With so much competing health advice out there, it can be hard to tell the difference between solid, scientific information and nonsense based on shoddy assumptions. One thing all healthcare professionals seem to agree on though, is how important it is to have the right amount of healthy bacteria living in your digestive system.

Without a healthy gut, you are unable to properly process the food you eat and adequately absorb the nutrients. A healthy gut can easily be achieved through a balanced and diverse direct, supplemented with probiotics and fermented foods. Here are five beginner guidelines to restore gut health effectively.

1. Protect your immunity

If you find yourself susceptible to colds and viruses, it could be your gut that is to blame. Did you know that most of your immune system resides in your gut? That means that when there’s trouble happening there, your entire body takes a hit.

Even when it isn’t necessarily serious, poor gut health weakens your body’s defenses, leaving you vulnerable and much more likely to catch something that is going around. Strike the right balance of bacteria in your gut and watch your overall health improve.

2. Say goodbye to bloating and get the flat tummy you’ve always wanted

If you’re constantly having to deal with the pain and discomfort of a bloated belly, poor gut health is likely the culprit. Many people have simply learned to live with stomach stress from the food they eat, but this doesn’t have to be the case.

When your gut is lacking the good bacteria is needs to work efficiently, digesting food can be uncomfortable and ineffective. Paying attention to what you eat, cutting back on sugar, and enhancing your consumption of probiotics can be enough to get rid of the bloat for good and take the pain out of digestion.

3. Feel better inside and out

If you have a healthy gut, it will be reflected in how you feel both physically and emotionally. Many studies have linked depression and anxiety to poor gut health and have shown that overall mental well-being can be increased significantly simply by diversifying the bacteria in the gut.

When your gut isn’t healthy, you feel sluggish and unmotivated, all these negative sensations become overwhelming and lead to feelings of depression and resignation. When you gut is healthy, you feel energized, positive, and more able to take on life’s challenges with a good attitude.

4. Improve your sex life

Many studies link a lagging sex drive to an unhealthy gut. In fact, if your mind is saying yes but your body is saying no, that might be a sign that your bacteria balance is just not where it needs to be.

When your gut isn’t functioning properly, it is unable to supply enough blood to your sexual organs in order to help get things going. As your body’s largest source of serotonin production, when your gut is struggling, the rest of your body will be struggling too.

5. Keep yourself regular

One of the most common symptoms of poor gut health is constipation. If your digestive system seems to be creeping along at a snail’s pace, it is likely due to the fact that your gut doesn’t have the tools it needs to make things happen as fast as they should.

This is problematic not only because of the discomfort it causes, but also because you don’t properly absorb the nutrients from your food is they aren’t processed quickly enough. Give your body lots of fibre-rich foods and healthy fats in order to speed things up and get your bacteria balance back to a healthy level.