Forget Food—These 3 Habits Impact Your Gut Health Even More

When we talk about gut health, our minds automatically turn to food. And while the foods we eat do determine the mix of good and bad bacteria in our stomachs, the process just isn't that simple. "What many people do not realize is that gut health can be influenced by more than just food," Terry Wahls, MD, author of The Wahls Protocol, wrote for MindBodyGreen. "The largest factors that influence gut health are the medicine, vitamins, and supplements that people take each day."

More specifically, antibiotics, acid-lowering medications like heartburn drugs, and even everyday anti-inflammatory medications like Advil and Motrin can influence the balance of gut bacteria. "Everything you put into your gut will fertilize different bacteria and yeasts, causing a shift in the mix in the bacteria," she adds.

Some medications can even increase "leakiness" in the gut, which is when incompletely digested food is able to interact with our immune cells. "When this happens [to] someone who is genetically susceptible, they are primed to develop food sensitivities," clarifies Wahl.

While the decision to ingest traditional medication is a personal choice, there are some holistic alternatives that may be easier on your stomach (not to mention liver). Health professionals have turned to anything from essential oils like frankincense and peppermint oil to alternative medicines like acupuncture and reflexology to relieve pain naturally.

Are you a fan of alternative medicine? Share your thoughts below, and read up on the everyday eating habit that causes inflammation.