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6 Morning Habits for Better Gut Health
By Ethan Boldt
August 28, 2023
Our gut health is pretty important is the understatement of the year. The gut — essentially our gastrointestinal (GI) tract and digestive system — has a very important job to do for our health, including nutrient absorption, getting rid of waste, supporting our healthy immune system, helping in the production of neurotransmitters, plus maintaining normal energy levels.
The degree to which your gut is healthy depends a lot on the balance of bacteria and other organisms living in your GI tract. The human microbiome (or “community of microbes”) is home to trillions of beneficial bacteria and other organisms, such as yeasts, fungi and more.
Want to boost your gut health? It’s imperative to support this intricate system in order to make our gut as robust as possible. And it’s no surprise that it can help to get your gut support going first thing in the day.
Start your day with these six habits for better gut health. Of course, you should always consult your healthcare professional prior to beginning any new dietary or lifestyle regimen, including supplementation.
Probiotic supplements help you obtain strains of microbes that are known to benefit overall gut health.
Ancient Nutrition’s SBO Probiotics provide not only special types of soil-based organism (SBO) probiotics, but also prebiotics and postbiotics for even more positive effects on your gut microbiome. Together, these three — which we call the “trifecta” for gut health — support your digestive system and help keep gut function on track.
Taking SBO probiotics regularly can help reduce occasional constipation, bloating and flatulence/gassiness, and can support healthy immune system function. An added benefit: They don’t need to be refrigerated like many other types of probiotics.
Ancient Nutrition offers several types of SBO Probiotics based on individual health goals, including SBO Probiotics Gut Restore (provides 25 billion CFUs per serving at time of manufacture) and SBO Probiotics Ultimate (provides 50 billion CFUs per serving at time of manufacture) as well as a women’s and men’s formula.
Right before you eat your breakfast, take a probiotic. This is the best time to take a probiotic because it helps ensure survival better compared to taking them after a meal, when the pH of your stomach becomes more acidic. (Be sure to read and follow label directions for use.)
Too many of us immediately reach for the cup of joe, but it’s important to first hydrate after your sleep. Staying hydrated is important for electrolyte balance, helps digestion, allows our bodies to disperse nutrients, and helps maintain normal functioning of our cardiovascular and immune systems. In fact, just about every organ and system in our bodies depends upon water to do its job.
Your kidneys and liver require water to clean your blood, produce urine and help your body to get rid of waste. When you drink water (and eat fiber, another good morning tip for gut health), you’re less likely to deal with occasional constipation or other digestive impacts, which can be worsened in some cases by not drinking enough water or even dehydration.
In addition to eating high-fiber foods, up your water intake in order to “keep things moving” and help you stay regular.
Whether you’re making a quick smoothie or cooking up a breakfast, it’s common to accidentally skip one of the three macronutrients — carbohydrates, fat and protein — and potentially overdo one of them.
Why does this matter? Well, a balanced blend of "macros" means more prolonged energy for the day, fewer blood sugar spikes, along with other benefits.
Many smoothies tend to be high in carbs, moderate in protein and absent of fats, for example. Many baked breakfasts are practically all carb and fat, with scant protein.
Instead, try to get at least 20 to 30 percent of your meal with each macronutrient. Protein is needed for gut health because it helps to maintain the balance of good and bad bacteria. How to eat more protein? You want to make sure you have sufficient protein foods and protein supplements on hand.
Minimally processed carbohydrates support a healthy gut, and dietary fiber is used by intestinal microbes for energy and can make your "net carbs" (total carb grams minus fiber grams) lower. Meanwhile, good fats like avocados, eggs and grass-fed butter can also support your gut.
Here are some great breakfasts for your gut and get your day going right. First, here are a few balanced breakfasts that use Bone Broth Protein, a supplement supports the gut, as one of the ingredients:
Also, try our avocado toast recipe.
These foods can disrupt your gut microbiome, including having a negative effect on gut bacteria and lead to imbalanced inflammation. Here are the gut-disrupting foods to avoid:
Refined vegetable oils (like canola, corn and soybean oils, which are high in pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids)
Pasteurized dairy products (common allergens)
Refined carbohydrates and processed grain products
Conventional meat, poultry and eggs (high in omega-6s due to feeding the animals corn and cheap ingredients that negatively affect their microbiomes)
Added sugars (found in the majority of packaged snacks, breads, condiments, canned items, cereals, etc.)
Trans fats/hydrogenated fats (used in packaged/processed products and often to fry foods)
On the other hand, many foods can promote a healthy response to inflammation and help increase good bacteria in the gut. These foods that should be the base of your diet include:
Fresh vegetables (all kinds): Loaded with phytonutrients and includes cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and kale), dark leafy greens (collard greens, kale, spinach), onions, peas, salad greens, sea vegetables and squashes.
Whole pieces of fruit (not juice): Fruit contains various antioxidants like resveratrol and flavonoids, which are tied to gut health and beyond.
Herbs, spices and teas: Turmeric, ginger, basil, oregano, thyme, etc., plus green tea and organic coffee in moderation.
Probiotic foods: Probiotic foods contain “good guy bacteria” that populate your gut and keep the “bad guy bacteria” in check. Try to include probiotic foods like yogurt, kombucha, kefir or cultured veggies in your diet daily.
Wild-caught fish, cage-free eggs and grass-fed/pasture-raised meat: Higher in omega-3 fatty acids than conventional farm-raised foods and great sources of protein, healthy fats, and essential nutrients like zinc, selenium and B vitamins.
Healthy fats: Grass-fed butter, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, nuts/seeds.
Ancient grains and legumes/beans: Best when sprouted and 100 percent unrefined/whole.
Red wine and dark chocolate/cocoa in moderation: Several times per week or a small amount daily. Per day, no more than four ounces of wine or 1–2 squares of dark chocolate, ideally 71 percent cacao or higher.
Studies show that moderate physical activity increases probiotic populations and enriches probiotic diversity. Exercising on most days improves your microbiome health — and your overall health as well.
Go for a walk, do some yoga or even get in a gym session. It’s one of the best ways to start your day: On your feet, moving your body, burning calories, getting your gut ready for a great day.
When functioning at its best, your gut is a healthy immune system powerhouse. It also works hard to keep your brain health in peak shape (through the gut-brain connection), while nourishing your body and removing toxins and waste.
Build several or, even better, all of these habits into your day for better gut health in the near future.