How to Get your GUT back on track?
Your digestive system is the key to good wellbeing – from immunity and heart health to your weight and moods.
We often only think about our gut health when it starts to go wrong – a stomach ache or indigestion. But scientists are constantly learning that the bacteria teeming in our guts play a vital role throughout our bodies. Some of these bugs are beneficial, others are neutral and some are very unhelpful. Your microbiome – the community of microbes living in your gut – is unique to you. Everyone has varying levels of different bacteria, determined by lifestyle and environment, right from the beginning of life.
5 THINGS TO AVOID
- PROCESSED FOODS: Artficial sweeteners, flavourings and preservatives can kill bugs. And a lack of fibre means they don’t feed good bacteria.
- ANTIBIOTICS: They kill good and bad microbes so only take when needed.
- IRREGULAR MEALTIMES: This could throw microbiome rhythms out – and may be linked to weight gain.
- EATING TOO FAST ON THE GO: Sit down to eat, and chew slowly to avoid gulping air with food, which can lead to bloating.
- STRESS: High levels of the stress hormone cortisol compromises nutrient absorption and digestion. Try yoga, meditation or mindfulness.
4 FOODS THAT HELP
HIGH-FIBRE FOODS: Try fresh fruit, vegetables, pulses and whole grains, which act as ‘manure’ for your gut bugs.
BRIGHTLY COLOURED FRUIT AND VEG: They contain polyphenols, which help microbes thrive. Think red, blue and purple berries, red and yellow peppers and dark green leafy veg.
RED WINE: Yes, honestly! But make sure you drink in moderation. Red wine is polyphenol-rich. So, too, are dark chocolate, olive oil and coffee.
FERMENTED FOODS: Yogurt, cheeses and sauerkraut all help to boost bugs.
CAMOMILE: perfect to help you relax.
PEPPERMINT: great for aiding digestion.
DANDELION ROOT: encourages a healthy gut and stimulates digestion.
GINGER: this is an anti-inflammatory which aids digestion.
LEMONGRASS: good for indigestion.