You may have heard all about gut health and like us, tried making a habit of taking probiotics, eating kimchi and drinking Kefir, you may have even tried to make your own! When we talk about gut health we are talking about the bacteria, or the microbiome that live in gastrointestinal tract. It consists of hundreds of trillions of micro-organisms which there are 400-500 species. Now to put that into perspective, every human cell has around 10 bacteria – not much compared to the gut, is it? In the gut alone, that bacteria roughly covers the surface area of a tennis court – MIND BLOWN!!
The lesson of being good to your gut isn’t something knew, in fact the ancient Greek, Hippocrates said “all disease begins in the gut” over 2,000 years ago. This is because poor gut health doesn’t just affect the digestive system, it has an affect on many other parts of the body, one of the main being the immune system, 70% of the body’s immune tissue is found in the gut. Old Hippocrates was pretty right in what he was saying !!
The gut has been coined the ‘second brain’ but what does this mean exactly??
We’ve all experienced a time when we have gone with our gut feeling, or had a “gut-wrenching experience”. Maybe you’ve felt butterflies in your stomach or felt nauseous before talking in a meeting. There’s a reason we use these expressions – the gastrointestinal tract is extremely sensitive to feelings and the brain can have a direct effect on the stomach, and this connection goes both ways. This means that someones gut health could either be the cause of anxiety or the reason for anxiety.
Looking after your gut health takes more than just popping a probiotic every once in a while. Here are a few ways that you can take control:
Take out the negatives:
Start by removing the toxic foods that do not nourish your body. Remove or have less of white, fried, dyed foods, refined sugar in all forms such as fizzy drinks, sweets, simple carbohydrates and all processed foods. Be mindful about how much alcohol you drink too, it’s full of refined sugar which just feeds the bad bacteria which gives more life to the guys that we don’t want in there. We aren’t saying that you shouldn’t have fun, but many of us have got into the habit of overconsumption of the bad stuff. The less refined foods you eat, the less you will crave it and your body will thank you for that in the long run.
Listen to your body:
What is it saying?? Do certain foods make you extremely bloated, constipated, gassy? Your body is telling you that it doesn’t like that, it is rejecting it and it doesn’t want you to consume it. Try cutting it out for a few weeks, you may have an intolerance and it’s best to stay away to make a happy environment for your gut.
Eat in a calm space:
The emotional state that you are in can have an impact on how you digest your food. Ensure that you are in a stress free environment, eating slowly and chewing your food as small as possible.
Make sure that you are having 2L of water a day. It moves the nutrients through the body and helps in elimination of waste. If you haven’t had enough water, your body won’t be able to carry out these tasks efficiently.
There are a number of different brands out there. Symprove and Optibac are our favourites. Make sure that you take these every day and mix things up with having more fermented foods in your diet.
Give it a rest
We’re lucky to have food in abundance, we’re never far from a library of snacks, but this quiet often means that we eat when we are not really hungry, or just a little too early. When you eat even something as small as a raisin, your digestive system is straight into action, alert and awake, ready to start it’s processes. You can help it out by having a bigger break between your meals, of course if you are hungry, you should eat, but become a little mindful, do you really need that bar right not or could you wait until dinner? It’s also advised to have a good 12 hours between your last meal in the evening and breakfast.
Small changes can have such a huge impact to your gut health. Choose 1 or 2 that you could implement easily. Remember that every body is different and what one body can cope with another cannot Listen to your body, it’s talking to you for a reason.