You’ve heard the stomach is the way to a man’s heart. But could it also be the way to your own happiness?
Contrary to popular belief, you are not what you eat. You’re what you digest and absorb. And, if your gut isn’t functioning at its peak, then you may not be absorbing all of the nutrients you need to reach optimal health.
Food intolerance, sleep quality, medications, hormones and other lifestyle factors all affect gut function. Poor gut function can lead to fatigue, bloating, irritable bowel, weight fluctuations, sluggish metabolism, nutrient deficiencies and hormonal imbalances – pretty much all the nasty stuff you just don’t have time for.So, if its seems as though your digestive system has taken a leave of absence and you’re feeling a bit blah, here are my top five tips for improving your gut health, naturally.
Feed on Fermented Foods
Fermented foods are having a moment, and for good reason. Kefir, kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut and pickled vegetables all contain natural forms of probiotics which nourish the microbiome (the trillions of good bacteria living in the gut). Eating just one tablespoon of these foods daily can be enough to fend off bad bacteria in the gut, keeping you and your microbiome super happy.
Contrary to popular belief, you are not what you eat. You’re what you digest and absorb.
Make Friends with Fibre
Fibre isn’t just for your grandparents, kids – it is a form of prebiotics that are able to fuel our intestinal probiotics and keep our guts happy.
Simply put, prebiotic-rich fibre feeds good bacteria in the colon and promotes regular and healthy bowel function. Well-fed bacteria goes on to produce a substance called butyrate – a key fuel source for gut cell repair, that reduces inflammation and inhibits the growth of cancer-causing pathogens.
Don’t let your good bacteria go hungry – aim to eat around 25g a day of fibre and prebiotic-rich foods including; asparagus, onions, chicory, dandelion root, garlic, leek, bran and Jerusalem artichokes.
Adopt a Whole Food Approach
Eating overly processed, highly refined sugary and fatty foods, might be great for hangovers and break-ups, but they’re one of the worst things for your gut.
Sugar is bad bacteria’s favourite snack and can throw your microbiome way off balance. Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables and limiting processed and refined foods and alcohol can have a significant positive effect on your gut health. Just remember to treat yourself every now and then, I mean, wine is fermented fruit which can’t be all bad, right?
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
Staying hydrated is vital to keeping your gut happy and your intestines functioning as they should. Adequate hydration allows food to move through the digestive system smoothly, ensuring optimum nutrient absorption and adequate elimination of food waste.
So make sure you’re drinking up -aim for two to three litres a day.
Slow Down and Stress Less
You know stress is bad, but did you know it can affect your gut health?
The gut is known as the second brain and produces roughly 90% of mood-affecting neurotransmitters. So, when we’re stressed and our microbiome is out of whack, it’s likely that our mood and mind may be too, leaving us with feelings of depression, anxiety and brain fog.
Practicing mindful eating and incorporating stress reducing activities into your daily routine, such as meditation, exercise, yoga or dancing naked in your lounge room, can have a seriously good impact on your gut health – trust me!
When your gut’s happy, you’re happy. So, relax, get eating, get hydrated and
image: Nourish Atelier