Living inside every person are trillions of microorganisms collectively known as the gut microbiome. These bacteria, viruses, fungi and other life forms found in the gut can affect everything from skin health and weight to energy levels and hormone balance. How? The gut has its own nervous system with a direct link to the brain. While this link’s main purpose is to regulate digestion, when things are off-balance in the gut this can have a major impact on the rest of your well-being.
How can you improve your overall gut health? Take a look at our top tips below!
BOOST YOUR PREBIOTICS AND PROBIOTICS
What is the difference between prebiotics and probiotics?
Probiotics are live microorganisms (good bacteria) that reside in the gut that play an integral role in maintaining healthy gut function by preventing the invasion of harmful microbes.
Probiotics can come from fermented foods or supplements.
Prebiotics fuel our probiotics (the good guys)! Prebiotics refer to natural soluble fibres that feed the good bacteria in our large intestine, helping to promote balanced gut flora and healthy bowel function.
Prebiotics are found in foods such as garlic, onion, banana, oats, psyllium husks, inulin powder and other fibre-rich foods.
REDUCE THE NASTIES
When we eat too much sugar, artificial sweeteners, processed foods and alcohol, the good and bad bacteria can become imbalanced. Switching to organic and natural whole foods can make a great difference to your overall health.
Fennel, ginger, turmeric, chamomile and licorice are all herbs and spices that are natural digestive aids. Not only does drinking tea include these herbs into your diet, but the act of drinking tea can reduce stress and encourage you to drink more water.
The caffeine in green tea, as well as Matcha Green Tea, can also act as a mild laxative to get the bowels moving in the morning.
UP YOUR FIBRE
Fibre is essential for keeping the digestive system working at peak performance. Unfortunately, most Australians don’t eat enough fibre, which can cause discomfort, diarrhea or constipation. Fibre-rich foods include vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and legumes (such as chickpeas, beans and lentils) as well as whole grains (including rolled oats, brown rice, and wholegrain bread and cereals).
PRACTISE MINDFUL EATING
This means putting down the phone, stepping away from the computer screen and sitting at a table to eat. Being present with your meals and mindfully chewing each mouthful tells our brain it’s time to focus on digesting food and absorbing its nutrients.
FEAST ON FERMENTED FOODS
Fermented foods contain active enzymes, probiotics and beneficial bacteria that help to boost the gut. Try adding fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, yoghurt, kombucha, apple cider vinegar, miso, and kefir to your diet.
DRINK MORE WATER
Staying well hydrated is super important for gut health, as dehydration can slow the transit time of your bowel movements, as well as prevent adequate flushing of toxins. Fibre absorbs water in the gut, so it is important to remember when increasing your fibre intake, you also need to drink more water.
SLEEP MORE, STRESS LESS
Allow your body to rest, recover and reset! Not getting enough sleep can inhibit your body’s ability to regulate hormones, digestion and those pesky cravings.
Excessive stress can also affect the brain-gut communication, affecting our digestion and nutrient absorption.
Help keep stress levels low by implementing small changes into your day like a brief morning meditation or a short walk at lunch. For a nighttime relaxer, try our Moon Milk recipe with Ashwagandha – a natural stress reliever and sleep inducer.
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