Having a healthy gut sets a magnitude of positive effects throughout the body. Not only does it improve digestion, mood, and sleep, but it also affects the immune system, fatigue, and overall body function. In recent years, social media has welcomed an abundance of gut health-related topics. And with it came numerous "quick fixes" to heal the gut. But do they really work? Let's find out.
Celery juice went viral not so long ago as a drink to have first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Registered dietitian Rachel Swanson explained that this beverage may be helpful to maintain a healthy digestive system. But for some, it can have negative effects, "For those with pre-existing conditions like IBS or SIBO, celery juice can exacerbate symptoms like bloating due to the large bolus of the polyol called mannitol (a fermentable carbohydrate)." The process of fermentation incurs gas, explained Swanson. A second popular remedy is the use of pre and probiotics, such as fermented kimchi, yogurt, and sauerkraut. Similar to celery juice, this supplement may be harmful to those suffering from SIBO. But on the other hand, "A diet rich in both pre-and probiotics is key to supporting overall microbiome health and, in turn, will benefit much more than the gut (e.g. the immune system)," said Swanson. "Supplemental, strain-specific pre-and probiotics are often used as a more targeted approach for GI concerns, like managing digestive discomfort in cases of IBS or dysbiosis, or to help lower inflammation."
Another hack the internet has spread is drinking apple cider vinegar, either as a shot or mixed in with water to dilute the strong taste. Swanson advised, "There is definitely some merit when it comes to ACV being used as a digestive aid and/or for acid reflux." Yet still, while it may be all the rage amongst influencers and celebs, there has never been any real scientific research conducted on the effects of ACV on the gut.
Overall, there are hundreds of tips and tricks all over the internet, and while some may be beneficial for our gut health, it's probably best to ask a doctor or a registered dietitian what foods or supplements will be best for you. Stay tuned for more health hacks!