Preparing Your Body Right: How to Starve Bad Gut Bacteria

So, you’re interested in improving your gut health. That’s fantastic! Having a healthy gut is extremely important, and with bacteria greatly outnumbering the human cells within our body, it’s important we pay attention to what’s running rampant within us.

Starve Bad Gut Bacteria

Maintaining a good balance of good and bad bacteria are essential for living a healthy life and reducing the risk of some conditions, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Poor mental health
  • Poor mood
  • Heart disease

So how do we starve out the bacteria in our guts? Well I’ll give you the rundown on how to make your gut a healthier home for your microbial friends.



Bad Bacteria and the Meaning of “Starving”

Bad Gut Bacteria

So in case you aren’t aware, we have two types of bacteria: good and bad. It would take hours to list them and their benefits or consequences, so we’ll just sort them by that.

If you ever wondered why probiotics exist, it’s because it’s used to support the good bacteria so they can continue working with your body to improve your health. However, if you have too much bad bacteria to the point where the good bacteria can no longer fight back, also known as dysbiosis, that’s when you need an antibiotic. The bad thing is that antibiotics are indiscriminate, and so will kill off any good bacteria it comes across as well.

Is there a way to keep the good while still killing off the bad? There is, actually. It’s called “starving” your gut bacteria.

“Starving” refers to feeding the good without feeding the bad. This includes abstaining from certain foods that may feed bad bacteria, eating foods that support good bacteria, among other actions to dwindle them out. If bad bacteria can’t thrive, it will starve and eventually be overtaken.

What are some ways you can starve out your bad bacteria? Here’s a few methods.


Go Mediterranean and Fermented, Not Western and Sugary

Greek salad - Mediterranean diet
Greek salad – Mediterranean diet

AKA, feed your good bacteria, not your bad. The “Western Diet” refers to a diet that is high in sugar, fat, animal proteins, and is low in fiber. These foods decrease the total amount of bacteria in your body, including the good kind. So in the end, you have a lesser amount of bacteria, but still have the same imbalance. It’s also been linked to having a greater chance of developing heart disease, diabetes, and yes, even certain cancers. You should also really cut down on the sugar, as that is only making things worse as well.

What you want to do is this with the “Mediterranean Diet”, which dictates a larger intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and a lower intake of red meat, meat in general, dairy products, and processed foods. It not only increases the amount of bacteria in your gut, but also supports the good bacteria that you need to stay healthy. You need to focus on high fiber especially.

As well, you should think about having a glass of wine or some dark chocolate here and there, as they’ve been shown to help increase beneficial bacteria. This does not work with other types of alcohol, however. It’s mostly because of the fact that wine contains fermented berries, and fermented drinks or foods greatly benefit good bacteria. Other fermented foods include kimchi, pickles, sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir, and miso. They are rich in live bacteria and thus can help with your gut.


Get Some Sleep

Sleeping reduces bad gut bacteria

If you’re someone who values their sleep, this is for you. Sleep is highly beneficial for your body in general, but also for your gut health.

Dr. M. Andrea Azcárate-Peri is a director at the Microbiome Core Facility at the University of North Carolina, and he claims that it’s important for your body to wake up naturally.

“The gut microbiota has a circadian rhythm like we do,” he’d said about the subject. “Our gut microbiota will fluctuate in terms of composition and abundance based on our rhythm of when we eat and sleep. If that circadian rhythm is disrupted, we are going to have issues. We don’t want to interrupt that cycle.”

So, if you have a day off, why not turn off your alarm whilst starving out the nasty bits in your gut?


Stay Hydrated

Stay Hydrated

If you’re trying to detox your gut, go ahead and drink some water. Drink more water than usual, in fact. Water is essential for your intestines to move properly. The more water you drink, the better your gut will be able to pass food through and absorb nutrients, and the faster you’ll flush out that bad bacteria.

You should also just be drinking tons of water in general. It’s good for your overall health!



Exercising to kill bad gut bacteria

Like everything else in this list, exercising is important. If you don’t exercise, but you want to support your body’s microbiome for a little bad bacteria detox, you’re going to want to maybe do a bit of jogging or at least a long walk or two.

This along with sleep have been shown to increase the diversity of bacteria in your gut. Remember that there are many different strains, and some may not be affected by certain diets like others are, but they’re still just as important for your body. Sleep and exercise help to boost this diversity in your body, allowing your good bacteria to overpower the bad.




This is very important. Antibiotics are only for if you’re already sick with something, like bronchitis, and it’s too much to be handled by your good bacteria in a timely fashion.

Probiotics and prebiotics are something you should always be taking in order to strengthen your immune system and keep yourself from getting sick in the first place. Here are the best probiotics and prebiotics we reviwed.

Not to mention, many probiotics have particular strains that help with certain aspects of your body. If you have a certain problem like with stool issues, you can easily find a particular probiotic for it. Like I said in the diet section, you can also grab yourself one of the fermented foods I mentioned, as they’re rich with live bacteria, and that is basically a probiotic in and of itself.