As an athlete, you can usually tell right away if something isn’t quite right with your body.
A sore ankle after a game, a pinched nerve that you just can’t seem to get to go away, or tight muscles that make it tough for you to kick and throw as well as usual – these are all signs of trouble.
But lately, you’ve been feeling tired, irritable, run-down, and sick all of the time. However, the signs aren’t quite so obvious now, and you’re struggling to pinpoint the issue.
The surprising truth?
The answer may be related to an imbalance of bacteria in your gut.
Read on to learn how to build a better gut by adopting a microbiome diet.
Try a Microbiome Diet
In order to boost your stamina and metabolism, improve gut health, and just generally feel better whether or not you’re on the field or court, you may want to try the microbiome diet.
But what is a microbiome in the first place?
In short, it’s a collection of bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and even viruses that live in and on our bodies – especially within the gut. Believe it or not, we actually have about 10 times more microbiome cells than we do standard cells – so you can see right away why they matter.
Your microbiome is what’s responsible for your immune system, your digestion, and other parts of your health. If you don’t have a proper balance of these bacteria in your gut, your microbiome impact factor will be negatively impacted.
This means you’re more likely to gain weight, have high cholesterol and high blood sugar, and have a tougher time making it through athletic drills and games.
If you want to improve your microbiome balance, then you’ll need to give a microbiome-focused diet a try.
Now, let’s talk more about exactly what that means when it comes to what you can – and can’t eat.
What to Cut
If you want to learn how to build a better gut, sometimes it’s what you don’t eat that matters more than what you do.
The most important thing to do to restore bacterial balance in the gut is to stop eating processed foods. These foods contain chemicals that slow your metabolism, make you crave sugar, and can even make it tougher for you to get a good night’s sleep.
Now is also the time to talk to your doctor about whether or not certain medications you’re taking could be impacting your gut health. Antibiotics, in particular, may cause a major bacterial imbalance – and they can also damage your overall immune system.
You should also consider getting off of birth control or any other medications that interact with your hormones.
NSAID painkillers can also make it more likely for you to develop leaky gut syndrome, so get off them too if possible.
What to Eat
Of course, cutting foods out of your diet alone isn’t enough to repair and restore your gut health. (Though trust us, eliminating processed foods from your diet will certainly make you feel better in a variety of ways.) Also, you should consumme as much vitamin D and monitor it closely (this page has a ton of options to explore).
Now, let’s take a look at what you should focus on eating instead.
First and foremost, start looking for foods that are high in probiotics. Probiotics contain live and active bacteria that help to aid your digestion and restore healthy bacteria levels in your microbiome and gut.
You’ll also enjoy a higher overall immune system and an increase in energy if you eat a probiotic-rich diet – something that athletes certainly need.
Foods that are high in probiotics are kefir, kimchi, miso, sauerkraut, and even tempeh.
As you can see, fermented foods, in particular, are packed with healthy probiotics.
Now is also the time to start eating more of a plant-based diet, and even to give raw foods a try. Think things like leeks, onions, garlic, and lots of asparagus. When you first try the microbiome diet, we do suggest that you try to avoid grains for the first few weeks to allow the bacteria in your gut to “reset.”
Supplements and Herbs
One final piece of advice for those interested in understanding how to build a better gut?
Supplements and herbs can and should be taken to help speed up the process.
You should take grapefruit seed extract, zinc, vitamin D, oregano oil, and even wormwood. These supplements, unlike many prescription medications, will help to restore order in your gut. They’ll also give you a burst of energy and curb your appetite. Especially if you feel like your weight is slowing down your game, this is absolutely an essential benefit.
One more supplement you should look into is known as mimosa pudica.
Not only is it packed with antioxidants, but it also contains flavonoids that help to lower your body’s levels of oxidative stress. This keeps your cells healthy, and can even lower your risk of disease.
Go to https://microbeformulas.com/blogs/microbe-formulas/an-intro-to-mimosa-pudica to learn even more about what makes mimosa pudica such an effective way to improve gut health.
Learning How to Build a Better Gut Is Easier Than You Think
Understanding how to build a better gut is all about learning about the power of your microbiome and how it impacts your overall athletic performance.
Cutting out processed foods and some medications, getting more probiotics, and relying on supplements to fill in the gaps in your diet are all essential.
Need more tips on how to improve your diet and your game? We’ve got you covered.
Keep checking in to get more tips on supplements, injury recovery, and even how to mentally prepare yourself for a big game.