Naturopaths have known the gut is the key to health for years, but recently modern medicine has caught on to the power of the gut microbiome.
A healthy gut can help you lose weight, regain energy, boost your immunity and much more.
Most of us don’t think about our gut until it becomes upset. But there’s so much you can do on a daily basis to improve your gut health and keep those good bugs happy and healthy.
What is your gut microbiome?
Your gut microbiome is made up trillions of organisms (mainly bacteria) within your digestive tract. These microorganisms are critical to your health, helping with everything from your digestion and metabolism to immune function and brain health.
Probiotics are ‘friendly’ bacteria or ‘good bugs’ that live in your digestive tract. When harmful bacteria outweigh the good bacteria, you suffer from ‘dysbiosis’, resulting in bloating, gas, constipation and wind.
So what can you do to influence your microbiome? Everyone’s microbiome is unique and is influenced by many factors like genetics, stress, illness, diet and lifestyle. The phrase ‘you are what you eat’ definitely applies to your microbiome.
Here are 3 things you can do every day to keep your gut happy:
Increase your fibre (prebiotic food)
In order to keep your good bugs happy, it’s important to feed them. If they don’t have enough fuel, your microbiome will become less diverse.
What do good gut bugs thrive on? Prebiotic foods like:
almonds (organic and activated)
fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, organic miso and coconut yogurt
Interestingly, evidence now shows those who consume more than 30 different types of plants/vegetables each week have a much more diverse microbiome compared to those who consume 10 or fewer types of plants weekly. Remember, it’s important to chew well and eat slowly to allow your gut to digest food properly.
Drink 2 to 3 litres of water
Whether you drink it still or bubbly, hot or cold — water is important for your gut health. Water can improve digestion by making sure your body absorbs minerals and nutrients properly. It also promotes the balance of good bacteria and has been shown to have a positive impact on the mucosal lining of the intestines.
I like to start the day with a glass of warm lemon water — not only is it hydrating, the lemon also helps detoxify your system. Just remember to drink it out of a straw to protect the enamel on your teeth.
If you struggle with drinking water, try infusing it with fresh fruit to give it a little flavour. If you forget during the day, there are so many apps that can help remind you to take a sip!
Move your body
It might surprise you to learn that a lack of exercise has been linked to reduced microbial diversity in the gut — another reason to get moving! The researchers found participants with higher cardiorespiratory fitness had a more diverse microbiome.
Consistency is key — once the participants stopped exercising, their microbiome diversity dropped. For starters, I recommend a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.
If you are able to, High Intensity Interval Training is a great way to build cardiovascular fitness. These workouts take only 30 minutes and can be made to suit beginners through to advanced. We know HIIT is great for heart, your waistline and now, your gut.
Your gut is the key to your overall health and wellbeing — taking care of it is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
The good news is, it’s not hard or expensive to keep your gut happy. My top 3 things you can do every day to improve your gut health are:
Feed your gut bugs fibre
Drink 2 to 3 litres of water
Exercise — at the least walk for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.
If you are having difficulty with gut health and would like some free advice from our qualified Naturopaths, drop in to the Herb Bar anytime Monday through Friday from 8am – 1pm or Saturday 9am – 1pm. No appointment necessary and a qualified Naturopath will be on hand ready to assist you with a free advice, practitioner grade natural supplements and herbal medicines. The Herb Bar is located at the Centre, 16 Murray Street Hamilton NSW 2303.