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12 Ways to Restore Gut Health

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By: Erin Coleman, B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.,

Writer at The Fit Father Project

restore gut health

Looking for ways to restore gut health? Many people are aware of the link between a healthy gut and optimal health and wellness.

They just don't know HOW to restore gut health!

If you experience digestive system issues or other health problems, restoring gut health is more important than you may think.

Knowing some of the best ways to get gut health back on track is the key to optimizing your overall health and well-being.

Follow the tips below to restore gut health and reduce your risk of depression, obesity, heart disease, and other chronic diseases.

Certain outside factors, especially your diet and lifestyle, play a role in how balanced your gut bacteria is. Learn more in this in-depth article!

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Why is Gut Health Important for Men?

Gut health is important for men for numerous reasons.

Good bacteria found within the gut are crucial to maintaining optimal health.

These beneficial bacteria help you maintain the right balance of good vs. bad bacteria.

Good bacteria naturally found in the gut helps you maintain optimal gut function and boost your immune health.

Studies show that optimal gut health can reduce your risk of:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Inflammatory bowel disorders
  • Heart disease
  • Depression

More and more research points to a link between gut and brain health.

Restoring gut health in men is one of the best ways to look and feel your best while reducing your risk of illness and disease at the same time.

A great way to restore gut health is to improve your diet! Here's how to do just that.

12 Ways to Restore Gut Health in Men

Follow the tips below to improve your gut's good/bad bacteria balance and maximize your health!

Begin with a few recommendations at a time, and work your way up to an optimal gut.

1. Take Probiotics Supplements

Probiotics supplements can restore good bacteria found in your gut when your good/bad gut bacteria ratio is off-balance.

Studies show that the numerous benefits associated with taking probiotics supplements include:

  • Reduced risk of bowel disease
  • A stronger immune system
  • Reductions in lactose intolerance
  • Improved intestinal microbial balance
  • Reduced risk of high cholesterol
  • Lower risk of high blood pressure
  • Reduced traveler's diarrhea
  • Improved skin and oral diseases
  • Improved gut-brain health
  • Reduced risk of anxiety and depression
  • Fewer intestinal disorders

Consumer Labs recommends choosing probiotics supplements containing at least 1 billion colony-forming units (CFUs).

2. Eat Foods Rich in Probiotics

Eating foods rich in probiotics offers some of the same nutritional and health benefits as taking probiotics supplements.

Fermented foods are good sources of probiotics.

Consider adding the following probiotics-rich foods to daily menus to restore gut health in men:

  • Kimchi
  • Kefir
  • Fermented vegetables
  • Kombucha
  • Sauerkraut
  • Miso
  • Tempeh

Use caution when choosing kefir to avoid ingesting a large amount of added sugar.

Look at the sugar content of nutrition labels and opt for plain kefir vs. flavored varieties whenever possible.

You might be surprised to learn about all the ways ingesting probiotics can benefit your health. Click here to read more!

3. Don't Forget about Prebiotics (Fiber)

Like probiotics, prebiotic fiber is useful for restoring gut health in men of all ages.

Prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates (fiber) that probiotics feed on.

Because of this, ingesting prebiotics encourages good bacteria to multiply within your digestive tract.

Examples of foods rich in prebiotic fiber include:

  • Garlic
  • Artichoke
  • Onions
  • Whole grains
  • Asparagus
  • Bananas
  • Chicory
  • Berries
  • Leeks
  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Other legumes
  • Flax seeds

Include these foods in your diet whenever possible, or ask your doctor about taking prebiotics supplements in addition to probiotics supplements to optimize gut and overall health.

4. Avoid Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners offer no nutritional value and can wreak havoc on your gut and the rest of your body.

Studies show that non-caloric artificial sweeteners can affect your metabolism, increase your risk of glucose intolerance, and functionally alter your gut's microbiome.

Therefore, to restore optimal gut health in men, consider eliminating artificial sweeteners from your diet as much as possible.

Common non-nutritive sweeteners include aspartame, acesulfame potassium, neotame, saccharin, sucralose, stevia, luo han guo, and advantame.

Look for these ingredients on diet food labels.

Foods that might contain artificial sweeteners include:

  • Baked goods
  • Diet drinks
  • Diet foods
  • Some dairy foods
  • Some jams and jellies
  • Candies
  • Some puddings

Many “diet” foods contain artificial sweeteners to reduce the calorie and sugar content on the food label.

However, studies show that diet foods and drinks are actually associated with metabolic disease and higher body weights, not weight loss.

Avoid non-caloric artificial sweeteners whenever you can!

In this video, you'll discover one of the biggest dangers of artificial sweeteners and how they affect our gut health.

5. Eat Polyphenol-Rich Foods

Polyphenols are plant components that offer numerous health benefits, including a lower risk of inflammation, high cholesterol, and blood pressure.

Studies show that polyphenols are also beneficial for optimizing gut health.

Foods that are good sources of polyphenols include:

  • Almonds
  • Green tea
  • Grapes
  • Red wine
  • Dark chocolate
  • Blueberries
  • Onions
  • Broccoli

With the exception of red wine, which you can add to your meal plan in moderation if you'd like to, considering increasing polyphenol-rich foods in your diet to optimize gut health and the way you feel while reducing your risk of disease.

6. Increase Your Intake of Plant Foods

Many foods that offer beneficial effects on your gut health are plant-based foods.

Therefore, by increasing your intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, you can give yourself the best chance of optimizing gut health and lowering your risk of disease.

In addition to gut health benefits you can reap by eating a mainly plant-based diet, studies show that some other perks of boosting your intake of plant foods include:

  • Reduced inflammation
  • Anti-cancer effects
  • A strong immune system
  • Reduced blood cholesterol
  • Lower risk of heart disease
  • Reduced risk of other chronic diseases
  • Lower risk of diabetes
  • Lower rates of obesity

To optimize overall health and wellness and restore gut health in men, eat as many plant-based foods as you can.

Reduce your intake of processed meats and fatty cuts of red meat, as well as fried foods and high-fat dairy products.

Don't forget the importance of herbs either! Here are 10 that have great safety profiles and are also very beneficial.

7. Keep Your Stress Levels Low

Believe it or not, studies show that chronic stress can affect your gut, reshaping its composition because of inflammation and stress hormones.

Furthermore, hormones associated with stress can increase your appetite, boosting your risk of unwanted weight gain and obesity.

Getting chronic stress under control can restore gut health in men.

Some stress-relieving strategies to try include:

  • Take daily walks
  • Get regular exercise
  • Schedule relaxation into your daily routine
  • Take vacations
  • Get a massage
  • Lighten up an overly busy schedule
  • See a counselor
  • Gain social support from friends and family
  • Ask for help in stressful situations

Stress is more dangerous for your health than you might think, which is why prioritizing mental health is crucial for your overall well-being.

8. Get Sufficient Amounts of Sleep

Research shows that sleep deprivation is associated with changes in the gut microbiome, which is why getting sufficient sleep is the key to restoring gut health in men.

Reducing stress is one way to increase your chance of getting a good night's rest.

Other tips for boosting the quality of your sleep include:

  • Set a regular bedtime routine
  • Go to bed at the same time each night
  • Sleep next to a white noise machine or fan
  • Sleep in a dark, cool room
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed
  • Don't go to bed very full
  • Avoid going to bed hungry
  • Don't look at blue light right before bed
  • Get at least 7 hours of sleep each night

If you struggle to get a good night's sleep despite following these sleep guidelines, or you think you suffer from sleep apnea, see a doctor about additional options and treatments for improved sleep.

They might recommend you take medications or dietary supplements, or use a sleeping aid to help you breathe easier at night.

These 7 ways to sleep better will improve your sleeping habits, helping you to wake up rested in the morning.

9. Reduce or Eliminate Alcohol Intake

You probably already know that drinking alcohol, especially in excess, isn't great for your health.

What you might not have realized, however, is alcohol's effects on gut health in men.

Studies found that alcohol is linked with gut-derived inflammation and even organ damage over time.

Alcohol is also associated with getting certain types of cancer, including mouth, throat, esophagus, voice box, colon, rectum, and liver cancers in men and women.

If weight loss is your goal, alcohol can diminish your chance of success as it contains 7 calories in each gram but few, if any, beneficial nutrients.

Avoid alcohol if you can to restore gut health, or cut back on it as much as possible.

10. Eat Less Added Sugar

It probably comes as no surprise that studies show increased added sugar consumption is associated with changes in gut bacteria, as well as a higher risk of overweight, obesity, and other chronic diseases.

To reduce your added sugar intake, reduce the consumption of:

  • Candy
  • Soda
  • Other sugary drinks
  • Baked goods
  • Desserts
  • Syrups
  • Yogurt with added sugar
  • Tomato sauce
  • Jams and jellies
  • Many packaged foods

Instead, consume natural sugars found in fruits, vegetables, milk, and other whole foods.

Fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables and the other half with chicken, fish, seafood, eggs, or tofu plus fiber-rich starches (sweet potatoes, corn, peas, beans, lentils, or whole grains).

From your brain to your immune system to your taste buds, here are 7 negative effects sugar has on your physical health.

11. Don't Smoke or Quit Smoking

Smoking is bad for your body in numerous ways, and can negatively affect your microbiome (gut bacteria).

Research shows that smoking can change the composition of gut bacteria, as current smokers' microbiomes differ from non-smokers and past smokers.

Researchers found, however, that microbiomes of former smokers were similar to non-smokers over time.

They concluded that quitting smoking helps slowly restore gut health.

If you struggle to quit smoking, ask your doctor about solutions to increase your chance of success.

They might recommend taking medications, nicotine replacement therapy, counseling, or support groups.

If you don't succeed in quitting right away, don't give up!

It takes many people multiple tries before they successfully quit smoking long-term, as the habit is highly addictive.

12. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Maintaining a healthy weight by eating nutritious foods and getting regular exercise is an excellent way to optimize or restore gut health.

Additionally, studies show that having a good balance of healthy gut bacteria appears to reduce your risk of developing obesity.

Many of the solutions effective for restoring gut health in men also contribute to achieving or maintaining a healthy weight.

Additional healthy weight management tips include taking dietary supplements, drinking water before each meal, weighing yourself daily, keeping a food journal, increasing total water intake, drinking protein shakes, and joining organized weight loss or healthy eating plans.

The Fit Father Project has helped hundreds of thousands of members build muscle, burn fat, and achieve their goal weight without spending hours in the gym.

In fact, you can complete most FFP workouts from the comfort of your home!

The FFP team offers custom meal plans, menus, personalized workouts, email health coaching, motivational support, recipes, and more to restore gut health in men and improve your overall well-being.

Try the Fit Father Project at no cost by signing up for a free diet and workout plan today!

Bottom Line for Restoring Gut Health

The bottom line when trying to restore gut health is that most healthy lifestyle habits that aid in healthy weight management also maximize gut function.

Signs your gut health might be subpar include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Heartburn
  • Unplanned weight gain or weight loss
  • Sleeping problems
  • Food intolerance
  • Skin problems
  • Depression

Taking antibiotics long-term can negatively affect gut health.

In fact, using probiotics supplements after a bout of antibiotics may reduce the severity or duration of diarrhea.

Do what you can to restore gut health in men.

Eat a variety of whole foods (especially plant-based foods), avoid added sugar and highly processed foods, get regular exercise, and adopt the healthy habits listed above.

Talk with your doctor if you experience new or unusual symptoms, such as pelvic pain, excessive gas, long-lasting diarrhea or constipation, blood in urine, or blood in your stool.

Check-in with your doctor before taking dietary supplements to make sure they're a good option based on your medical history and current health.

Restore your gut health to help you look and feel your best. You'll be glad you did and your digestive system will thank you!

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Erin Coleman B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer at The Fit Father Project

Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian with over 15 years of freelance writing experience.

She graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in nutritional science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and completed her dietetic internship at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Prior to beginning her career in medical content writing, Erin worked as Health Educator for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Internal Medicine.

Her published work appears on hundreds of health and fitness websites, and she’s currently working on publishing her first book! Erin is a wife, and a Mom to two beautiful children.

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*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on how to restore gut health.

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