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It’s crucial to your body’s overall health, but chances are, you’re totally ignoring it: Your gut. If you’ve had bloating, constipation, diarrhea, fatigue, weight gain or headaches recently, your gastrointestinal tract could be sending you an SOS. So we checked in with nutritionist and healthy food guru Ellie Krieger to find out how to give yourself a total gut makeover.

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gut makeover bowl
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Eat More Fermented Foods

Balancing the good bacteria in your gut keeps the bad bacteria in check. “You want to include foods rich in probiotics like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi as much as possible,” Krieger advises. Foods that are packed with good bacteria could even prevent some types of cancer, a recent study by the University of California notes.

gut makeover probiotics
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Take a Probiotic Supplement

Although probiotic-rich foods are the most effective way to get good bacteria growing in your gut, Krieger also recommends a daily supplement. “You have more than 100 trillion bacteria total in your digestive tract, so when it comes to probiotics, I look for a minimum of 15-30 billion culture count,” Krieger adds. Look for a supplement with a diverse, potent blend of good bacteria, like Renew Life Ultimate Flora Everyday Probiotic Go Pack.

gut makeover sugar
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Cut Back on Sugar

You know that mocha latte and doughnut you get as a special treat a few times a week? Welp, bad bacteria loves it just as much as you do. It multiplies whenever you eat sugar, and that includes refined carbohydrates like white bread and pasta, too. Limit these foods as much as possible to keep the bad guys from winning.  

gut makeover meat
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Eat Processed Meat Sparingly

Remember that amazing charcuterie board you and your friends shared as an app last night? It was delicious, but it might be putting you at risk for colon cancer. Meats like bacon, salami, hot dogs, chorizo, pepperoni, corned beef and pastrami could cause stomach and bowel cancer, the World Cancer Research Fund notes. Hmm, we’ll stick with the crudité plate next time.

gut makeover sleeping
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Get More Sleep

Even if you’re loading your diet with probiotics and going easy on the sugar, your gut won’t be 100 percent until you’re sleeping at least seven hours a night, every night. A recent study in the journal Molecular Metabolism suggests that less-than-stellar sleep habits change the diversity and composition of the bacteria in the gut. Ooh, sounds like the best reason in the world to sleep until noon. 

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