The era of gut health; why it’s important and getting that good gut feeling.
There is a lot of chat about swigging on kombucha, topping salads with sauerkraut and slurping down chicken broth, but has this left you wondering what all the fuss is about? Welcome to the era of gut health.
Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine wisely stated over 2000 years ago “All disease begins in the gut.” And while gut health has long been acknowledged as integral for overall health, it’s only in the last few years that medical professionals have begun to understand exactly how much the health of the gut biome and indeed the good bacteria in our gut affects over physical AND mental health.
So what’s the big deal on maintaining a healthy gut?
Recent large-scale studies show that what you eat actually influences the composition of your microbiome (bacteria living in your intestines) which can impact your overall health.
Our gut health not only influences our ability to absorb nutrients from the food we eat, it also communicates directly with the brain. Often referred to as the ‘second brain’ our gut and brain are linked by a superhighway chemicals and hormones and a network of hundreds of millions of neurons (scientificamerican, 2015)
Largely responsible for the critical functions of the body’s digestive and immune systems, the health of your gut affects vitamin and mineral absorbency, hormone regulation, digestion, vitamin production, immune response, and ability to eliminate toxins. Thus it’s important for our overall physical and metal health that we look after that digestive tract.
Our typical western diet overloaded with grains, sugar and unhealthy fats can wreak havoc on your precious microbiome, causing inflammation and dominating it with bad bacteria. A healthy microbiome on the other hand is one in which the good bacteria outweigh the bad (there will always be a mix of both good and bad bacteria in the gut to keep all those little guys on their toes) and are kept healthy and well fed by providing them with their meal of choice – fibre (scientificamerican, 2015)
So how can you keep your micobiome all ticketyboo? Nutritional therapist and author of the ‘Gut Makeover’ book Jeannette Hyde gives her 6 top tips to maintaining a healthy gut.
Bombard your body with diversity
Eat the rainbow. Fill your plate with as many types of vegetables as you can. Your body will love your for it and you’ll find yourself looking forward to creating each colorful nourishing meal.
Drink fermented milk kefir every day like medicine
A convenient and delicious way to get tens of billions of beneficial bacteria into your gut in one sitting. Add it to your fruity smoothie or your favourite salad dressing.
Make Resistant Starch your friend
Hellooo Tigernuts! Tigernuts are high in resistant starch, the type of fiber that literally ‘resists’ digestion in the stomach, making you feel full, and continues its journey to your colon where your gut microbes dine out on them. Tiger nuts are easy to incorporate into your diet. Sprinkle diced Tigernuts over your salad, peeled Tigernuts in your granola, Tigernut flour in your baking or simply snack them raw straight from the packet.
Enjoy flax seeds
These little inexpensive seeds are a great superfood for your gut bacteria, producing a fuel that helps repair your gut lining. Pop them in your morning smoothie.
When we wolf down our food, the undigested food can reach the colon leading to an upset microbiome, bloating and hunger. Mindful eating is a simple habit – it’s free and can deliver big results.
Try a 12-hour overnight fast
Much easier than it sounds. Simply eat dinner a little earlier and breakfast the next morning a little later. This will give your microbiome a long enough break to regenerate and help rebalance your hunger hormones and make you feel less hungry in general
Love TFF xx