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Tips on improving your gut health!



Our complex digestive system plays a crucial role in supporting your immune system and contributes to the health of your whole body including your mental well-being!


The human body contains millions of bacteria most of which live in the gut known as the microbiome which assist in maintaining a healthy digestion, the absorption of nutrients and our metabolism. Our gut microbiome has an important role to play in maintaining our immune system by protecting the gastrointestinal tract from infection and invasion by other unwanted foreign bodies. The well-known expression “the gut is a second brain” is because and our gut bacteria has a direct influence on our neurotransmitters including serotonin (90% is produced in the gut) that helps to regulate mood, appetite and sleep.

Getting the right balance of beneficial and non-beneficial bacteria is key to good health.


Our gut bacteria can be easily be affected by any of the following;

· Antibiotics

· Stress

· Poor diet (too much caffeine, processed foods, sweets, fried food)

· Illness

· Toxins


Here are some tips on what you can do to help improve of your gut health.

  • Eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly, this helps to activate the enzymes in your mouth which start the process of breaking down your food. If you eat quickly you are more likely to swallow larger particles of food which are more difficult to digest.

  • Start the day with a large cup of warm water and a squeeze of lemon. This is to help stimulate your digestion.

  • Keep well hydrated during the day by drinking plenty of water. This is good for the digestion and helps to keep you regular.

  • Include plenty of high fibre foods in your diet for example pulses, wholegrain and lots of fresh vegetables. You need at least 30g of fibre a day.

  • Include omega 3 rich foods and good fats such as nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil and oily fish. These are anti-inflammatory foods and help to keep the cells in the body healthy. Add seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, flax, chia) or nuts to yoghurt, salads, soups or casseroles.

  • Include plenty of phytonutrient rich foods found in plant foods – vegetables, pulses, fruits. These help to support bacteria in the gut.

  • Avoid possible foods you may be intolerant to: e.g. wheat and/or dairy products - ensure you have some wheat and dairy alternatives. If you suspect you have an intolerance you may want to consider doing a food intolerance test. Consult with a health professional first.

  • Avoid processed foods, sugar and refined carbohydrates such as white bread, white rice and cakes and biscuits. High sugar foods may disrupt your gut bacteria and they often lack fibre.

  • Avoid chewing gum, sorbitol and mannitol or any artificial sweeteners

  • Avoid too much alcohol and coffee.

  • Include probiotics which are the beneficial bacteria for example: Live and bio yoghurts and yoghurt drinks contain probiotics. Avoid the ones that contain additives or sugar. Other good probiotic sources are kefir, kombucha and fermented and pickled vegetables for example sauerkraut, kimchi and tempeh, available from most health food shops.

  • Include prebiotics, components of food (certain types of indigestible carbohydrates) which are fermented by the gut to produce the beneficial bacteria. Foods which have higher levels of prebiotic content include:

Onions, garlic, leeks

Asparagus

Jerusalem artichokes (look like small brown potatoes)

Flax/linseeds

Chicory (bitter red leaves in salad)

Wholegrain

Bananas

  • ·Consider taking a probiotic. These can help to increase the good bacteria in the gut which is important for digestive health and for the immune system. Probiotics can also help to support symptoms of IBS. Consult a health professional before taking these. There are many different varieties, it is important to find the right strains and dose for you.

Finely remember that stress too can have an impact on our digestive health! Consider yoga, meditation or any form of relaxation to help manage this!


If you would like more support for your gut health and dietary advice go to https://www.janutrition.co.uk/service-page/gut-health-package-including-gut-test?referral=service_list_widget or alternatively email jessica@janutrition.co.uk for a free 15 minute discovery call to find out how I can help you.


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