This week, we’re focusing our blog on gut health. What is it, why is it important and how can we improve it?
Gut health has been directly or indirectly linked to many conditions, including asthma, allergies, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia, depression and anxiety. It’s important to focus on good gut health as this contributes to heart health, a strong immune system, mental clarity, improved mood, effective digestion and healthy sleep. Below we’ve gathered eight tips to improve your gut health. Why not try them out for a few weeks and let us know how it goes on our Facebook page?
- Have more fibre
Did you know the recommended daily amount of fibre for men and women are 38g and 25g respectively? Not many of us reach that. Luckily, there are plenty of great sources of fibre, for example wholegrains like oats and quinoa. Legumes (beans) such as chickpeas, kidney beans and even baked beans are also a great source. Fruit and vegetables can also help you reach this total
- Eat more fish
Fish is good for your gut as it is a great source of protein with healthy fats and omega oils. It is advised to eat fish 3-5 times per week – or alternatively you can look at supplements for omega oils to support your intake.
- Eat a balanced and varied diet
This might seem obvious, but it is probably one of the most important points. It is very easy to stick with your favourite meals that are nutritious and balanced. However, you need to keep your meals varied. It is important to have meals rich in probiotics and prebiotics which are essential for a healthy gut. These include foods like yoghurt, pickles, salmon, chickpeas and lentils, as well as non-starchy fruit and vegetables such as asparagus, carrots, garlic, tomatoes and avocados.
- Consume fermented products
We’ve all heard of probiotic yoghurts, but fermented foods are a great way to introduce healthy lactobacilli (bacteria) to your intestines. You could try Kimchi for Korean flavours, or Kefir to accompany Indian food. Miso and pickles are other good sources.
- Eat selected lean meats
Unfortunately, this point only applies for meat eaters. It is best to eat lean cuts of white meat such as chicken or turkey. You can eat pork, beef or lamb but it is important to make sure that they are low in fat. Try to not eat red meat too often as it is high in saturated fats which can increase your blood cholesterol levels, leading to heart disease. Remember, red meat in moderation.
- Stay hydrated
Drinking water aids digestion – it helps break down food so your body can absorb the nutrients. It also softens stool which helps prevent constipation. Try and drink two litres a day – you can do it!
- Get some fresh air
Fresh air helps you digest food more effectively. Going for a digestive walk can also help improve blood pressure and strengthen your immune system – positively impacting your gut health.
- Take your time
Building a healthy gut can take up to six months, so make any changes for the long term. Altering your habits can be difficult so don’t get frustrated if you aren’t doing everything straight away. It is a life-long journey which needs to be maintained.
We hope you enjoyed these eight top tips! Gut health is for anyone – whether you are fit and healthy, or if you have any allergies or illnesses. If you don’t like any of the foods that were mentioned above, there are plenty of resources available online to suit all dietary requirements. Good luck on your gut health journey!
The Health Club