How can I improve my gut health?
We now know much more about the importance of a healthy gut for a healthy body and mind. Due to the impact it can have on the body and brain, the gut is termed as the second brain, as we now know that it send messages to the brain and the entire body. A healthy gut is therefore vital for health.
The purpose of food is to provide the body with nutrients to stay healthy and alive.
To do this we need 2 things:
- A healthy functioning digestive system
- Nutrient dense foods
If we eat when we are in a rush or if we are stressed, it can hinder the digestive process as the body is busy diverting blood into the muscles rather than the digestive system, resulting in poor digestion. Also, if we flood the digestive system with liquid when we are eating, it can weaken the digestive juices, making it more difficult for the body to break down the food.
Eating foods to help your digestive system can help to avoid problems such as constipation, heartburn and IBS.
Here are some foods to look out for in your diet:
- Fibre – Aim for the recommended amount of 30g a day which can include wholegrain bread, brown rice, fruit, vegetables, beans and oats
- Drink plenty of water – drinking water helps the digestive system to keep moving and can help prevent constipation
- Saturated fats – we want to cut back on greasy, fried foods which can be harder to digest and cause stomach pains and heartburn.
- Spices – some people may find that spicy food can upset their stomach, but other can tolerate it. If spicy food triggers heartburn, stomach pain or diarrhoea, it is best to cut them down or avoid them.
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Bibbo S, laniro G, Dore MP, Simonelli C, Newton EE and Cammarota G (2018) ‘Gut microbiota as a driver of inflammation in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease’, Mediators of inflammation, 9321643.
NHS (2023) Good foods to help your digestion. Available at https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat- well/digestive-health/good-foods-to-help-your-digestion/ (Accessed on 6 April 2023).