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Fargo-Moorhead Gut Health with Dr. John Bassett of Sanford Health

Dr. John T. Bassett, Medical Director of Hepatology, Staff Gastroenterology, Sanford Health Fargo, ND

Photo provided by Sanford Heath

Dr. John Bassett is an MD, Board Certified Internal Medicine, Gastroenterology, and Transplant Hepatology. He has 25 years of experience as a physician with subspecialty training in gastroenterology.

Why is it important?
“Gut health affects gas and bloating, bowel movement frequency, heartburn, immunity and weight.”

Here’s How it Works:

“In general, the bacteria of the gut are actually good for us and critical to maintaining good health. The more diverse the bacterial populations the better. When these ‘good bacteria’ are reduced in number, it is more likely bacteria that cause disease can proliferate/increase in number.”

Things You Might Not Know

  • “You have more bacteria in your body than you have cells.”
  • “The majority of those bacteria and the diversity of the bacteria influence physical and mental health.”

Tips to Chew On

Gut health can be improved by:

  • Eating a balanced diet with significant amounts of fruits and vegetables.
  • Improved sleep. Chronic sleep deprivation is associated with obesity.
  • Increased exercise. Dr. Bassett recommends 150 minutes (or 2 1/2 hours) per week.
  • Stress management. Invest in friends/family and find the best way for you to manage!
  • Mood is closely associated with digestive health, especially irritable bowel syndrome. Seek professional help if needed for depression/anxiety etc.

Bacteria Battle! “Foods high in sugar, processed foods and alcohol can increase bad bacteria. It is possible to change your gut bacteria with probiotic foods including yogurt, fermented foods, whole grains and a diet with significant fiber.”

Q: What are some things that you personally do for your Gut Health?

A: Personally, I do some exercise nearly every day of the week. I’m a member of the Sanford Family Wellness Center, YMCA, and a men’s exercise group known as F3 that is free of charge, open to all men, held outdoors, and peer-led. F3 is excellent for reducing stress and improving sleep schedules.

The F3 program is newer to the local community but has been gaining traction across the US since 2011. According to their website, “The three Fs stand for Fitness, Fellowship and Faith—the last of which is defined as simply a belief in something bigger than oneself.” The organization offers scheduled training, year-round. Learn more at or at

Written by Geneva Nodland

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