10 Tips for a Healthy Gut

June 19, 2023

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Written by Marusa Zamorano, MD, General Surgeon Specialised in Abdominal Surgeries, endoscopies and proctology

Nurture Your Gut Microbiome Today!

Maintaining a healthy gut is vital for overall well-being. Your gut microbiome, consisting of trillions of microorganisms, plays a crucial role in digestion, nutrient absorption, immune function, prevention of many diseases, proper mental health and more. While each person’s gut microbiome is unique, there are some practical steps that you can take to support a healthy gut. In this article, we’ll go through 10 effective tips for nurturing a healthy gut microbiome.

  • Eat a Diverse Range of Fiber-Packed Plants (30 plants per week): Including a wide variety of fiber-rich plants in your diet is essential for gut health.  Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds provide essential nutrients and feed the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Incorporate foods like garlic, onion, leeks, asparagus, and whole grains, which contain special prebiotic fibers (nondigestible substances) that support the growth of “good” gut microbes. Sources of prebiotics are: fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains – such as artichoke, asparagus, bananas, barley, beans, berries, chicory root, flax, garlic, leafy greens, oatmeal, onion, rye, wheat.
  • Include Fermented Foods: Fermented foods contain beneficial bacteria known as probiotics. Incorporating small daily portions of probiotic yogurt, kimchi, kombucha, kefir, fermented cheese and sauerkraut into your daily diet can enhance gut microbial diversity. These probiotics can settle in your gut, promoting a healthier balance of bacteria and supporting digestive health.
  • Eat plants that are different in colours: Colorful plant foods offer numerous health benefits. They are rich in fiber and polyphenols. These compounds support a healthy gut by providing antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that help maintain a diverse microbiome.
  • Live your gut to rest for a specific amount of time (non eating intervals): Provide your gut microbes with regular periods of rest. Overnight fasting allows the gut microbiota to clean up the gut and perform essential maintenance tasks. This cleansing process supports optimal gut function and healthy microbioma.
  • Avoid Ultra-Processed Foods:  These foods are typically high in sugar, unhealthy fats, and artificial additives, all of which can disrupt the delicate balance of your gut microbiome. Ultra-processed foods often lack the fiber and nutrients that nourish beneficial gut bacteria. Its way better to eat whole, unprocessed foods to support a healthy gut.
  • Hydrate for Gut Health: Staying properly hydrated is essential for overall health, including gut health. Water helps maintain adequate moisture in the digestive system, aids in digestion, and supports the transport of nutrients. Aim to drink at least 8 cups of water per day to keep your gut functioning optimally.
  • Manage Stress Levels: Chronic stress can negatively impact your gut health. Stress activates the body’s fight-or-flight response, which can disrupt digestion and alter the gut microbiome. Engage in stress-reducing activities like meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, or hobbies to promote relaxation and support a healthy gut.
  • Get Regular Exercise: Regular physical activity not only benefits your overall health but also promotes a healthy gut. Exercise helps stimulate bowel movements, supports optimal gut motility, and enhances the diversity of gut microbes. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week to keep your gut in top shape.
  • Prioritize Quality Sleep: Adequate sleep is essential for maintaining a healthy gut microbiome. During sleep, your gut microbes perform crucial maintenance tasks and contribute to a balanced gut environment. Aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night to support optimal gut health.
  • Seek Professional Guidance: Every individual’s gut health journey is unique. If you have specific concerns or conditions related to your gut, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional

Nurturing a healthy gut microbiome is key to optimal digestion, immune function, nutrient absorption, reducing the risk of inflammatory diseases, obesity, colon cancer and many other disease prevention, and also for maintaining mental health. Nurturing a diverse gut microbiome through a balanced diet, including prebiotic and probiotic-rich foods, can contribute to overall well-being and promote a healthy gut-brain connection.

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