From the Blog

Renewing Your Gut Health for the New Year

New Pioneer Food Co-op December 21 Category: Featured Products

As we watch the holiday season wind down and look forward to the new year, many people are making resolutions to help set them up for the best year ever (which shouldn't be hard compared to 2020). Reading more, cooking at home, and heading to the gym are all the usual suspects. But one thing that's important to evaluate is your gut health. After the excessive (but delicious) food and drink that comes with the holidays, now is the perfect time to review and renew your gut health.

It used to be that our digestive system seemed like it was pretty simple. You eat food, nutrients are absorbed, and waste is excreted. But thanks to numerous studies that have come out, we've realized that our gut is a complex ecosystem consisting of up to 500 different types of bacteria. When this ecosystem is out of balance, you can have an upset stomach, unintentional weight fluctuations, fatigue, irritated skin, autoimmune conditions, food intolerances, and more.

Thankfully, there are a lot of simple and natural ways you can restore your gut microbiome and get back to your healthy lifestyle.

1. Take a Probiotic

Probiotics are essentially good bacteria that you ingest in order to help you regain the bacteria balance you need. It helps your body digest food, keeps bad bacteria in line, creates vitamins, and helps your body breakdown and absorb medications. There are a lot of different foods out there that you can introduce into your diet to get the probiotics your body needs. These include yogurt, buttermilk, sourdough bread, cottage cheese, and tempeh, along with a wide variety of others.

You can also take probiotic supplements that come in pill, powder, and liquid form. We suggest looking into Garden of Life Probiotics to start! But as with all dietary changes, we recommend you speak with your doctor first to see what's right for you.

2. Eat Fermented Foods 

Fermented foods are a widely beneficial source of probiotic bacteria, so including these in your diet will benefit your gut. Fermentation is the process of translating carbs in your diet to alcohol and organic aids.

By indulging in such foods, you're consuming the advantageous bacteria your body needs to boost overall intestinal flora. Examples of fermented foods include pickles, Agricultured Kimchi and Hue Hill Krauts.

3. Incorporate Kombucha

You may have heard all about it, but do you know all the benefits?

While an excellent example of a probiotic supplement, people aren't just going crazy for this popular drink over nothing.

Aside from being a source of probiotics, kombucha comes with many other benefits such as antioxidants, heart disease risk reduction, and the same advantages derived from green tea.

Check out the Verve or Rowdy Mermaid Kombucha on our shelves!

4. Back off Sugar and Processed Foods 

It's not much of a surprise to any of us that sugar and processed foods are two of the main culprits when it comes to compromised gut health.

Not only can they decrease your overall health of the gut microbiome, but they also increase your chances of inflammation and irritation in the stomach.

Not fun!

A good way to avoid or even slow the effects of such foods is to incorporate more whole foods into your diet.

Upping your daily dose of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and more will help your body get the beneficial nutrients it needs.

5. Get Plenty of Rest

Not getting enough sleep, or quality sleep, can lead to weight gain, a weakened immune system, cognitive issues, and can cause serious issues with your gut health (which can contribute to more sleeping issues).

The average adult should get 7-9 hours of sleep per night, so it's important to try and prioritize this time.

Sleeping also helps give your digestive system a break from food in order to heal itself.

6. Reduce Stress 

However way you are able to do so, finding the right method for you to reduce the stress you endure on a regular basis is crucial.

Not to mention the mess that was 2020, you deserve to take a step back and recharge once in a while!

Our favorite recommendations include meditation, exercise, and healthy amounts of self-care and pampering.

While thinking about "new year, new you" resolutions, be sure to factor in ways you can renew your gut health.

The best part?

Everything we listed above not only helps your body maintain a balance between good and bad bacteria, but they also have a ton of other health benefits that come alongside it.

Making these simple changes will ensure 2021 is off to a good start.

Still have questions or looking to pick up your probiotic supplement?Stop by New Pi's Wellness Department our staff are happy to assist you!

New Pioneer Food Co-op About the Author

New Pioneer Food Co-op

New Pi is a food co-operative, owned by over 35,000 members, home-grown in Iowa. We welcome everyone to our store, regardless of membership, and focus on local and sustainable food solutions. New Pi has strong roots in Iowa City’s local food community, and continues to partner with local growers, food, and sustainability organizations to enrich Linn and Johnson County communities.