The health of your gut microbiome has an incredible impact on your overall health, and it’s not just about how you eat.
Food plays a major role, but what are other ways to nurture your gut and the microbes that live there? We’ve put together 5 achievable goals that can help you kick-start gut health.
Remember, when it comes to making these types of health-positive lifestyle changes, the key to success is to start small and be consistent. Small changes add up to big progress.
#1 Get more (and better) sleep
Try tuning in to your body’s internal clock.
Your internal clock, or circadian rhythm, is regulated by receiving normal exposure to light during the day and to darkness during the night.
Disruptions to this rhythm can lead to sleep disorders, as well as affect mood and comprehension.
So aim for a set bedtime (your smart phone or watch can help with reminders to start winding down.) After that reminder pops up, go ahead and turn off all of your devices at least 30 minutes before bed. The blue light emitted from screens can suppress the release of sleep hormones, making it harder for you to get the high-quality shut-eye your body needs.
#2 Nurture your gut with a healthy diet
Obvious, right? But that doesn't mean dieting. Focus on adding foods in that will nurture your gut, rather than cutting foods out.
We’ve all experienced it: The more you deprive yourself of the treats you love, the more you seem to crave them. Instead, try cultivating a healthier mindset around food by following a gut-microbiome diet and adding in more fruits and veggies, rather than cutting out treats.
Schedule a weekly grocery run or delivery so that you always have fresh produce on hand. Or, try meal prepping in advance to cut down on cooking time. (Meal kit delivery companies that supply prepped, healthy meals helps too.)
After filling up on nutrient-dense, satisfying food, you might find that you don’t want that second cookie after all.
#3 Make time for physical exercise
Think of exercise as self-care. It's a critical component to your health!
It can be hard to dedicate the time to exercise, and it can be defeating if you miss your daily walk. Start by creating some accountability with someone besides yourself, perhaps by making a standing appointment with a friend for a walk or a class at the gym.
Building habits and routine makes this goal much easier to achieve. Make exercise an "appointment" in your calendar, and give it the same priority you would give an important meeting.
Check out 10 ways to get some fun movement without it feeling like a workout.
#4 Nourish your body and soul
It’s all about finding your flow. What energizes you?
Flow-state activities, or activities that put you “in the zone,” bring your focus into the present. Watch for the cues and try to incorporate more energizing moments in your day to day.
Common flow-state activities include:
- Playing music
- Yoga, and
- Engaging with friends
These activities are intrinsically rewarding because you enjoy doing them. The flow state helps balance your body and avoid stress (and stress is terrible for gut health).
#5 Increase your energy
While it’s tempting to rely on caffeine for an energy boost, the truth is that rejuvenating sleep, adequate exercise, and proper nutrition are better ways to create and maintain normal energy levels throughout the day. (Stop those crashes!)
In terms of nutrition, try having a handful of small meals throughout the day instead of three large ones.
If these “mini-meals” are nutrient-dense and low glycemic, you'll provide your brain with a steady supply of nutrients, decreasing your perception of fatigue.
Of course, Pendulum probiotics are designed to support a thriving gut microbiome. With a daily Pendulum probiotic + these other lifestyle goals, your healthy gut will start to generate benefits to your health overall.