Gas, bloating and constipation are uncomfortable. Experiencing IBS can make your days unpleasant. There’s also long term and broader health reasons to pay attention to what’s going on in your gut.
Your digestive system is like the clearing house for your body’s immune system. If the ecosystem of your gut bacteria is out of balance, this can lead to inflammation and compromised immune function.
Diet and lifestyle habits can have a positive impact on your gut health, if you know what to do. Here’s our five tips to help you support good gut health for you and your family.
Processed foods can do damage to your digestive system. You can improve your wellbeing by including plenty of fibre rich fruit and vegetables and whole grains, plus healthy fats like nuts, avocado and sardines.
Oats are a great way to start the day before work or study. Their soluble fibre – beta-glucan – slows digestion, helps you to feel full and feeds the good bacteria in your gut. Fermented foods like tempeh, yoghurt or kimchi also boost bacteria and help keep you regular.
It helps to cook your own meals at home with real food ingredients. Eat mindfully and slowly so you don’t overload your gut with too much food to digest in one hit.
Get Good Sleep
Research has indicated that there is a higher prevalence of obesity in people who have sleep disorders. Obesity can lead to a range of other health complications like diabetes or heart disease.
When you are tired you are more likely to crave processed snacks or caffeine to get you through the day. If you’re refreshed it is easier to make healthy choices. That improves sleep patterns, which then helps you to be more productive and continue to make better choices. It’s a positive feedback loop.
Try not to eat heavy meals before bedtime, and do minimise blue light from devices at night. These can disrupt sleep patterns and circadian rhythm by confusing your internal clock reactions to day and night.
Drink Clean Water
Good hydration supports the break down and flow of food through your body. Aim for 6-8 glasses of water per day. Filtered water at room temperature is an optimal choice.
You can start the day by sipping warm water. This drink is a good way to gently awaken and moisten your digestive system. Try it with freshly squeezed lemon.
Herbal tea or kombucha are also helpful choices. Reduce your consumption of sugar-flavoured drinks. It’s also a good idea to limit caffeinated and alcoholic beverages, as they can dehydrate.
Make a Move
Gravity and physical activities can improve your digestion, and you’ll feel less sluggish. A mild walk after a meal could be just what you need to get things moving.
Regular, moderate exercise can help you to maintain a healthy body weight, which will support your body’s digestion and keep your immune system in better condition.
Gentle activities like meditation, yoga or stretches can help to reduce your stress levels, which will make your gut a whole lot happier and less inflamed.
Spice it Up
Ginger is a popular ingredient in dishes across the world, and not just for its spicy taste. The root of this flowering plant contains anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties that give ginger its reputation as natural cold remedy, especially when blended with honey.
The calmative compounds in ginger make it a handy herb for nausea too. It’s often touted as a cure for travel sickness, and has been shown to improve digestion.
There’s a variety of ways to include ginger in your diet. Ginger beer is a refreshing cold drink and ginger tea is a soothing pick me up. You can cook with fresh ginger or enjoy it pickled as a condiment.