnutrition #startwithin
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So whether you’re dealing with IBS, bloating, digestion issues, gas pains, or stomach discomfort — HUM’s Gut Instinct may be the supplement you need to get back in balance. And while you’re at it, take their quiz to find out which other vitamins and supplements are best for you and your unique wellness needs.
PS, this post is in partnership with HUM Nutrition and includes an affiliate link, but the opinions are our own.
3. Remember your prebiotics
Prebiotics serve as food sources for probiotics, meaning they give probiotics a boost to help your gut feel good. Aka, probiotics + prebiotics = happy body.
Here’s a list of plant-based prebiotics to squeeze in your diet:
- Sweet potatoes
4. Drink water
Stay hydrated! We try to drink an 8 oz glass of water first thing in the morning, which we know can be a challenge if you’re used to sipping a cup of coffee seconds after waking up (we feel ya). After workouts, in between meals, and during mid-day slumps are also ideal times to grab some H20.
And if the idea of drinking 64-ish ounces of water a day (8 x 8oz glasses) seems overwhelmingly unexciting, try adding slices of cucumber or apple to make it more fun.
5. Get good sleep
We know this is an obvious tip, but it doesn’t make it any less important! Studies show that sleep truly heals the body — helping the body recharge, repair, and replenish. Struggling to get quality sleep? Check out our 8 tips for getting a more restful sleep—even during stressful times.
6. Find an exercise you love
According to researchers in Italy, exercise not only enhances the number of beneficial microbial species, but it also enriches microflora diversity in the gut, which improves overall health and helps prevent disease.
And while your mom, best friend, and favorite Instagram influencer may love one type of workout — it may not be your thing. And that’s ok! We’re all different humans living in different bodies, so it makes sense we don’t all love the same type of exercise. What matters is finding an activity that you actually enjoy doing — that way, you’ll be doing your mind and body good.
7. Embrace ginger
We like to add ginger to our meals and reach for ginger chews when we need a little help encouraging proper digestion.
For some inspiration, check out this Happy Digestion Smoothie recipe from Oh She Glows + this recipe for Vegan Ramen from The Wholesome Culture Cookbook.
8. Reduce stress
You know those nervous “butterflies” we get in our stomachs before an interview, presentation, or first date? That’s just one of the many examples of the brain and gut communicating together. And while butterfly feelings usually flutter away — stress can lead to stomach discomfort, bloating, nausea, and even cause diarrhea or constipation.
Feeling stressed reading about the problems caused by stress? Here are some posts we think will channel zen energy into your days:
- 8 Tips to get more peaceful sleep in your life during this stressful time
- All the ways to reduce stress with your diet (dos and don’ts)
- 30 DIY self-care ideas that’ll make your home feel like a spa
9. Talk to a doctor
Of course, talking to a doctor is a great idea, especially if you’re feeling persistent or extreme discomfort. And if you ask us, checking in with a doc before putting anything new in your body — whether it’s a supplement or vitamin — is a safe way to take care of you.
*BONUS: Rock the loose clothing look*
We’re not saying clothes will do anything to improve your gut health, but they do make our bloated tummy days much, MUCH more comfortable. Might we suggest our Little More Kindness, A Little Less Judgement Crew Sweatshirt?
Want to find out which WC tee is perfect for lounge-worthy days ahead? Take our quiz!