Want To Improve Your Gut Health? Do These 6 Things First
Those who have been following me for a while will know I’m big on gut health! To me, great health stems from a healthy gut! Not only have I healed myself from digestive issues such as IBS over 6 years ago I’ve also seen and helped many clients heal their digestive complaints. So many people nowadays live with gut-based illnesses and don’t actually realize the effect it can have towards optimal health. A healthy gut is important for the proper absorption of nutrients, ease of digestion, good bowel function, elimination of toxins, resistance to germs and avoidance of food reactions.
Naturally occurring good bacteria that is found in the gut are called probiotics. When there is an imbalance in these good bacteria problems start to occur within the gastrointestinal tract and with our immune system. This can cause people to feel lousy, foggy, irritated, bloated, fatigued, constipated. Impaired digestion can also cause weight gain, deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, anxiety, depression, autoimmune conditions, skin issues such as acne, ezcema and more.
Over 100 trillion friendly bacteria are found in the gut, this is over 10 times the amount of cells found in the human body. It’s believed around 90% of our neurotransmitters are produced within the gut and over 70% of our immune system is found there. If this isn’t enough reason to look after your gut I don’t know what is!
If you’re feeling stuck and don’t know where to start, here are a few ways to naturally support your gut microbiome on a daily basis.
1) Eat Clean!
It’s vital to remove all processed foods from your lifestyle as well as all inflammatory foods such as gluten, sugar, and dairy. These foods can create inflammation, allergens and have other negative effects in your body. Consume a diet rich in whole foods. Whole foods are real foods that come from nature, they contain nutrients and enzymes that are required for every chemical process in the body. Whole foods are recognized by your body and can be broken down easily and naturally. They include fresh organic vegetables, fruits, organic meat, eggs, healthy fats, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds.
2) Focus on good bacteria
A good quality probiotic can do wonders for your health. Probiotics are microorganisms such as healthy bacteria which are naturally present in your digestive tract. I’m all for fermented food first but often I recommend taking a high-quality probiotic to clients to fill their microbiome with good bacteria, as often probiotic rich foods aren’t enough. There are hundreds of strains of probiotics out there, I recommend seeking help from a health care professional to find out what strains of good bacteria is right for your body and symptoms.
3) Eat prebiotic and probiotic-rich foods
As mentioned above, probiotics are essential to good gut health. You’ve probably heard of all the amazing food sources of probiotics such as sauerkraut, miso, kombucha, kimchi, kefir, tempeh, but did you know prebiotics are also vitally important to great gut health. Prebiotics are important because these foods feed and support the growth of good bacteria, good food sources include onions, garlic, asparagus, dandelion greens, banana,
4) Stress less to digest more
Stress puts your body into the sympathetic ‘fight or flight’ mode which interferes with your digestive system and your digestive process. Finding ways to de-stress is extremely important if you want to improve your digestive system. This will help your body to break down food more effectively, leading to less bloating, gas and stomach discomfort. Try putting aside 10 -15 minutes each day to do something that relaxes you, this will help to shift your nervous system into the parasympathetic ‘rest and digest’ response. My favourite options include meditation (putting my legs up against the wall), yoga, a walk around the block, reading a book or sometimes a quick nap!
5) Drink filtered water
This goes without saying. Water nourishes the digestive tract, supports the absorption of nutrients and removes waste and toxins. Aim for 2-3 litres per day of filtered water. Tap water is full of fluoride, which negatively affects your thyroid, the lining of your gut, and other organs.
6) Kick start your stomach acid upon waking
Before your morning coffee or tea, and before eating breakfast, cleanse your liver and kick start your digestion by adding 1 – 2 tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar or the juice from half a lemon into a big glass of warm water upon rising. Then wait at least 15 minutes before you eat breakfast. This helps to stimulate the hydrochloric acid in your stomach for digestion and helps to support your liver from all the hard work and cleansing it did while you were sleeping. You can also do this 20-30 minutes before lunch and dinner to support digestion even further.
If you need further assistance, a wellness plan, and nutritional advice to follow I’d love to see you for a nutrition consultation to get your health and digestion system back on track! Book in a consultation with me today!
Nat x x
Hi I’m Natalie, a Registered Clinical Nutritionist, health influencer, blog writer & recipe creator. My own health complications prompted me to make positive diet & lifestyle changes, revitalize my health leading to a career change from the corporate world to nutritional medicine. I believe in a wholefoods approach to good health, focusing on simple strategies for modern, busy people.