Your gut – so important for your health!
Your gut is like a hard-working machine, processing the food you eat, absorbing all the nutrients your body needs, and expelling whatever is left over – around the clock. But it doesn’t end there – far from it! Your gut is actually connected to many aspects of your health. For a start around 70% of your immune cells are located within the gut tissue!
It’s got a lot to do with our microbiome!
Research suggests that one of the key influencers of our gut health is our microbiome – the ecosystem of trillions of good and bad microscopic organisms that live within our gut. The good ones promote a strong and healthy gut. We need the right balance of these microbes – with plenty of good ones. When our microbiome is in good shape, the healthier our gut, and the better chance we have of feeling great and helping to avoid illness. So what can we do to take care of it?
1. Eat more fibre
Most of us don’t eat enough! The recommended daily intake is 30g a day, but the global average is just 23g a day – and actually much less in many countries. Eating fibre does 2 great things for the gut: prebiotic fibre feeds the good microbes in the gut, to help promote a healthy gut environment, and all fibre stimulates the gut for good digestive health and gives it a good workout from the inside.
Tip: Try to cut down on processed foods and boost your daily intake of dietary fibre by eating more vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes.
2. Drink plenty of water
Good hydration is critical for gut health! A hydrated gut, and hydrated digestive waste is necessary for regularity. Lack of hydration results in constipation, bloating and discomfort.
Tip: Aim to drink 8-10 glasses of water or other fluids a day – that could include drinks like coffee, tea and milk (but not sugary drinks, which will add calories and little else). If you eat plenty of moist foods like yoghurt, melon and soup you can include these in your total daily fluid intake.
3. Eat fermented foods
As well as consuming prebiotic fibre to feed the good microbes, you can also help to boost their number by consuming fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut and kombucha. These all contain live probiotic microbes.
Tip: Different foods contain different probiotics – try to eat different kinds to encourage microbial variety in the gut.
4. Exercise your gut
All exercise stimulates gut motility. Aerobic exercise helps to stimulate the gut by getting your blood pumping, while Yoga-inspired stretching exercises stimulate movement by ‘massaging’ the gut.
Tip: Try to incorporate different types of activity into your routine every day.