How to Support Your Gut Health
Your gut plays a big role in your overall health so looking after it should be a priority for us all. If you have signs of an unhealthy gut like bloating, constipation, or diarrhea, to mention just a few common ones, there are things that you can do to improve your gut health.
At the start of this year, I noticed that I had more bloating than usual. Some bloating is normal for me around certain parts of my cycle, but this was something else, so I decided to make more of an effort to look after my gut health.
In this article, I’ll share some tips about how to support your gut health with some simple changes that we can all do at home.
- Learn More About Gut Health
Like with many things, the first step is to learn more about the subject. There’s a great podcast called Gutfull that’s available for free on Audible that’s perfect for listening to when commuting or going for a walk.
A few great options for physical books with information, advice and lots of recipe inspiration include The Feel-Good Family Food Plan and Eat More, Live Well.
- Look at Your Health Habits
Gut health has a lot to do about what you eat which we will look more shortly, but there are other things that affect your gut too like your stress levels, exercise habits and sleep routine.
Chronic stress negatively affects your whole body, including your gut, so if you are feeling stressed, see if there are things that you can change in your life to reduce the stress and also look at including activities that can lower stress like yoga, walking, laughing and simply spending time with your loved ones.
If you’re not sleeping enough or the quality of sleep is not up to scratch, this can have a huge impact on your gut health – and this can become a vicious cycle where the gut problems create more sleep problems. Make sure your sleep habits are healthy to help look after your whole self, including your gut.
We all know that regular exercise is good for our bodies and minds. Physical activity increases blood flow to the muscles in the digestive system and this helps the muscles in the digestive tract work more quickly and effectively. Studies also show that exercise has a positive impact on the balance of bacteria in the gut.
- Take a Daily Probiotic Supplement
Probiotics can help balance the composition of the microbiome in your gut and aid your digestion and metabolism. Taking daily probiotic supplements is a great way to promote healthy gut bacteria and help your gut function at its best.
I’m currently taking Goody Guts from Complete Me. You take two vegan capsules each day with a meal. This supplement contains a blend of carefully selected strains of probiotics, marshmallow root and slippery elm and is formulated to help reduce bloating and indigestion.
What you choose to eat has a big impact on your gut health. For optimal gut health, avoid processed foods and things that are high in fat and/or refined sugars as these increase the number of bad bacteria in the gut and destroy the good ones.
Instead, choose a mainly (or completely) plant-based diet rich in fresh whole foods. These are great for your health and there are also lots of foods that can actively promote the growth of the good bacteria in the gut.
If you eat a high-fiber diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, beans, and whole grains, you are off to a great start. Try to eat a large variety of different fruits, vegetables, beans, and legumes as a this can lead to a more diverse microbiome.
Include fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, miso or tempeh as they are a great dietary source of probiotics. When choosing these products, watch out for added sugar in things like yogurt. You can also make your own probiotic yogurt at home.
If you have symptoms like bloating, abdominal pain, and other digestive issues, it’s a good idea to check for food intolerances too. You can eliminate common trigger foods and keep a diary to help you identify foods that might be contributing to your symptoms.
We are all different and have bodies that react in different ways. It’s important to know your own body and what kind of foods work for you and what is best limited for your health.
Once you know which foods and ingredients don’t work well for you, you can eliminate them from your diet. This is easy when cooking from scratch but complicated when trying to find suitable table sauces, cooking sauces and other food products from your supermarket.
Slightly Different Foods is a small family business that makes a range of award-winning Gut and IBS Friendly Store Cupboard Foods to help you make fresh and delicious meals in minutes. All the products in the range are packed with nutritional ingredients but free from all 14 major allergens including gluten and dairy. There’s a wide range of vegan, IBS-friendly products to choose from to let you cook lots of different dishes from around the world.
Using products from Slightly Different Foods makes cooking family meals that everyone can enjoy easy. They have lots of low FODMAP variety packs to choose from to let you try out a yummy selection of items. Perfect for people with allergies, IBS-problems and for anyone just wanting to look after their gut health.
Don’t forget to eat your meals slowly, chewing each bite thoroughly as this will help you eat the right amount and aid your digestion and absorption of nutrients. Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water (preferably by sipping) throughout the day is also essential for our overall health and has a positive impact on the balance of good bacteria in the good and the mucosal lining of the intestines.
I hope these tips have been useful if you too want to do your best to support your gut health!
This article features some gifted samples from Complete Me and Slightly Different Foods. Contains sponsored links.