11 Gut Health Tips That Will Boost Your Digestion By Tomorrow


Ever wonder why some days you’re exceptionally focused (and feel great!)—while others you’re foggy and bloated? Before you dismiss this as just your body’s normal behavior, let’s pause. Your gut could be the culprit. This powerful bodily system does more than digest food. It influences your entire well-being. If you’re tired of digestive discomfort, unpredictable energy levels, and unexplained health woes, it’s time to make a change. And good news: drastic measures aren’t the answer—incorporating a few simple gut health habits is. Let’s dive into the daily practices that will keep you (and your gut) thriving.

Edie Horstman

Edie Horstman

Edie is the founder of nutrition coaching business, Wellness with Edie. With her background and expertise, she specializes in women’s health, including fertility, hormone balance, and postpartum wellness.

Gut Health: It’s Not Just a Trendy Topic

We’ve said it once, but we’ll say it again: gut health isn’t just a buzzword. It’s fundamental to our vitality. Our quality of life depends on it. Gut health is a key player in everything from nutrient absorption and mood stability to hormone balance and cognitive function. Without a healthy gut, a slew of chronic illnesses come knocking—digestive disorders, weakened immunity, and more. If you want to protect your longevity (and improve all areas of your well-being!), hone in on your gut health. It’s never mattered more than now.

Monique Volz pouring smoothie.

Signs of a Healthy Gut

So, how can you tell if your gut is in good shape?

Regular (and comfortable) digestion

One of the most apparent signs of a healthy gut is rhythmic, pleasant digestion. What this means: you’re having bowel movements at least once a day without straining or discomfort. Stools should be well-formed and easy to pass, typically resembling the shape and consistency of a smooth, soft log.

Minimal gastrointestinal symptoms

A healthy gut typically experiences minimal gastrointestinal symptoms. This includes the absence of chronic issues—bloating, gas, abdominal pain, constipation, or diarrhea. Of course, occasional mild symptoms are normal, but frequent or severe discomfort may indicate an imbalance.

Good energy levels

As mentioned, the gut plays a crucial role in nutrient absorption. When it’s functioning well, your body efficiently absorbs the nutrients it needs, leading to sustained energy levels throughout the day. Chronic fatigue or low energy can sometimes be linked to poor gut health.

Strong immune system

A significant portion (as in, over 70%!) of your immune system is located in the gut. If you rarely get sick and recover quickly when you do, it’s a sign that your gut microbiota is healthy—and for that matter, effectively supporting your immune defenses.

Healthy skin

Did you know a balanced gut microbiome can help reduce inflammation and improve skin conditions? Clear, healthy skin (without chronic issues like acne, eczema, or rosacea) indicate a healthy gut.

Stable mood

Emerging research highlights the gut-brain axis—the connection between gut health and mental health. In essence, a healthy gut contributes to stable moods and better mental health. If you experience infrequent mood swings, anxiety, or depressive symptoms, it’s a sign that your gut microbiota is balanced.

Few food sensitivities

A thriving gut often has fewer food sensitivities and intolerances. If you can eat a wide variety of foods without experiencing adverse reactions, it suggests your gut is well-balanced and your digestive system is functioning properly.

odette annable

Symptoms of an Unhealthy Gut

On the flip side, do you notice stomach pain after eating, often feel sluggish, and experience acne flare-ups after noshing on sugar? These are all signs of an impaired gut. Once you’re aware of these symptoms, you can take the first step toward better digestive health.

  • Chronic digestive discomfort. Inevitably, frequent digestive issues such as bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain are common signs of an unhealthy gut. These symptoms indicate your digestive system is struggling to process food and manage waste efficiently.
  • Persistent fatigue/sleep disturbances. Poor gut health affects the body’s ability to absorb nutrients properly, and this leads to a constant feeling of tiredness. Of course, this will also interfere with sleep patterns!
  • Autoimmune conditions. Chronic illnesses (i.e., autoimmune diseases, allergies, and metabolic conditions) are typically linked to poor gut health.
  • Constant illnesses/infections. As mentioned, a significant portion of the immune system resides in the gut. Without a balance of good bacteria, you may find yourself constantly getting sick.
  • Unintentional weight changes. An unhealthy gut can affect the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, regulate blood sugar, and store fat. Weight fluctuations may indicate a lack of balance in your gut microbiota.
  • Bad breath. Chronic bad breath—also known as halitosis—can be linked to gut health issues. Poor digestion and an imbalanced gut microbiome can contribute to bad breath, signaling your gut might need attention.
  • Sugar cravings. Harmful bacteria and yeast (i.e., Candida) feed on sugar, and an overgrowth of these organisms creates relentless sugar cravings.
watermelon feta salad

Habits for a Thriving Gut

If you’re ready to foster a balanced microbiome, hit scroll. By prioritizing these gut health habits, you’re meeting two objectives with one move: giving your physical and emotional well-being a boost.

1. Prioritize Fiber-Rich Foods

It might be time to reach for an extra serving of greens, top your breakfast with blueberries, or dust off your blender. Most Americans aren’t getting enough fiber. As in, less than 5%. But dietary fiber is imperative for maintaining a healthy gut. It acts as a prebiotic, feeding beneficial bacteria in the gut and promoting their growth. Plus, fiber aids in digestion by adding bulk to stool, facilitating regular bowel movements, and preventing constipation.

High-Fiber Foods to Include in Your Diet

  • Fruits: Berries, apples, pears, pomegranates, avocados, and bananas
  • Veggies: Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, and spinach
  • Legumes: Lentils, chickpeas, black beans, and peas
  • Whole grains: Oats, quinoa, brown rice, and barley
  • Nuts and seeds: Almonds, chia seeds, flaxseeds, and sunflower seeds
woman drinking water by pool

2. Stay Hydrated

Water is vital for maintaining a healthy digestive system. It helps break down food, enabling nutrients to be efficiently absorbed. Staying hydrated also aids in preventing constipation.

Tips to Increase Daily Water Intake

  • Carry a water bottle. Okay, duh, but it’s worth the reminder! Keep a reusable water bottle with you throughout the day to encourage regular sips.
  • Set reminders. For some of us, phone alarms or reminder apps help us drink water at regular intervals.
  • Flavor your water. Add a slice of lemon, cucumber, or a few mint leaves to your water for a refreshing taste.
  • Make herbal teas. Ginger, peppermint, and chamomile can soothe the digestive tract and reduce bloating.
  • Sip bone broth. Bone broth is rich in collagen and amino acids to support gut lining integrity and overall gut health.
homemade probiotic yogurt

3. Probiotics, Prebiotics, and Postbiotics

The 3 P’s for gut health: probitoics, prebiotics, and postbiotics. They each play a different role when it comes to enhancing digestive wellness.

Probiotics

Probiotics are live beneficial bacteria that help balance our gut microbiota. They do a slew of things for digestion, along with reducing symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders and boosting immunity.

Prebiotics

Prebiotics, on the other hand, are non-digestible fibers that feed beneficial gut bacteria, promoting their growth and activity. They’re equally essential for maintaining a healthy gut microbiome.

Postbiotics

Postbiotics—which aren’t nearly as popular as pre- and probiotics—are the byproducts of probiotic bacteria metabolism. They include enzymes, peptides, and short-chain fatty acids—each with unique health benefits. You get postbiotics through a diet rich in fiber, fermented foods, and supplements.

Fermented Foods and Supplements

  • Fermented foods: Yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, and kombucha.
  • Prebiotics: Garlic, asparagus, bananas, leeks, oats, and chicory.
  • Supplements: If you don’t love eating fermented foods, consider taking a gut-supportive supplement.
radhi wake-up-call_gut health habits

4. Stress Management

Could your hectic lifestyle be causing digestive woes? Is stress compromising an otherwise healthy gut? Bear in mind that chronic stress is a common culprit behind gut issues. Stress alters gut microbiota and increases intestinal permeability (leaky gut, IKYKY). When it comes to gut health habits, stress management is key.

Practical Stress Management Techniques

  • Meditation: Practice mindfulness meditation to reduce stress and promote relaxation.
  • Exercise: Engage in regular physical activity to boost endorphins and reduce stress hormones. Mild-to-moderate movement is great! No need to add more stress on your body by taking HIIT classes.
  • Deep breathing: Perform deep breathing exercises to calm the nervous system and reduce stress.
woman reading book in bed

5. Sleep

The link between sleep and gut health runs deep. Adequate sleep is crucial for maintaining a healthy gut—and vice versa, gut issues make sleep much more difficult. It’s a two-way street. Poor sleep leads to an overgrowth of harmful bacteria and a decrease in beneficial bacteria. This imbalance can increase the risk of gastrointestinal issues (i.e., IBS and inflammation). Additionally, poor sleep can exacerbate stress, which—as mentioned—has consequences on gut health.

Strategies for Sound Sleep

  • Establish a routine: Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
  • Create a relaxing environment: Ensure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool.
  • Limit screen time: Avoid screens for at least an hour before bedtime.
  • Watch the sunset: If possible, watch the sun go down (and even better, watch it rise in the morning!). This helps support a normal circadian rhythm.

6. Limit Ultra-Processed Foods and Sugars

Along with eating enough fiber, it’s important to minimize ultra-processed foods and those high in sugar. Both of these harm our gut microbiota by promoting the growth of bad bacteria/reducing beneficial bacteria. Over time, this can lead to inflammation and digestive issues. It might be worth experimenting with a refined-sugar-free diet (and skipping all sugar alcohols and thickening agents, like guar gum) to see if your digestion improves.

Healthier Alternatives and Moderation Tips

  • Whole foods: When in doubt, choose whole, unprocessed foods—fruits, veggies, lean proteins, and healthy fats (avocados, walnuts, olives, etc.).
  • Natural sweeteners: Opt for natural sweeteners, like raw honey or 100% pure maple syrup.
  • Read labels: Be mindful of food labels and avoid products with long lists of artificial ingredients.
walking on under desk treadmill

7. Exercise

Yes, daily movement is vitally important for our gut microbiome. (It increases the diversity of beneficial bacteria, reduces inflammation, and keeps us regular!). However, overdoing it has the opposite effect. In fact, exercise that is too intense can cause physical stress, leading to elevated cortisol. And high cortisol levels negatively impact gut health by disrupting the balance of good gut bacteria. Rather than take a music-blaring, heart-pumping, super sweaty spin class, opt for cozy cardio, yoga, or strength training.

Ideas for Incorporating Physical Activity

  • Daily walks: Aim for a daily brisk walk to get your body moving. You can break this up into a short morning walk and a longer evening walk, or consider a treadmill desk!
  • Yoga: Practice yoga to enhance flexibility, reduce stress, and support digestion.
  • Strength training: Incorporate weight lifting or resistance training to build muscle and support metabolic health.
Woman sitting in sauna.

Underrated Gut Health Tips

Who doesn’t love a few under-the-radar tips? We’re here to deliver the goods. If your lifestyle allows, below are a few more habits to add to your repertoire.

Sauna and Cold Plunge

Alternating between sauna and cold plunge can stimulate circulation and reduce inflammation, benefiting overall gut health. Cold exposure, specifically, positively influences our gut microbiome by promoting a diverse and balanced microbial population. Studies show that cold therapy promotes a healthier gut ecosystem!

Mindful Eating

Although easier said than done, mindful eating encourages better digestion and prevents overeating. By eating without distractions—and in a slower manner—you’ll pay better attention to hunger and fullness cues. In turn, your gut will thank you.

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting (IF) gives your digestive system a break and promotes autophagy, which supports cellular health and gut function. While IF isn’t for everyone, it might be worth a shot. To ease into it, give your body a full 12 hours between dinner and breakfast. This aligns with the body’s natural fasting during sleep.

Posture and Breathing

Don’t underestimate the power of good posture! Additionally, proper breathing is necessary for optimal digestion. Both of these things reduce stress and improve blood flow to our digestive organs.

woman reading

The Takeaway

Remember: small, consistent changes lead to profound health benefits. Take a stab at these straightforward gut health habits (or pick which tips resonate most!) and watch your entire well-being improve.





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