One of the best and easiest ways to restore gut health is by taking natural remedies. I’m sure you’ve heard about how gut flora can be negatively affected when taking certain substances, such as antibiotics.
- But what is gut flora exactly?
- Is it true that natural probiotics help protect it?
- What are the foods with probiotics?
In this article, we’ll go over these questions and show you everything you need to know about this topic, including how to restore gut health. Let’s check it out!
What is gut flora?
The gut flora is a series of bacteria known as microbes that live inside our intestines. These bacteria are more than necessary, as they help digestion to break down the food we eat.
The point is that these bacterias feed simultaneously as we take in the nutrients we need so badly. There can be up to 2,000 different bacteria species in our digestive system, most of which are healthy and safe for us.
However, 100 other species of bacteria could be dangerous. For this reason, it’s important to maintain a healthy gut flora, as their role is key to the immune system.
Besides, it helps to digest food and produce vitamin K and B, linked to mental health.
Symptoms that indicate a damaged gut flora
Sometimes it’s hard to know when something is wrong with our intestinal flora. However, several symptoms could indicate that it is damaged or altered.
If this is the case, you’ll have to get to work right away to restore gut health as soon as possible.
It can get damaged for many reasons, such as: taking antibiotics, foods with many saturated fats, or toxic ones, such as tobacco. Likewise, lack of nutrients, stress, or excess intake of added sugars, artificial sweeteners, or fats can also affect the intestinal flora.
Some of the most common symptoms and good indicators of damaged gut flora are:
- Abdominal swelling with no apparent cause and the presence of gas
- Alternating periods of constipation and diarrhea
- Intestinal cramps, lower belly pain, and discomfort
- Stools and gas with an increased foul odor
If your gut flora loses its balance, protection against viruses and bacteria will decrease; thus increasing the possibility of infection and disease.
How to restore gut health when already damaged
One of the most important things you should do to restore gut health and bring it back into balance is to change your eating habits completely. To do this, you can make use of some natural probiotics and eat prebiotic foods.
Prebiotics will serve as food for the good bacteria, favoring the appearance of lactobacilli and bifidobacterium in the colon. Probiotics, on the other hand, are living organisms that manage to repopulate your flora.
These prebiotics can be found in bananas, artichokes, tomatoes, whole wheat, onions, and leeks. On the other hand, probiotics can be found in fermented products such as kombucha, natural yogurts, and kefir milk.
Nevertheless, it is crucial to follow a varied diet that includes many fruits, vegetables, legumes, and seeds. You should include foods such as miso, tubers, and pulses.
Also, consider rich fiber foods. They’re your allies in recovering and maintaining healthy microbiota.
If you want to recover and restore gut health and maintain it in good condition, the most important thing is to lead a healthy lifestyle.
In addition to a healthy and balanced diet, practice physical activity, and avoid bad habits such as eating too fast or not drinking enough water.
Avoid tobacco and alcohol consumption, lead a relaxed lifestyle, practice yoga and meditation, chew your food well and incorporate foods with probiotics into your diet, as they contain bifidobacteria that will help recover and maintain a proper balance of the intestinal flora.
Why the gut flora can be altered
The intestinal flora is quite fragile and can be altered by two factors: intrinsic and extrinsic.
- Among the intrinsic factors, we can highlight aging, hereditary predisposition, and the very composition of the intestinal flora
- On the other hand, the extrinsic factors would be those we have commented on in the previous section: an incorrect or unbalanced diet with a low contribution of fiber, the frequent intake of antibiotics, and unhealthy lifestyles. Among them, the most common are stress, lack of sleep, sedentary life, and the consumption of tobacco and alcohol
Where to find natural probiotics
Natural probiotics are present in many foods and beverages that have gone through a natural fermentation process.
The most common foods with probiotics that you can include in your diet containing these microorganisms are:
- Yogurt. It should be natural and without additives
- Raw cheese. We refer to cheese made from raw, unpasteurized milk
- Pickled or vinegar gherkins, as long as they’re fermented
- Fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut
- Kefir. It is a fermented dairy product similar to liquid yogurt and contains microorganisms beneficial to our intestinal health. It also helps to regenerate the intestinal flora
Another way to introduce these microorganisms into the gut flora is by taking food supplements in capsules, liquid, or sachets. These supplements contain natural probiotics, and it would be ideal if they’re complemented with prebiotics.
Let’s review the 10 best natural remedies to restore gut health
1- Plain yogurt & kefir
Again, these two dairy products help you build up your gut flora. Most of the bacteria in your gut comes from lactic acid producing bacteria.
Among other things, lactic acid ensures that lactose is processed and the intestine’s pH value remains low.
A low pH value means an acidic environment. And only good bacteria like acid. Bad bacteria is displaced by yogurt and kefir. Because remember, these two home remedies are probiotic foods. This means that they contain living bacteria, which are eaten with them.
If they end up in your intestines, they’ll go straight to work. Plain yogurt and kefir mainly contain the two bacterial strains Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
In Kefir, however, the concentration is higher than in yogurt, and at the same time, it contains less lactose.
This is, of course, an advantage for those who are lactose intolerant as well. But kefir is not to everyone’s taste, but yogurt is. It should not be pasteurized, that is, heated because lactic acid bacteria die when it’s hot, and it won’t do you any good.
Make sure the yogurt has not been heated (this should be stated on the label). Your gut flora will be fundamentally better balanced if you include yogurt or kefir in your diet, not just occasionally, but regularly.
Constipation and flatulence should then be less frequent or almost non-existent.
2- Bread drink (Kvass)
In a healthy gut flora, the pH value is 5.0 to 6.0, which means an acidic environment in which rotting bacteria does not feel particularly good, which is good for us. Nevertheless, if this pH value changes, bad bacteria multiply, causing: flatulence, diarrhea, constipation, etc.
By drinking bread Kvass, (or beet kvass) gut flora is rebuilt, and the movement of the intestines is stimulated. This way, food scraps that are difficult to digest and dead bacteria are quickly transported out of your intestines.
This is like a cleanse at the beginning of the year. Bread drink is made of fermented bread from natural sourdough. The bread is first baked and then crumbled and placed in vats with spring water.
Once there, it’s fermented for several months, and the bread acid and lactic acid bacteria thrive. You’ll have to get used to the taste of bread drink, though, but a small glass a day can quickly rebuild your intestinal flora.
If you prefer solid food, then fermented sauerkraut makes a good home remedy not only to restore gut health but to cleanse it as well. This is because sauerkraut contains not only lactic acid bacteria but also good dietary fibers.
Dietary fibers remove all the leftovers from the intestines. The structure of sauerkraut additionally supports the cleansing effect. Keep in mind: canned sauerkraut does not help. This is because they heat it to make it last longer.
You can get fresh, fermented sauerkraut from health food supermarkets or organic food stores. Try to get at least one serving of sauerkraut a week. If you want to try a different consistency other than its “cabbage” form, treat yourself to a glass of sauerkraut juice instead.
4- Flea Seeds (Psyllium)
First of all, these have nothing to do with fleas, but you can picture it like this: as little fleas cleaning out your intestines. Psyllium husks are a very effective fodder, which helps clean your gut. They swell up in the intestines and then slowly work their way out.
In doing so, they picked up all kinds of things, like undigested food scraps and deposited layers of mucus. They’re handy in cases of constipation.
We recommend about 10 grams of psyllium seeds per day, which can be spread over one or three portions.
<<Stir one teaspoon into a quarter liter of water so they’re easier to swallow.>>
5- Linseed (flax)
Similar to psyllium seeds, these also help against constipation. Flaxseed is a good source of fiber. It is best to take crushed flax seeds, so the intestines can better process them.
Stir a couple of tablespoons in water, yogurt, or add them to your favorite cereal. You can also use flaxseed oil, which is a little softer than the seeds.
One teaspoon of flaxseed oil per day is enough. It just tastes a little strange, a little moldy. But with quark and potatoes, it’s delicious.
If you decide to go for flaxseed oil, make sure you buy only the good ones. It doesn’t keep for long and is very sensitive to light. Therefore, good flaxseed oil should only be sold in dark bottles.
6- Chia seeds
These tiny chia seeds are like true “steroids” for your intestines. Like flax and flea seeds, they’re rich in fiber. But they also contain valuable antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, vitamins, and minerals.
Chia seeds will make you feel full for a long time because they swell up so much in the intestines.
Also, they slowly work their way through the intestines and pick up all the toxins. This eases irritable bowel discomfort, for example, and stimulates digestion—no more constipation with these bad boys.
Stir one tablespoon of chia seeds into liquids or yogurt. Only then can they swell up very well in the stomach. Granola and muesli may already contain chia seeds, but they can also be bought separately in organic food shops, health food stores, and many supermarkets.
Don’t be surprised if you see a lot of them in the toilet afterward. It must be so because the chia seeds have swollen in the intestine and carried away many toxins along with them.
7- Bitter foods
These foods don’t usually taste as good, precisely because of their bitter nature. However, artichokes, nettles, dandelions, chicory, grapefruit, ginger, or fenugreek will revitalize your gut flora.
Bitter substances have an antibacterial effect, promote blood circulation in the stomach and intestines and relieve nausea.
Lastly, digestion is stimulated to transport the toxins out quickly. Wormwood also belongs to bitter substances. That is why wormwood extract is often found in the ingredients of herbal preparations to stimulate digestion.
8- Jerusalem artichoke
This one looks like ginger and tastes a little like artichoke. The tuber (or root) of the Jerusalem artichoke plant comes from Central America. Today you can find it in many supermarkets. It belongs to the so-called prebiotics.
These are fibers, i.e., carbohydrates that cannot be digested but are excellent food for lactic acid bacteria. This allows the bacteria to thrive and restore order to the intestines.
If you can find this tuber fresh, grate it, like ginger, into other foods like smoothies or salads. There is also natural Jerusalem artichoke juice, from which you can drink a small glass every day.
By the way, liquids are vital if your intestines are weak; you will see why in the following home remedy.
As simple as it is and yet drinking water is very often overlooked. Your body consists of 50 to 60 percent water. For all the organs to work well, they always need enough fluids. Your intestines are no exception.
Drink 1.5 to 2 liters of water a day. Non-carbonated water is better than carbonated water because carbonic acid promotes flatulence.
If you drink tap water, you should first check the water quality and filter it if necessary. Some people swear by a glass of hot water in the morning on an empty stomach.
This will wake you up quickly, and your organs, as well as your stomach and intestines, will begin to work.
10- You gotta stay active
Whether it’s stress, medication, poor nutrition, or insufficient sleep, all of these things will cause your body to lose its balance at some point.
Exercise stimulates intestinal activity, peristalsis is accelerated, and pollutants are transported more quickly. Endurance sports such as swimming, cycling, and running are best suited for this. But you don’t have to sign up for the Ironman Triathlon right away.
With a good walk in the forest or park, you can achieve the same thing. The physical and mental effort also hits you in the gut because too much physical activity and stress reduce digestion.
Switching off once in a while, doing something nice, or going to bed early will make you feel great and give your intestinal flora a chance to rebuild itself in peace.
Whenever you get a sore throat and earache, your doctor will very likely prescribe you antibiotics. This will help against the nasty little bacteria that have brought you this condition. However, antibiotics also kill good bacteria.
Most of them live in your intestine. Your gut flora not only ensures that your food is digested and used but also takes care of the stability of your immune system, among other things.
For example, if you have to take antibiotics, this will cause a considerable alteration in your gut flora.
Now, it is important to regenerate the intestinal flora; otherwise, you could end up getting sick again and again.
After celebrations, holidays, or stressful times, you should rest and think about your intestines and rebuild their flora.
Gut flora consists of 85% “good” bacteria. It ensures that your digestion is working properly and your immune system is functioning well.
The remaining 15% are so-called “rotten” bacteria. This may sound scary, but they can’t hurt you as long as they’re a minority.
However, if you eat too much sugar, meat, processed or fast food in excess, it becomes a paradise for rotten bacteria, multiplying like crazy.
Then your intestine rebels because the intestinal flora is unbalanced. Food can no longer be digested as well, and diarrhea, flatulence, or constipation make your life difficult.
But with some changes in your diet, you can help the intestinal flora to flourish again. Give the good bacteria a chance to multiply. Then the bad ones will be suppressed.
You don’t have to take medicine for that. With the 10 home remedies we shared with you today, you can regenerate your gut flora, your intestines will work again, and you’ll get in shape, too.