Do you eat fairly healthily? Exercise? but sometimes still feel a little sluggish or bloated? Maybe you're not ABSORBING what you're putting into your body. Here are my top tips for improving your gut health.
Your Gut is primarily responsible for absorbing your food, therefore its fundamental to your health that it is functioning properly. It is made up of good and bad bacteria (flora) and an imbalance of these bacterias means that your digestive system is not working properly (or as well as it could!). Reduced function could make you feel fatigued, bloated, experience flatulence, have nutritional deficiencies, constipation, diarrhoea, reflux, weight gain, cravings, low immune function and hormonal imbalances.
Serotonin, also known as the happy hormone, is produced in the gut, so another symptom of reduced gut function could be depressed (or low) moods.
If any of the above are symptoms that you experience, you may want to do some work on you gut function, and start building up the good bacteria!!
Put simply, the key to better gut function is:
Eating the right foods (eating clean/nutrient dense food without all the nasties)
Eliminating any food intolerances.
Enough healthy flora/bacteria
Reducing stress (physical or emotional) as our bodies shut down gut function when stressed)
Less exposure to environmental toxins and medications – such as antibiotics, to support the good gut bacteria and keep the harmful bacteria under control.
Below is a list of ways to increase your gut health:
- Drink lemon juice in warm water on rising – This stimulates gastric juices and helps to break down toxins
- Eat probiotic whole foods- Sauerkraut, Kimchi, Kefir – found at most health food stores.
- Also eat prebiotic wholefoods – these foods feed and support the growth of good bacteria such as onions, garlic, dandelion greens, artichokes and bananas. (i make my own sauerkraut, just ask me for the recipe!)
- Use Apple cider vinegar - as salad dressing. This stimulates the hydrochloric acid in your stomach for digestion and is also great for detox
- Drink lots of water - it helps to eliminate waste! and try to make it filtered. (fill up your bottles at the studio)
- Take Probiotics – especially during and after taking antibiotics. It repopulates the gut with good bacteria.
- Eating slowly in a relaxed environment – the blood diverts away from digestive path in times of stress.
- Don't drink with your meals – 20 minutes before and after. Water dilutes the gastric juices that are vital for the break down of our food.
- Don't eat GLUTEN - It is hard for our bodies to digest
- Soak your grains, nuts and seeds for better digestion - Soaking them removes the nutritional inhibitors/phytic acid that the body struggles to break down.
- Alkaline your body- avoid acidic foods like alcohol, caffeine, sugar, salt and wheat. Stay away from the processed and packaged! Sugar feeds the bad bacteria! There will be more info on alkaline/acidic foods to come…
- Try not to take antibiotics – they affect the balance of healthy bacteria in the gut.
Even implementing a few of these tips will help to improve your gut function, so give it a go and start your journey to better gut health! I promise you'll feel like a million bucks!
Written by Lexi Lamm - Bachelor of Exercise Science : Major in Nutrition