Our gut is home to hundreds of billions of different bacteria, and having optimal health relies on a healthy balance of good to bad. If you don't have enough good bacteria, the bad microbes are left on their own and can begin to shift the balance or, sometimes takeover. When this happens, one of the best ways to restore balance is increasing the good bacteria in your gut. Here are three ways we can do that naturally:
Have plenty of fiber-rich foods.
When you increase your plant intake, you'll naturally increase the amount of fiber you're eating, but make it an emphasis to include loads of high-fiber foods, like beans, flaxseeds, lentils, and berries, into your diet.
Get enough quality sleep.
Sleep may seem like a docile activity, but it's really a renewing and detoxing period that has huge implications for our gut health. Research shows that a lack of sleep contributes to stress, which can lead to an imbalance of gut bacteria. On the other hand, getting enough sleep can help you manage the physical effects of stress, promoting healthy gut balance.
Eat foods with polyphenols.
Polyphenols are naturally occurring plant compounds that are loaded with antioxidants and have huge implications for your gut health. Research shows that polyphenols, like those that come from fruits, vegetables, tea, dark chocolate and wine (don't overdo it on these two in the name of gut health, though) increase the amount of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus bacteria in your gut. These specific bacteria lay down their "roots" in your gut and have a number of other health benefits from better digestion to more healthy skin.