Having a healthy gut is gold. A healthy gut usually results in a healthy life. Better digestion, improved immunity, restorative sleep, improved mood, and potential prevention of some cancers and autoimmune diseases. Good gut health equals good overall well-being.
For men, good gut health means optimal body and mind functionality. Having a healthy digestive tract is not all about what you eat. It pertains to several lifestyle factors such as what medications are taken, frequency of travel, and amount of stress and how men deal with it.
Signs of poor gut health
In case men are unfamiliar with the signs of grumpy gut health, here are symptoms they may experience:
- Acid reflux
- Nausea or vomiting
Problems of an unhealthy gut come from dysbiosis, which is an unbalance of gut microbiota associated with poor gut health.
Causes of gut dysbiosis include the following:
- Eating mostly processed food
- Taking antibiotics
- Overeating refined carbohydrates
- Uncontrolled stress levels
- Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol
- Insufficient sleep
- Infrequent exercise
How to regain good gut health
Fortunately, good gut health is possible with both dietary and lifestyle changes. When practiced regularly, the digestive tract will respond fairly quickly with noticeable improvements within a few weeks, if not sooner.
Here are the best solutions for reaching a healthy gut:
- Men need 38 grams of fiber daily
Fiber is found in plant-based foods – no animal-based foods (red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, milk) offer fiber.
There are two types of fiber – soluble and insoluble. It’s best to get a combination of both, and most foods containing fiber will contain soluble and insoluble fibers. Soluble fiber acts as fuel for feeding healthy gut bacteria. These bacteria are essential for producing vitamins and short-chain fatty acids for healthy benefits.
Every day, include rich sources of both soluble and insoluble fibers found in whole grains, brown rice, oatmeal, all fruits and vegetables, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds.
- Men need to include fermented foods in their diet
The term fermentation was used thousands of years ago and is still used today to preserve food. Foods that are fermented mean bacteria have been added to help break down the food to make changes. For example, turning milk into yogurt or cucumbers into pickles are methods of fermentation changing the characteristic of the food using bacteria.
Healthy fermented foods to include:
- Men should keep hydrated
The best way for all of us to stay hydrated is to drink plenty of water daily. Sufficient water provides numerous health benefits, such as healthy skin and brain functioning. Even how much water men drink will influence their gut microbiome.
Staying well-hydrated with water helps support digestion and the intestinal lining. In addition, good hydration is necessary for the gut to absorb nutrients like electrolytes, vitamins and minerals.
The recommended water intake daily for men is 125 ounces or about 15 8-ounce cups. However, since everyone’s water needs vary depending on a person’s activity level, metabolism, and weight, this is a general recommendation.
- Men need to practice stress management
High-stress levels can negatively impact gut health. For example, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is often triggered when stress levels are high. Chronic stress can also cause the following:
- Excessive fatigue
- Muscle tension
- Hormonal imbalance
A certain amount of stress is always present in everyone’s life. The key is relying on stress reduction tools to effectively manage it to prevent from affecting digestion. Certain stress reducers may include taking a walk after lunch, going to bed a little earlier, talking to a therapist, or practicing deep breathing.
- Men need to exercise regularly
Exercise is a must to diversify the number of beneficial microbes in the gut. In addition, a regular exercise routine helps the gut by:
- Increasing blood flow to muscles helps with peristalsis, or the movement of food through the digestive tract.
- Promotes restful sleep
Even if men can exercise for at least 30 minutes daily, they will notice a significant improvement in their gut health.
- Men should chew their food thoroughly
No more hurriedly eating food down at each meal. Chewing foods slowly and thoroughly will positively impact gut health. The act of chewing is the start of digestion. When rushed, the body will have difficulty digesting food properly. Intentionally chewing each bite of food for at least ten bites before swallowing will help the gut better process and break down food.
Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911.