If you’re someone who struggles with digestive health, or you simply want to optimize your gut health, implementing a simple gut health morning routine is important.
With just a few simple steps you can easily support your gut health, which also sets you up for better well-being overall.
This article will explain the science behind gut health, will outline three simple steps for a gut health morning routine, as well as explain how the gut impacts many areas of our health and wellbeing.
What Makes A Healthy Gut?
The digestive system is home to millions of bacteria. The goal is to have more good bacteria than bad bacteria to support a healthy and flourishing environment for the gut microbes.
There are many factors that can impact the population of bacteria in the gut such as diet, hydration, and stress levels.
Maintaining a Gut-Healthy Diet
For one, diet plays an important role. Consuming a wide variety of fiber-rich foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and beans, helps keep the healthy bacteria alive as they feed off of fibers and carbohydrates.
The fibers that “feed” the gut bacteria are called prebiotics (1).
Having a diverse and plentiful population of healthy bacteria in the gut is perhaps the number one most important factor in determining good gut health.
Just as good nutrition has the ability to help gut bacteria thrive, consuming a diet rich in sugars, simple carbohydrates, and processed foods can negatively impact gut health.
In addition to diet, there are many lifestyle factors that play a role in gut health, too.
Maintaining a good hydration status is important to support digestion and gut health.
Adequate hydration supports nutrient digestion and absorption, encourages proper motility of the smooth muscles in the intestines, and allows good gut bacteria to thrive.
It’s no surprise that stress impacts our health in many ways. But how exactly does stress impact gut health?
Stress increases the production of cortisol, which in turn leads to a cascade of inflammatory responses in the body. Inflammation in the gut can impair the lining of the intestines, leading to impaired digestion and absorption of nutrients.
Stress can also alter the motility of the digestive tract, either leading to diarrhea or constipation and taking a toll on the population of good gut bacteria.
Simple Gut Health Morning Routine
Now that you understand some of the main factors that affect gut health, you can easily adopt a simple morning routine to support the health of your gut and help you feel your best.
Start your morning by drinking a large glass of water. This not only sets you up for better hydration throughout the day, but drinking water immediately upon waking helps the body get rid of toxins and initiates motility in the intestines.
While you can simply drink a large glass of plain water, you can level-up your hydration game by adding an electrolyte powder such as Nakedade.
Electrolytes encourage water to move to the areas of the body where it’s most needed and helps maintain optimal fluid balance within the cells.
Consume a Gut-Healthy Shake
After hydrating, your next step to the ultimate gut health morning routine is to blend yourself a simple, nutrient-dense shake rich in prebiotics and probiotics.
To easily add probiotics to your morning shake you may choose to add a high-quality yogurt that is naturally rich in lactobacillus bacteria, or you can opt for a powdered probiotic supplement such as our Naked Gut.
The great thing about Naked Gut is that it contains no added or artificial ingredients and you have the added benefit of some prebiotics – like pectin and inulin – already added to the supplement.
To make your morning shake delicious and exciting, it’s always a good idea to add a handful of your favorite fruit. Any fruit will do, but berries are particularly good for the gut thanks to their fiber content and anti-inflammatory properties.
A tasty, 2-minute shake idea is to blend your favorite milk with a handful of berries, a serving of Naked Gut, a tablespoon of chia or flax seeds, and a few ice cubes.
10-Minutes of Mindfulness
As we learned before, stress takes a toll on gut health. If you’re new to mindfulness exercises, carving out just 10 minutes each morning to devote to a mindfulness activity can do wonders for your stress levels, gut health, and overall well being.
Calming down the brain and focusing on your breath soothes the nervous system, and reduces the production of stress hormones.
You may choose to implement 10 minutes of meditation, gentle yoga, or even journaling. You can also explore different mindfulness activities to see which ones feel best for you.
Your Gut is More Than Digestion
When most people consider their gut health they think of their digestion. If digestion feels off, or you’re experiencing stomach upset, bloating, or excess gas, people usually then think about nourishing the health of their gut.
But actually, gut health goes way beyond the digestion and absorption of our food.
In fact, there are many other signs that your gut health could use some time and attention.
Perhaps you're feeling fatigued lately, or are experiencing brain fog or frequent headaches. While there may be many reasons for experiencing these symptoms, it’s possible impaired gut health is at the root of the issue.
It’s pretty wild that the gut can impact so many areas of the body. You might be wondering how exactly this works.
When nutrients are digested and absorbed, they are transported to various areas of the body for many different functions. For example, nutrients from our food are necessary to produce hormones. However, if you’re not digesting and absorbing nutrients properly as a result of an unhealthy bacterial environment in the gut, hormone production is negatively impacted.
If there is an imbalance of good bacteria in the gut, the lining of the intestines can become more permeable, leading to a condition known as “leaky gut”. Leaky gut often leads to an inflammatory response throughout the body, affecting the immune system, hormones, and energy levels (2).
What is the Gut-Brain Connection?
The gut-brain connection explains the intimate connection between the brain and the digestive system. The connection in fact goes both ways, meaning that gut health can impact brain health, and brain health can impact gut health.
An imbalance of bacteria in the gut can negatively impact mental health. Studies have found that individuals with lower counts of good gut bacteria are more likely to develop depression and anxiety (3).
On the other hand, good nutrition and nourishing a healthy environment of bacteria can improve symptoms of depression and anxiety (4).
Studies also show that good gut health can support better moods and improved mental clarity.
Gut Health and Weight Management
When you fuel your body with poor nutrition, the population of unhealthy gut bacteria tends to thrive and predominate. These microbes communicate with the brain and in fact can play a role in our cravings.
For example, people who eat diets rich in processed foods rich in saturated fats, added sugars, sodium, and refined oils are more likely to crave these foods.
However, the gut bacteria might be to blame. These unhealthy bacteria can only thrive off of the foods that encouraged their flourishing in the first place. Plus, eating a diet rich in these types of foods can contribute to weight gain for some people.
If you’re looking to manage a healthy weight it is ideal to consume a varied diet rich in whole, unprocessed foods that support a healthy gut microbe population.