Having a healthy gut microbiome helps to control your gut health. Your gut microbiome is made up of trillions of microorganisms, of which some are “good for you” and some are “bad.” The most important part is that it’s ok to have levels of “bad” bacteria in your gut as long as you have a balance of the good guys. If your microbiome is out of whack, then you’re at greater risk for disease. An unbalanced microbiome may lead to the risk of irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, and even colon cancer.
There are things that you can do in your everyday life to ensure you obtain a healthy gut to reduce the risk of these diseases. Some of those changes include watching what you’re eating and drinking. If you feel like you’re at risk, or just want to focus more on your gut health, try starting with your morning routine. We spoke with Jen Bruning, MS, RDN, LDN, Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, regarding some morning habits to support your gut health.
According to Bruning, water is our primary and best source of hydration. And having some water in the morning is a good start to get your day going.
“We’re dehydrated when we wake up, so hydrating in the morning is crucial for getting us to perform at our best,” says Bruning. “Plus, dehydration can cause constipation, because fiber needs water to do its job. Drinking water in the morning is a great way to start the day right for our gut and overall health.”
This is good news for the coffee-lovers who need their morning pick-me-up!
“A cup of coffee can help you stay regular,” says Bruning. “And since it’s normally consumed in the morning, it has earned its place on this list!”
Bruning continues to suggest that while regular coffee has the most potent effect, it isn’t just caffeine that is supporting your digestion: “Decaf coffee can also stimulate the body to move its bowels,” says Bruning. “Drinking coffee may even favorably affect the composition of our gut microbiome.”
However, it’s important to note a couple of things.
“Don’t overdo it on coffee for the sake of gut health; but if you regularly enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning without adverse effects, your gut may just thank you for it,” says Bruning.
Furthermore, coffee’s effect is not experienced by all coffee drinkers, so don’t put all your eggs in one basket (or coffee in one cup) for gut health expectations.
Another way to get the juices flowing is by drinking your fiber.
“Some juices contain a dose of fiber, like prune juice and some tomato-based juices,” explains Bruning. “A fiber supplement mixed into water or juice can help you start the day with a dose of fiber that 90% of Americans are lacking.”
Bruning continues to state that a mixture of soluble and insoluble fiber is key to health and healthy bowels. Soluble fiber may help improve digestion, while insoluble fiber may soften stool, making this the perfect team for a healthy gut.
“If you struggle to get enough fiber in your day as so many people do, then starting the day with a fiber-containing beverage may help meet your needs,” she says.
Smoothies are a great way to get in any fruits you may not get in otherwise throughout the day. It also makes for a refreshing and rejuvenating start to the day.
“Use fiber-rich fruits like berry blends and include ground flax or chia seeds for added nutrients and fiber,” Bruning suggests. “Similar to juice and supplement drinks, smoothies can give you the one-two punch of fiber and the liquid it needs to be effective.”
A further suggestion? Add in yogurt or kefir and you’re getting a helping of gut-friendly probiotics to boot!
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