Taking care of your gut health can be tricky. When your microbiome—the neighborhood of trillions of bacteria living in your gut—is out of balance, the results can affect your sleep, weight, and even digestion, among other things. What you eat can influence your gut health, which is why we all want to eat plenty of fiber and probiotics, and your daily habits can also have an impact.
The good news is that Will Bulsiewicz, MD, MSCI, the gastroenterologist who goes by the name of Dr. B, just shared a list of five essential things he does to protect his gut health every day. Her list includes some basic dietary advice that we can follow, as well as a great suggestion that will help you get a good night’s sleep. While not every tip will work for everyone, these document-approved habits are a good place to start.
1. Enjoy your morning cup of coffee.
“Coffee already has prebiotics in it, but I like to add extra soluble fiber and spices, really take it to the next level,” Bulsiewicz says.
Spices can be a great way to add a little anti-inflammatory boost to your cup of coffee, especially since hot, sweet options like cinnamon and cloves are some of the best spices to combat. inflammation. Although we don’t always recommend supplements, a soluble fiber supplement can be a resource if you’re struggling to get enough from your diet alone. Recent research indicates that eating more soluble fiber could be great for your health, from making antibiotics more effective to reducing your risk of dementia. Remember that you can also get plenty of soluble fiber from whole foods, such as oats, legumes, and fruits.
2. Eat fermented foods.
Fermented foods are rich in probiotics, the good bacteria that can help balance your gut and even aid digestion. There are many ways to incorporate this trick into your diet, from kimchi and sauerkraut to yogurt and kombucha. If you don’t consider yourself a person who likes the funky flavor of condiments like miso or kraut, you can opt for a serving of kefir or mix your favorite fruit with ice and yogurt for a quick smoothie.
Related: 7 must-have fermented foods for a healthy gut
3. Don’t count calories, eat more plants.
“Stop counting calories,” says Bulsiewicz. “Start counting plants. Enough with dietary restrictions – let’s live a life of abundance with as many different plant varieties as possible.”
We totally agree with this plant-focused advice. There are so many health benefits to following a plant-based diet, but eating a mostly plant-based diet with occasional servings of meat or animal products can also be beneficial. This type of plant-based diet, which is less rigorous than a plant-based diet, could be especially good for your heart health. If you need inspiration, try one of these easy, top-rated vegetarian dinners we can’t get enough of.
Related: Want to stop counting calories for good? This dietitian shares her simple tips
4. Diversify your plate.
Sometimes the oldest advice is still the best. Eating lots of different types of food — vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy fats, and heart-healthy proteins — from meal to meal is a great way to ensure you’re getting the nutrients you need to thrive as well. only delicious, varied meals that won’t get you stuck in a dinner rut. (This principle is only part of the reason we love the Mediterranean diet so much.) A mix-and-match option like our plate dinner formula is an easy way to start mixing up your dinner routine and these recipe ideas. will ensure that you get at least protein and vegetables on your plate. You can also rely on easy-to-stack bowls to get all those necessary nutrients. Recipes like our Salmon Rice Bowl, Vegetarian Protein Bowl, and Cilantro Lime Shrimp Bowl are customizable and low-effort, so you can eat a variety of foods without adding tons of cooking time. cooking on your schedule.
Related: Complete Plant-Based Diet Grocery List
5. Wear blue light blocking glasses before bed.
You might be surprised to see this trick show up on a list focused on healthy eating, but research has shown that your exposure to blue light right before bed can have a huge impact on your health. Blue light stimulates your brain, even when you sleep, so wearing blue light blocking glasses can help you relax at the end of the day and sleep better. A recent study even indicated that heavy exposure to blue light just before bedtime can affect your metabolism, which can be especially troublesome for those trying to maintain a healthy weight or lose weight. If you need useful lenses before bed to read, keep an eye out for blue light blocking readers, like those from Warby Parker, or even splurge for a blue light filter on your next pair of prescription glasses. .
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