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How Can Expats Remain Gut Healthy in A New Country?

gut healthy


Moving to a different country is a very big change, which requires a great adaptation. Expats must not only adapt to a new place and culture but their gastrointestinal system must, too. The bacteria that live in the gut, known as microbiota, also have to deal with changes in diet, lifestyle, and other important factors.  How can they remain gut healthy?



Written exclusively for Expat Network by Keith J Myles of Health Canal


Studies suggest that migration can profoundly affect the bacteria that live in the digestive tract, with important health implications. Actually, one of the most notable changes is the loss of diversity in gut bacteria. The combination of species that make up the gut microbiota is strongly influenced by diet, which is why people from different parts of the world tend to have different bacteria.

All these changes in the digestive system can cause the intestine to malfunction and consequently cause many discomforts and symptoms. Therefore, below are a series of recommendations that will help expats to have a healthy gut.


Preparing the body

To minimize the impact of all these changes, it is recommended to prepare the body even long before the trip. A starting point would be to taste dishes and ingredients from the new country to see if the body feels good with them.

In the same way, it is recommended, before leaving, to do a complete medical check-up for all members of the family. In this sense, everyone should consume a balanced diet, in order to provide all the vitamins and minerals necessary to boost the immune system.


New behavior in purchasing food

Unknown purchasing habits can lead to an unhealthy diet that depends on takeaways, deliveries, and eating out. This can lead to a restricted diet full of foods high in fat and calories. The best is to buy fresh produce and avoid processed foods as much as possible, as they are often too sweet or too salty. This will greatly reduce the risks of diabetes or cholesterol.

To eat healthily, it is necessary to learn how to shop like a local, which includes: learning how to shop at local markets, and how to use local ingredients to create old favorites. There may also be specific days and times for shopping, as well as days when stores are completely closed.


Drinking water

Since being well hydrated will help to improve general health, increase energy and enhance mental functions and resistance, it’s always highly recommended to drink plenty of water daily.

Maintaining optimum hydration of the body is essential to stay healthy. Its importance is even greater for those who live in warm countries, but even more so in countries with a cold climate because the person will not necessarily feel dehydrated.

Clean and safe water is key to health, so before consuming or washing food with it, it is important to know the safety of water in the new home: It’s imperative to know if it is possible to drink directly from the tap, if it should be obtained from a local natural source or if it should only be purchased bottled.


Pro- and prebiotics

Probiotics are said to be sources of good bacteria and are found in certain foods such as yogurts, soft cheeses, and dark chocolate. The bacteria are essential for the gastrointestinal system to function normally, and can help with an upset stomach by restoring the balance of gut bacteria.

Prebiotics is special plant fibers that provide a food source for good gut bacteria in the digestive tract while probiotics are live yeasts and beneficial bacteria that support gut health. Details of types of probiotics and prebiotics are explained on healthcanal.com/supplements/258805-gundry-md-bio-complete-3.html.

An ideal balance of these is essential for a healthy gut microbiome and can help resolve digestive issues better than probiotic supplements alone.


Sleeping and physical activity

Both factors are critical even though they are not directly related to nutrition. They have a significant impact on gut health, in a good or a bad way.

Not getting enough sleep can trigger gut inflammation. Moreover, the digestive system still works while sleeping, but a little slower. This is also why having a large meal before bed is not recommended.

A balanced diet always goes hand in hand with physical activity, so the best is to try to find an exercise routine and then, exercise at least once a week. Healthcanal’s articles are a good choice to get fitness information, updated and well-sourced.


The bottom line

Moving to another country can be a stressful situation, and everything, including unknown foods and unfamiliar medical systems, can have serious implications for health. However, it has been demonstrated that embracing a new culture increases happiness, and learning a new language helps the brain work better, making expats feel healthier. With a little planning and a positive mindset, all associated risks may be minimized, maximizing the benefits even before arrival.