Improving Gut Health after 40
The gut microbiome - the collection of trillions of bacteria, viruses, and fungi in our intestines - is one of the hottest topics in health these days. And for good reason. Research continues to uncover how vital a healthy, balanced microbiome is to our overall well-being as we age.
Our gut microbiome plays a starring role in digestion, metabolism, hormone regulation, immunity, and more. When our gut flora is thrown out of balance, it can contribute to inflammation, weight gain, autoimmune diseases, mood disorders, and problems like leaky gut.
But even if you don't have noticeable digestive issues, chances are your gut health could still use a makeover after 40. Factors like diet, medications, stress, and age take a toll on our gut over time. Focusing on repopulating your microbiome with good bacteria provides benefits throughout the body.
It's never too late to nourish a diverse, thriving landscape of gut bacteria. Eating a diet rich in fermented foods, fibre, and probiotics can rebalance your microbiome at any age. Combine this with targeted supplements and a gut-friendly lifestyle for full effect.
In this post, we'll explore simple yet impactful ways to give your gut a microbial makeover for improved wellness in midlife and beyond. Let's dive in!
Key Ways Diet Impacts the Gut Microbiome
The foods we eat play a significant role in shaping the biodiversity of our gut bacteria. Here are some key ways our diet affects the delicate microbial ecosystem:
Fibre from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds act as prebiotics. They feed and promote the growth of beneficial bacteria like Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus.
Fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha contain probiotics. These live microorganisms help repopulate the gut with good bacteria.
Polyphenols found in foods like green tea, berries, and dark chocolate also positively influence gut flora.
Diets high in saturated fats, refined carbs, and sugar can decrease microbial diversity and foster bad bacteria.
Although antibiotics destroy harmful bacteria, they also deplete the beneficial bacteria in the gut.
Best Foods for Gut Health
Integrating more gut-friendly foods can help rebalance your microbiome:
Prebiotic foods (foods that good bacteria feed on): onions, garlic, bananas, oats, flaxseeds
Probiotic foods (foods that contain useful bacteria): yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, miso
Fermented foods: tempeh, pickles, apple cider vinegar
High-fibre foods: chia seeds, lentils, beans, peas, artichokes
Supplements to Support Gut Health
When rebuilding gut health, supplements can play a vital role in the repair process.
The main categories are:
Probiotics: These supplements contain live cultures of bacteria that help repopulate the gut with beneficial microbes like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains. Look for a broad spectrum capsule with a high CFU count (colony forming unit - i.e. how many bacteria it contains)
Prebiotics: Prebiotic supplements provide a nourishing source of fibre for probiotics to feed on. Common prebiotics include inulin, fructooligosaccharides (FOS), and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), which are often also beneficial for weight loss.
Butyrate: This short-chain fatty acid helps nourish cells in the colon. Butyrate supplements like sodium butyrate provide an additional fuel source for gut bacteria.
Omega-3s: Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation in the gut and support the overall balance of microflora. These supplements also provide anti-inflammatory benefits.
Digestive enzymes: digestive enzyme levels drop as we age, a supplement can help improve digestion.
Glutamine: This amino acid helps maintain the gut lining and integrity of the mucosal layer. L-glutamine powder supplements support leaky gut repair.
Zinc: - Zinc deficiency can negatively impact the microbiome. Zinc supplements help improve a healthy diversity of bacteria.
To find out if dietary changes could help improve your gut health, please book a free initial consultation at https://www.debbiedeannutrition.com/consultations
Alternatively, if you like a friendly group atmosphere for your health and nutrition journey, please join us over at https://www.debbiedeannutrition.com/nourish-insiders
Lifestyle Tips for a Healthy Gut
A healthy gut is essential for overall health and well-being.
Regular exercise, adequate sleep, and stress relief activities can all support gut health by reducing inflammation and supporting immune function.
Additionally, practicing good hygiene through regular handwashing and safe food preparation helps prevent exposure to harmful bacteria that can disrupt the delicate balance of microbes in the gut.
It's also important to be mindful of medications like antibiotics and NSAIDs, which can negatively impact beneficial gut bacteria.
Look after your gut and it will look after you!