3 Ways to Improve Gut Health < Internal Medicine


Our digestive health has a huge impact on our well-being, affecting our immune system, brain function, weight, and more, says Associate Professor of Medicine (Digestive Diseases) and Metabolic Health. says health expert Avrin Imaeda, M.D. Weight loss. These influences are just beginning to be understood, she says.

Below, Imaeda shares her latest research on three ways to improve gut health.

Eat food in its natural form.

Eating whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables, helps develop a healthy microbiome (the bacteria, fungi, and viruses that live in your gut, primarily the colon), which helps prevent disease. According to Imaeda, eating mechanically or chemically processed foods can negatively affect insulin sensitivity, increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and lead to weight gain.

For example, drinking a fruit smoothie instead of eating a whole fruit can cause your blood sugar to spike because liquids are easier to digest, says Imaeda. This spike in demanding the pancreas to produce more insulin has a drug-like rewarding effect on the brain, driving cravings for more, says Imaeda. Finally, even though smoothies are high in calories and likely contain more fruit than you would eat whole unprocessed, the liquid passes through them quickly, so you’ll be hungry again soon. increase.

Chemicals such as preservatives and non-nutritive sweeteners in food can have other adverse health effects that are difficult to predict, Imaeda added.

Exercise at least 3 hours per week in multiple sessions and strength train at least 2 days per week.

“Evidence suggests that exercise leads to a healthier and more diverse microbiome and increases butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid produced by bacteria from dietary fiber but cannot be broken down without bacteria. ” said Imaeda. “Butyrate is one of the key fuels that the cells that line the colon need to grow, divide, and stay healthy.”

In addition, increased butyrate levels appear to be beneficial in reducing inflammation, preventing and reducing the severity of inflammatory bowel disease, reducing the risk of colon cancer, and overall immune health, Imaeda said. I’m here.

Get 7-8 hours of sleep each night and stick to a regular schedule.

Imaeda said research has shown that sleep has a significant impact on mental illness, systemic inflammation, learning, fertility, weight and other aspects of health. “New research shows that some gut bacteria and the proteins they produce cycle based on circadian rhythms related to sleep and eating behavior,” she said. “This can affect processes such as lipid metabolism and, at least in mice, the ability to respond to infections.”



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