Gut health is a complex one. We can’t see it with the naked eye, but it controls a vast amount of our daily functioning. Research suggests that gut health and the diversity of our microbiome can determine our mood, immunity, weight and even our susceptibility to certain diseases.
But where do I start? The good news is, you can start right now. Doing simple things, such as the tips that I am about to get into, can have long lasting effects on your gut.
Stress can effect your whole body, especially digestion. You know when you are a bundle of nervous energy and you don’t feel like eating? Or the act of eating puts your tummy in knots? This is what stress can do and managing your stress levels on a daily basis can massively improve your digestion. Try meditating for ten minutes in the morning before you reach for your phone. Take deep breathes when you catch yourself rushing through the day. Slow down.
2. Take a probiotic
You might already be aware of this one, but this is one of the simplest steps you can take to actively improving your gut. Admittedly, there are so many different types, brands, strengths, EVERYTHING! But opting for a good all rounder is your best bet to add tonnes of good bacteria into your system. Look out for strains such as Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium and Bacillus. I love Optibac and Holland & Barrett do a great range of probiotics that often have discounts and offers on!
If you don’t want to take a tablet, there are other ways of getting the good bacteria in. Foods such as saurkraut, kefir, natural yoghurt, kombucha, miso paste and tempeh all have cultures that will give your microbiome a boost.
3. Drink Warm Water
Given that the human body is made up of 60% water, drinking water is my go-to health tip for pretty much everything! But sometimes, cold water can be a bit harsh on our systems. Try drinking warm water (in tea or with a squeeze of lemon) first thing in the morning when you wake up to kick starts your digestion and set you up for the day. In the world of Ayurveda, sipping warm water or herbal tea throughout the day can also help soothe your digestive system, help get rid of toxins and ensure proper digestion of food.
4. Up your fibre intake
Fibre is the building block for good digestion. Upping your fibre intake feeds the good bacteria in your gut and keep your digestive system ticking. The starting point is adding more fruit, vegetables and pulses such as beans & lentils, especially root veg and high fibre fruit such as apples, pears, banana rather than juiced/peeled. But if you already eat lots of veggies, try adding oats into your day or add flaxseed to your smoothies/porridge in the morning. Chia seeds are also a great source of fibre and omega 3 fatty acid.
5. Cut back on refined sugar
One thing you can do to support your gut is to limit the amount of refined sugar you consume as this can feed the bad microbes in your gut. But this doesn’t mean you can’t have anything sweet. Swapping refined sugar for honey, maple syrup, rice malt syrup or dates can provide the same sweet hit but with the added health benefits as well.
I hope this post has given you some pointers to start with on your gut health journey. If you have any medical concerns to do with your digestion, please seek the help of a medical professional/nutritionist.