It’s sometimes referred to as the ‘second brain’, and for good reason. The gut’s microbiome contains at least 100 trillion beneficial bacteria, which affect everything from libido and skin health to hormone balance and overall energy levels. From recognizing the signs of inadequate digestion to giving the microbiome the bacteria it needs to remain in balance, below are a few tips to restore gut health.

1. Stress Less and Sleep More

While it’s an elementary part of overall health, controlling stress and getting enough sleep plays a crucial role in keeping the gut healthy. Epinephrine, a stress hormone, allows harmful gut bacteria to grow unchecked; they then adhere to the intestinal wall, causing inflammation. Furthermore, sleep deprivation disrupts the regulation of epinephrine flow in the brain, leading to a higher concentration. To ease into things, try going to bed 15 minutes earlier each night, gradually arriving at the suggested seven to eight hours of sleep. To keep stress at bay, try techniques such as brisk walks and short meditations.

2. Include Probiotics and Prebiotics as Part of a Healthy Diet

Probiotics are the good yeasts and bacteria that restore gut health and keep the digestive system in balance. Numerous foods, such as cultured vegetables and fermented drinks, are rich in probiotics, and others are fiber-rich, which means they feed those good bacteria. Different bacteria feed on different types of fiber, and it’s crucial to get it from various sources. While food sources are the most effective way to deliver probiotics to the gut, a supplement may serve as a good insurance policy on days when your diet leaves something to be desired.

3. Try a Gut Reset or Cleanse

If you’re looking to make wholesale dietary changes but need a push in the right direction, a goal-specific meal delivery plan may be the way to go. These cleansing plans are designed to reset the digestive system and restore gut health. Full of plant-based foods, broths, and probiotic-rich goodies, these diets deliver the beneficial bacteria the gut needs. The whole-body benefits of a better diet, such as stress reduction, mental clarity, better sleep, and increased energy, aren’t to be dismissed.

4. Increase Water Intake

The human body needs water for energy, immunity, and skin health, but it needs it to move the digestive system along as well. While eight glasses per day is a great place to start, you can take it further by hydrating with decaffeinated teas like chamomile and ginger.

Good health starts in the digestive system, and when you restore gut health, you become healthier and more vibrant overall. By following these easy tips, you’ll be on your way to a healthier gut before you know it.