Gut Health is Great Health
How can I keep my gut healthy?
Balancing the bacteria in your gut needs a holistic approach. In addition to a probiotic supplement, you need to focus on making healthy lifestyle changes too.
Here are some tips for maintaining a healthy balance of gut bacteria.
Healthy, whole foods nourish the good bacteria in your gut. Most of us eat too little fibre, so try to introduce more into your diet. You can find fibre in wholegrains, nuts, pulses, fruit and vegetables. You should be able to get enough of both from a healthy diet. There are also prebiotic foods (these feed the healthy bacteria): apples, green vegetables, etc.
Fast food, ready meals, anything that’s had a lot of pre-preparation: often these foods are high in salt, sugar, fat and additives. These can send your gut bacteria haywire, having the ability to add bad bacteria as well as reduce good bacteria. Cook from scratch as much as you can, so you can see and control the ingredients that eventually get into your digestive system.
Take it slow
Our busy lifestyles mess with our digestive system because they encourage us to grab food, eat fast and also at odd times. We’re designed to eat three times a day, three to four hours apart (as a general rule) and we need to take time to chew and digest our meals. So, take it a little slower and get back to enjoying your food. Your gut will thank you.
Easier said than done. Again, our lifestyles and life ambitions put us under pressure to perform; to always be available for our friends, family or our employers. Try to adopt mindfulness. Discover techniques to regulate your breathing. Start a daily meditation practice. Above all, lean into a lifestyle that tackles stresses and strains. When your pulse is racing or stomach is churning, your gut health is under threat.
We need seven to nine hours sleep every night. And the quality of that sleep is important too. Try to relax before sleep, rather than flip from on to off immediately. Avoid eating and drinking too close to sleep, it keeps your digestive system awake longer. Ultimately, poor sleep messes with your metabolism and digestion, both of which can worsen your gut health.
Beware of booze
Alcohol, as you can imagine, is devastating to gut bacteria. You can get away with a couple of drinks now and again, but if you are binging regularly (six units in one session for women, eight for men) then you’ll be clearing out the good bacteria quicker than you can say cheers. Keep it in moderation and you’ll be best placed for a healthier gut.