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10 Habits of People with a Happy Gut

Daily steps for a healthy microbiome


A healthy gut is vital to your overall wellness, playing a role in everything from immune function to nutrient absorption. But what is the best way to optimize your microbiome? The key lies in emulating the daily habits of those who have mastered it.


They eat a diverse diet

Imagine your gut as a vibrant city where each type of bacteria is a unique inhabitant. Just as a city thrives on the diversity of its people, your gut flourishes on a variety of diverse foods. You can invite a rich community of microbes into your gut by eating a rainbow of fruits, veggies, grains, and legumes.


They stay hydrated

People with a happy gut don’t skimp on hydration. Drinking plenty of fluids—especially water—is key for keeping your gut system functioning smoothly. Staying properly hydrated helps maintain an oasis for beneficial bacteria to thrive. A well-watered gut prevents unwelcome guests like bloating and constipation from crashing the party.


They eat fermented foods

Think of probiotics as your gut’s superheroes. These mighty micro-organisms wage war against harmful bacteria to maintain your gut balance. Probiotics are found in fermented foods like sauerkraut, miso, and tempeh, and they can also be taken in supplement form. Try these Spicy Chicken Skewers for a filling and probiotic-rich meal!


They eat plenty of fiber

Eating plenty of fiber is another healthy gut hack. Beneficial gut bacteria love fiber, as enzymes from your digestive system’s microbiota break it down, producing short-chain fatty acids. The more fatty acids inside your colon, the less hospitable your gut is to damaging micro-organisms. You can easily add fiber to your diet by loading up on those fruits, veggies, and whole grains.


They don’t smoke

People with a healthy gut know the risks of smoking cigarettes. In addition to a number of harmful side effects, the toxic chemicals in cigarettes can kill certain microbes, leading to decreased microbe diversity and an imbalance in the gut microbiome. Finding it hard to quit? Reach out for help.


They live with a furry friend

Having a furry friend around the house isn’t just about companionship. Pets, particularly dogs, can help expose you to a myriad of friendly microbes you might not encounter otherwise. Each time your dog enters your home, they expose you to new microbes by tracking in dirt, grass, and bugs. The more diverse the microbial exposure, the healthier the gut.


They limit their liquor

It’s probably no surprise that drinking alcohol in excess can harm gut bacteria. An excess of alcohol consumption leads to an imbalance in the gut, creating a cascade of unwelcome effects, including inflammation, trouble absorbing vital nutrients, and a weakened immune system. Alcohol can also damage the gut lining, which is potentially linked to leaky gut syndrome.


They exercise regularly

We know that exercise offers numerous health benefits and is a key component of a healthy lifestyle, but did you know that one of those benefits is a diverse microbiome? A 2023 study found that 30 minutes of exercise at least three times per week showed positive effects on the gut. Research also shows that exercise boosts the growth of beneficial bacteria.


They know how to manage stress

High levels of stress can wreak havoc on the gut. When the autonomic system sends out signals of distress, it upsets the balance within our gut microbiota. Certain neurotransmitters also kick into overdrive, affecting how effectively we absorb nutrients and how the gut’s immune system functions. Those with a healthy gut find stress-busting techniques that work for them, such as finding green space, exercising frequently, and eating mood-boosting foods.


They don’t skimp on their zzzs

Those with good gut health know that getting a good night’s sleep is essential for managing digestion and overall balance in the body’s systems. In fact, researchers are hopeful that the relationship between gut health and sleep is a two-way street, and they’re examining gut-based treatments as a method to improve sleep quality.



No Proof

No Proof

Raise a glass and say cheers to not-so-hard drinks

Matthew Kadey, MSc, RDMatthew Kadey, MSc, RD