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How to Quickly Increase Good Bacteria To Improve Your Gut Health

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Published By: Dr. Jeffrey Mark
Date: June 03, 2024

A healthy gut is essential for overall well-being, as it plays a crucial role in digestion, immunity, and even mental health. Increasing the number of good bacteria in your gut can lead to improved health outcomes quickly. This article will explore various methods to boost your gut's beneficial bacteria, from dietary changes to lifestyle adjustments.

Key Takeaways

  • Incorporating probiotic supplements and eating fermented foods can quickly boost the beneficial bacteria in your gut, which are essential for gut health and gut microbiome.
  • A diet rich in fiber from plant-based foods, grains, legumes, and beans supports a healthy gut microbiome and the composition of the gut microbiome.
  • Staying hydrated and consuming hydrating foods and beverages is essential for maintaining gut health and avoiding an imbalance in gut bacteria.
  • Managing stress through techniques like mindfulness and meditation can positively impact your gut health.
  • Regular exercise and adequate sleep are vital components in supporting a healthy gut microbiome.

Incorporate Probiotic Supplements

Probiotics are chock-full of live bacteria that will help ensure your gut is populated by mostly the good types of microbes. You can get a good probiotic supplement at your local health food store, however, make sure you ask your doctor what strains of cultures are best for you, and the condition you are trying to treat. There are many probiotic products out there that claim to have live cultures but do not, so it is important to do your research beforehand and speak to a registered dietitian or health professional.

Choosing the Right Probiotic

When selecting a probiotic supplement, it's crucial to consider the specific strains of bacteria included, as different types of bacteria can benefit the human gut and affect overall health differently. Different strains can have different effects on your health. For example, Lacticaseibacillus paracasei (Lpc-37) has been shown to help support a sense of good mood, healthy well being and can help with stress management.  Bacillus species are spore based and cannot colonize the small intestine and aid in treating small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.  Not all probiotics need to be bacteria. A yeast called saccharomyces boulardii help decrease the number of a pathogenic spore based probiotic called Clostridium Difficile. Using the resources on this website can help you choose the right probiotic for your needs. All the products listed on his this website use best in class sources and ingredients in a compliant good manufacturing production that is “pharmaceutical grade.” Clinical studies and experience verify quality and efficacy. Other resources are shared with the links in this article.

When to Take Probiotics

Timing can be important when it comes to taking probiotics. Some experts suggest taking them on an empty stomach, while others recommend taking them with food to support your gut. The best approach may vary depending on the specific product and your individual digestive system. Experimenting with different timings can help you determine what works best for you.

Potential Side Effects

While probiotics are generally considered safe, they can cause side effects in some people. These may include gas, bloating, and upset stomach. If you experience any adverse effects, it may be helpful to reduce the dosage or try a different product. People with severe illnesses or weakened immune systems should consult a healthcare provider before taking probiotics to ensure it benefits their health and gut.

Incorporating probiotics into your daily routine can be a simple yet effective way to boost your gut health by supporting good gut bacteria. Always consult with a healthcare provider to ensure you're choosing the right product and dosage for your needs.

Eat Fermented Foods

how to increase good bacteria in gut quickly

Fermented foods are a natural source of probiotics. Consuming the following foods regularly may improve gut health:

  • fermented vegetables
  • kefir
  • kimchi
  • kombucha
  • miso
  • sauerkraut
  • tempeh

When you purchase fermented foods, however, look for a label that says it has “live and active cultures.”

Increase Fiber Intake

fiber foods

To promote beneficial gut microbes, increasing our fiber intake is essential for the composition of the gut microbiome. Fiber not only aids digestion but also supports the growth of good bacteria in our gut. Let's explore how we can effectively boost our fiber consumption.

Best High-Fiber Foods

Incorporating a variety of high-fiber foods into our diet is crucial for good gut bacteria and gut health and gut microbiome. Some of the best options include:

  • Fruits: Apples, pears, and berries
  • Vegetables: Broccoli, carrots, and artichokes
  • Legumes: Lentils, chickpeas, and black beans
  • Whole grains: Oats, quinoa, and bulgur

How Fiber Supports Gut Health

Fiber plays a significant role in maintaining gut health and the composition of the gut microbiome. It acts as a prebiotic, feeding the good bacteria in our gut. This helps in balancing our gut microflora, supporting gut health, and starving bad bacteria. Additionally, fiber helps keep us full longer, reduces the risk of certain cancers, prevents blood sugar spikes, lowers cholesterol, and improves heart health.

Daily Fiber Recommendations

To ensure we are getting enough fiber, it's important to follow daily recommendations. For adults, the recommended daily intake is:

Age Group Men Women
19-50 45g 45g
51+ 35g 35g

Increasing cereal fiber consumption should be encouraged for overall good health and for gut microbiota diversity.

By incorporating these high-fiber foods and following the daily recommendations, we can significantly improve our gut health and overall well-being.

Stay Hydrated

stay hydrated

Proper hydration is key to keeping food moving through your intestines properly, and this movement is vital for a healthy gut. Drinking plenty of water may be linked to increased diversity of bacteria in the gut, though the source of the water also matters. Staying hydrated benefits your health overall and can help prevent constipation. It may also be a simple way to promote a healthy gut.

In addition to drinking water, we can also stay hydrated by consuming hydrating foods and beverages, which is essential for human health. Some excellent options include:

  • Cucumbers
  • Watermelon
  • Oranges
  • Strawberries
  • Soups and broths

These foods not only provide hydration but also come packed with essential nutrients that support overall health.

  1. Drink two extra glasses of water each day.
  2. Carry a reusable water bottle to remind yourself to drink water throughout the day as one of the ways to improve your gut health.
  3. Include hydrating foods in your meals and snacks.
  4. Set reminders on your phone to take water breaks.
  5. Monitor your urine color; a light yellow color typically indicates proper hydration.

Staying hydrated is one simple way you can promote a healthy gut.

Adopt a Balanced Diet

balanced diet

Eating a Variety of Plant-Based Foods

To support a healthy gut, we should aim to eat a "rainbow" of plant-based foods. A diverse diet supports a diverse microbiome. Ideally, we should try to include around 30 different types of plant-based foods each week. This variety helps to increase the beneficial bacteria in our gut and support your gut.

Limiting Sugar and Processed Foods

A diet high in animal protein, sugar, and fat, and low in fiber, like the Western diet, can decrease the amount of beneficial bacteria in our gut. It's important to limit our intake of highly processed and ultra-processed foods to maintain a healthy gut microbiome. Instead, we should focus on whole, unprocessed foods.

Incorporating Whole Grains

Whole grains are an excellent source of fiber, which is crucial for gut health. They help to feed the beneficial bacteria in our gut and support overall digestive health. Some great options include:

  • Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Brown rice
  • Whole wheat bread

By adopting a balanced diet rich in plant-based foods and whole grains, and limiting sugar and processed foods, we can significantly improve our gut health and support a balanced gut.

Manage Stress Levels

yoga for stress relief

Chronic stress can be hard on your mind and body, including your gut. Stress can cause digestive upset, nausea, and decrease the number of good bacteria. While we can’t rid ourselves of all stress completely, there are things we can do to help manage it. High levels of these hormones affect your body and may compromise gut health, indicating signs of an unhealthy gut.

Get Regular Exercise

how to increase good bacteria in gut quickly

Exercise and Gut Health Connection

Exercise supports the number of good bacteria in your gut and contributes to bacterial diversity, ultimately supporting ways to improve your gut health. Recent studies have shown that exercise can shift the abundance and function of some gut-representative bacteria. Even low-intensity workouts can help maintain a healthy gut.

Types of Beneficial Exercises

To boost gut health, we should focus on a mix of aerobic and anaerobic exercises. Here are some examples of foods to improve your gut:

  • Aerobic Exercises: Walking, running, cycling
  • Anaerobic Exercises: Weight lifting, high-intensity interval training (HIIT)

Creating a Consistent Routine

Consistency is key. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week, along with muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days each week. Let's create a balanced routine that includes both aerobic and anaerobic exercises to support our gut health, which is one of the ways to improve human health.

Working out may increase species diversity, which is one of the ways to improve your gut health. A 2014 study found that athletes had a larger variety of gut flora than nonathletes.

Prioritize Sleep

Sleep-for-gut-health

Sleep and Gut Health

Research suggests the health of your gut microbiome, including having certain 'good' bugs, is linked to better sleep. Not getting enough or sufficient quality of sleep may have serious impacts on your gut health, which can in turn contribute to more sleep issues. Getting plenty of rest can help you promote a healthy gut balance.

Tips for Better Sleep

  • Try to prioritize getting at least 7–8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night to help reset your gut.
  • Keep up a healthy sleep pattern and go to bed early to wake up sharp tomorrow.
  • Avoid erratic sleeping patterns to prevent disrupting your microbiome.

Creating a Sleep-Friendly Environment

  • Maintain a consistent sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.
  • Create a relaxing bedtime routine to signal your body that it's time to wind down.
  • Ensure your sleep environment is dark, quiet, and cool.
  • Limit exposure to screens and bright lights before bedtime.

The more you do to increase the good bacteria in your gut, the better you will sleep.

Conclusion

Improving the balance of good bacteria in your gut can have a significant impact on your overall health and well-being. By incorporating probiotics and fermented foods into your diet, consuming a variety of fiber-rich and prebiotic foods, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle with adequate hydration, sleep, and exercise, you can quickly and effectively enhance your gut microbiome. Remember, even small changes in your diet and daily habits can lead to substantial improvements in your gut health. Start today and support your digestive system for a healthier tomorrow. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are probiotics and how do they help gut health?

Probiotics are live beneficial bacteria that can help improve gut health by balancing the gut microbiome, reducing inflammation, and preventing intestinal problems.

How quickly can the gut microbiome change?

Research has shown that the gut microbiome can change within days of altering your diet, making it possible to quickly improve gut health.

What are some high-fiber foods that support gut health?

Foods high in fiber that support gut health include fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and beans, making them excellent options for ways to improve your gut. These foods provide prebiotic fiber that feeds beneficial gut bacteria.

Why are fermented foods beneficial for the gut?

Fermented foods are rich in probiotics and lactobacilli bacteria, which help maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria and keep harmful bacteria at bay.

What role does hydration play in gut health?

Staying hydrated is crucial for gut health as water helps maintain the mucosal lining of the intestines, supports digestion, and ensures the proper function of the entire digestive system.

How does stress affect gut health?

Stress can negatively impact gut health by disrupting the balance of gut bacteria, leading to issues like inflammation and digestive problems, highlighting the need for ways to improve gut health. Managing stress through techniques like mindfulness and meditation can help maintain a healthy gut.

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Dr. Jeffrey Mark
With over thirty years of experience, Dr. Mark is a leading expert in holistic gut health. His integrative approach combines conventional medicine, functional and regenerative medicine, and advanced therapies to heal the gut and transform patient health. Holding 5 board certifications, Dr. Mark offers the comprehensive expertise of five medical specialists during each patient visit. He is dedicated to optimizing wellbeing by addressing the gut-related root causes of chronic health issues.
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