CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – If you’re looking to get healthy this summer, you may want to start by improving your gut health, which can impact your immune system, risk for chronic conditions, and your ability to manage weight.
“Gut health is really important. I think people for many years didn’t really pay attention to it, but now we’re seeing the gut as perhaps the second brain,” said Kristin Kirkpatrick, RD, registered dietitian for Cleveland Clinic.
“And it’s so important because the studies that we have in the past ten years really do indicate that our gut health plays a huge role in our overall health.”
Kirkpatrick said gut health issues aren’t always obvious. However, common symptoms may include digestive issues, changings in your bowel habits, difficulty gaining or losing weight, and having trouble managing chronic conditions.
So, what are some easy ways to improve your gut health? Kirkpatrick said try implementing different colors into your diet, which helps with microbial diversity.
For example, rotate the types of fruits and vegetables you’re eating.
It’s also important to get enough fiber. Finally, consider more probiotic-rich foods or taking a probiotic supplement.
“Then we can go the negative side, if you will, and look at what’s contributing to worsening gut health, and that can be added sugars in the diet, that would be refined grains, fast food. Again, plenty of studies showing there are things we can do to contribute to better gut health and things we can do to really worsen it,” she said.
Kirkpatrick said improving your gut health isn’t something that takes years. In fact, you may start to see some benefits in just a couple of weeks.