Over the past few years, research has prompted new trends based on ancient practices like intermittent fasting and ketogenic diets. At this point in the new year, it seems like everyone has tried at least one new food kick.
I’m here to tell you that you may be missing one ancient “x factor” in your 2020 wellness plan: bacteria. The importance of good bacteria in and on your body has caused the phrase “gut health” to show up everywhere we turn. Your gut is the group of organs that includes your mouth, stomach, liver, intestines and colon. More than 70 percent of your immune system lives there. So if you’re interested in boosting your immunity — and fitness — in 2020, keep reading because I’ve got some insight for you.
If you're interested in boosting your immunity, start with your gut.
Today, 74 percent of Americans are battling some sort of gut-related ailment, and only half will bring it up to their doctors. This has contributed to the booming popularity growth of probiotics and prebiotics. Beyond what and how we eat, studies now show exercise also plays a part in a healthy gut. Yes, taking a daily probiotic will help, but targeted workouts are also key.
Researchers have found that 30 to 60 minutes of cardio exercise three times a week actually changes the diversity of good bacteria in the gut.
Here are three important points to remember about exercise and gut health:
Our bodies are made up of more bacteria than human cells. We have about 40 trillion bacterial cells compared to 30 trillion human cells. In a recent study, those with higher cardiorespiratory fitness had more diverse bacterial populations in their gut than those with lower cardiorespiratory fitness. A better-balanced gut leads to improved overall health and well-being.
When the experiment (and exercise) concluded, researchers found that participants’ microbiomes reverted back to their pre-exercise condition, which simply confirms the sensitivity and responsiveness of the human body, gut included. Stay consistent with exercise at least three times per week.
As with most things in life, when it comes to exercise, don’t overdo it. Listen to your body. Too much exercise can stress the body and lead to leaky gut, inflammation and even depression. Our intestinal barrier is only one layer thick and vulnerable to damage. If this barrier is compromised, it allows for food particles to permeate the gut and wreak havoc.
You can work to balance your gut by exercising in moderation, eating wholesome foods, getting a good night’s sleep and taking a high-quality probiotic to balance your bacteria.
Here’s to a healthier gut and happier you this year!
Written by Caroline Beckman for Oxygen Magazine and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to email@example.com.