Did you know that your gut health can affect more than just your digestion? It turns out that gut health is linked to a number of diseases and other health issues. An unhealthy gut can lead to inflammation, which in turn can cause inflammation-related diseases like asthma, arthritis, heart disease, to name just a few – the list of conditions related to poor gut health goes on and on. This is why it’s so important to understand the importance of gut health and how to take care of it. Let’s dive into some easy tips for improving gut health.
Fibre is key
One of the most important things you can do for your gut health is to make sure you’re getting enough fibre in your diet. Fibre helps keep your digestive system running smoothly, as well as providing food for the beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract. Some great sources of fibre include whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. Try adding a few more high-fibre foods into your daily diet and see if it makes a difference!
Probiotics are your friend
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria found naturally in fermented foods like yogurt and sauerkraut. These good bacteria help keep our digestive system healthy by fighting off bad bacteria and aiding digestion. Taking probiotic supplements can also be beneficial for people who don’t get enough probiotics from their diet alone. If you do decide to take a supplement, make sure you research different brands carefully or talk to your GP before making a decision.
It has been shown that having too much bad bacteria in your gut microbiome can increase the likelihood of:
- Ulcerative Colitis
- Crohn’s Disease
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
So, it is important to nourish and support the good bacteria in your gut with the help of probiotics.
Yoga and meditation improve your gut health
Partaking in yoga or other gentle exercise can be beneficial to your gut health. Certain yoga poses and postures can stretch, relax and massage your stomach and other intestinal organs. If you suffer from bowel issues, learning some of these stretches or participating in a yoga class that focuses on these parts of the body could be beneficial. Yoga and other exercise have also been found to promote a healthy gut biome. The more diverse the bacteria in your gut biome are, the stronger your digestive system will be.
Staying hydrated is key when it comes to promoting good gut health. Water helps flush out toxins and promotes regularity (which is especially important if you’re prone to bowel issues). Try carrying a water bottle with you throughout the day so that you remember to drink regularly! You can also incorporate other fluids like herbal teas or coconut water into your routine if you want to mix it up.
How’s your sugar, dairy, alcohol, gluten and caffeine intake?
While that’s a big list of items to potentially minimise or try eliminating, consider your intake. These are common gut irritants for many, try a break for a 3-week period and see how you feel. Or, if the silly season makes that an insurmountable task, try eliminating one by one, or perhaps becoming more aware of how you feel when you consume these things as a starting point.
It’s essential that we all pay attention to our gut health in order to stay healthy and avoid serious diseases like bowel or heart disease down the line. These tips are literally the tip of the iceberg when it comes to tips for good gut health – but they’re a great starting point and might encourage further research of your own. There are many books and specialists out there too – try starting with How to be Well – A Handbook for Women, by Dr Karen Coates and Sharon Kolkka.
By Sarah Panther