So-called “good bacteria” in the gastrointestinal system do more than banish bloat and indigestion. University of Kansas researchers say they send out nerve signals that cut your risk of blue moods, tiredness, and pain by 55 percent. They also release hormones that heighten appetite control, helping you shed up to 24 pounds every year! Read on four ways to foster good bacteria in your gut.
Keep a sparkly smile
Boost your gut health with dental hygiene? Yes! Five studies suggest brushing your teeth at least twice daily for two minutes each time can cut the bad bacteria in your gut by 45 percent. Explains microbiologist Phil Marsh, Ph.D., more than 300 types of oral bacteria —some healthy, some pathogenic— can survive stomach acid and grow in your gut, so keeping your gums in great shape means only healthy bacteria are entering your digestive tract when you swallow.
Pair cheese with red wine
Gouda, mozzarella and other soft cheeses brim with the healthy good bacteria that your gut needs to function at its peak, and polyphenols in red wine fuel their growth. No wonder research in the journal Molecules suggests that enjoying 4 oz. of soft cheese weekly and 4 oz. of red wine daily cuts your risk of blue moods, foggy thinking, digestive upsets and weight gain by 55 percent.
Take time for you!
The more hectic life gets, the harder it is to keep your gut happy. That’s because when the stress hormone cortisol soaks into your intestines, it weakens your gut’s good bacteria, explains molecular biologist Alex Eiler, Ph.D. To cut cortisol release by 27 percent, take 30 minutes daily to soak in the tub or relax with a hobby. UCLA researchers say lowering cortisol energizes your gut’s good bacteria, leading to a 46 percent uptick in your overall health and happiness!
Shred red cabbage
University of Minnesota researchers say enjoying 3 cups weekly of this hardy veggie could cut your risk of chronic tiredness, headaches, joint pain and other ills in half. Red cabbage preferentially feeds healthy bacteria, reducing inflammation in the gut and doubling your digestive tract’s ability to release body-healing hormones like serotonin and melatonin.