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For good gut health, take a walk.

Toni-Ann DiSantis

For good gut health, take a walk.

Are bacteria the new black? They may not be ready for the runway, but the bacteria in the GI tract, known as the microbiome, and their effects on the risk of illness is a new frontier of health research. On the healthy-microbiome to-do list: avoid unnecessary antibiotics, make whole plant foods the foundation of your diet, minimize sugar and red meat, and put on your menu foods that contain beneficial bacteria, like sauerkraut and yogurt. Here’s another action item: exercise. In two preliminary studies, regular exercise was shown to increase the number of bacteria in you that produce a beneficial fatty acid that’s been linked with a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other inflammatory diseases. In other words, “good bugs” may help to explain why exercise is so good for you. In the study, participants did cardiovascular exercise for 30 to 60 minutes, three times a week. Walk, run, swim, hike, dance in your PJs…whatever activity you enjoy, start doing it and stick with it. Besides making you feel fantastic, exercise helps your health from the inside out!