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‘Gut health’ refers to the health of the gastrointestinal tract, which starts at the mouth and ends at the rectum. In order to achieve the ever-elusive ‘healthy gut’, our bodies need the right balance of microorganisms living inside the digestive tract.
But why is it so important to care about our gut health?
Well, it seems as if the human gut is more complex than we previously thought. It contributes to the effectiveness of our immune system, aids digestion, and even helps to maintain our general health and wellbeing; which is why it’s in our best interests to keep our gut health on top form!
A build-up of stress can manifest in various ways and eventually take a toll on your body. I know it’s easier said than done, but it’s vital to learn how to manage your stress levels, for the benefit of your mental and physical well being. Among other gastrointestinal problems, stress can negatively impact digestion.
Try to find ways of managing your stress, whether it’s by meditating or venting to someone that you feel comfortable with.
We all know that getting 2 litres of water per day is important for your overall health, but it can play a role in keeping your gut happy, too. Keeping hydrated has been found to promote the balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut; making this one of the easiest methods of keeping your body and digestion on top form, and not to mention it’s free!
Certain whole foods feed the good bacteria in your gut and therefore promote good gut health. Fill your diet with plants that are high in fibre and experiment with the many delicious fermented foods there are to choose from. Diversity is key, so mix up your diet instead of eating the same meals over and over again.
Switching to a plant-based diet is a great step towards improving your gut health because you will open up your world to the many possibilities of plants!
Something to remember is that while plant foods are great for your gut bacteria, highly processed foods are not. Try to limit your consumption of convenience foods and replace them with homemade meals instead.
A recent study found that exercise has the capability of adjusting the balance of the gut microbiome (aka the microorganisms that live in your gut), but you would need to exercise regularly to experience any beneficial effects. Regardless, it’s wonderful to have yet another motivator for maintaining an exercise routine!
Probiotics are live microorganisms that provide health benefits once consumed. Fortunately, you can purchase them in supplement form, or you can find them in foods such as yoghurt. You can also get probiotics from fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, and tempeh.
Artificial sweeteners have become popular in recent years for being able to satiate a sweet tooth without the calories. They almost seem too good to be true… And that’s because they are. Artificial sweeteners disrupt the balance of good bacteria in our gut. A healthy diet is all about balance, so if you can’t kick your sweet treat habit, then treat yourself to some real sugar every now and then!