Looking after your gut health doesn’t need to be boring; introducing new habits into your lifestyle and new foods into your diet can be exciting and fulfilling! Once you have the information needed to make conscious choices about your gut health, you can set yourself fun weekly challenges to get on top of it all, and feel healthier than you ever have.
Here, we will discuss 5 of our top tips for improving your gut health, without feeling like you are climbing a mountain. Keep reading to discover how you can improve your gut health in your day-to-day routine!
Eat a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet doesn’t need to consist of boring foods that you don’t enjoy. A diverse and balanced diet can be nutritious, delicious and far less effort than you might be expecting.
Diet is a big factor in gut health, as everything we eat goes through the gastrointestinal tract where nutrition is absorbed and toxins are removed from the body. If what you are putting into your body isn’t nutritious, it can have a negative effect on the gut’s health.
Although fine in moderation, sugary foods, processed foods and salty foods can increase the bad bacteria in your gut and lead to inflammation, causing negative symptoms such as digestive issues and increasing your risk of disease. If you are eating a lot of these foods, chances are, you don’t feel particularly energised or healthy.
Incorporating more fibre into your diet can go a long way to improving the health of the gut through feeding the good bacteria, leaving less room for the bad bacteria to grow and make you unwell.
Avocados, popcorn, dried fruits and potatoes are all high fibre foods.1 Many stores also do delicious sweet flavoured fibre bars that can make a great snack alternative to a cake or a biscuit! Just watch out for fibre bars that have a ton of added sugars, as that can be counter-productive for improving gut health.
Fermented foods can also be a great addition to your plate, as they are filled with probiotics. Probiotics add new species of good bacteria into the gut, helping to improve diversity and reduce your risk of disease. Sauerkraut, a fermented cabbage, can be a great in salads, soups, as a side dish, topping or as a dip. It goes particularly well with sausage or smoked fish!2
Hydration is key to our overall health; water is the number one essential we must consume in order to stay alive. Hydration plays a vital role in gut health - it is key to proper digestion, as food struggles move through the gastrointestinal tract without liquid to help it on its way.
Food getting stuck along the gastrointestinal tract can cause excess gas, bloating, cramping and constipation - not an enjoyable experience! Water is essential for the gut to be able to absorb the nutrients from the food that you eat. If you are dehydrated consistently, it could lead to malnourishment even if you are eating a healthy diet.3
Many people find water boring, and some say they just don’t like the taste. Don’t worry - there are more ways to stay hydrated than just drinking plain water! Check out our article Top 10 Most Hydrating Food and Drink to find others ways to stay hydrated.
Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore. Finding the right exercise for you can be life changing, and gut changing, too!
Regular exercise can do wonders for your gut health; exercise stimulates the muscles in the gastrointestinal tract, helping you to digest food more efficiently. This can help to prevent constipation and ensure your body is properly absorbing the nutrients from the food.4
Studies have shown that after 6 weeks of no exercise, the gut reverts to its original state, so consistency is key to the maintenance of the gut.5 This is why finding an exercise regime that you enjoy is essential for truly maintaining a healthy gut.
If the cross-trainer, sit ups or step-machine don’t fill you with excitement, it probably means thats not the exercise style for you. Finding an exercise you enjoy can mean you can actually sustain it, and add a fun new hobby into your routine.
Classes or team sports can be a great way to add more exercise into your life, whilst also finding new friends and connections that give you even more of a reason to keep it up. If a running club sounds like your cup of tea, a late-night kick about or some volleyball on the beach, google the name of the sport or class in your area and see what’s available!
Walking can be a really effective way to include more exercise into your life whilst not feeling like you are overdoing it. Why not try increasing your steps by 1000 each week until you reach a number you feel works for you?
Manage Stress Levels
Stress can have dyer consequences for gut health - it is crucial to manage stress levels not only for your mental well-being, but for your gut, too.
When you are stressed, the body releases extra cortisol. Excess cortisol levels can interfere with the gut, leading to unpleasant symptoms such as diarrhoea and sudden cramps, as well as a bacteria imbalance and limited oxygen and blood flow to the gut. Excess stress can lead to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), irritable bowel disease (IBD), gastoesophogeal reflux disease (GERD) or peptic ulcers - all extremely unpleasant gut disorders!6
If you struggle to manage your stress levels and find yourself struggling with gut issues as a result, it’s time to find the right de-stressing method for you. As well as improving your gut health, it will dramatically improve your quality of life to get stress levels under control and make life more enjoyable.
Meditation and yoga work well for some people when it comes to stress management. Finding some time to dedicate to relaxation each day can make the world of difference when it comes to stress levels.
If your stress feels unmanageable and you think you need some extra help, why not contact a therapist, life coach or your GP to get some counselling or additional resources? There is no shame in needing a helping hand, and looking after your mental health should be a priority.
Take a Probiotic Supplement
Fermented foods aren’t the only way to consume probiotics; taking a probiotic supplement can do wonders for your gut health. Our signature formula Gut Care contains 4 strains of probiotics, specifically picked for their profound impact on the health of the gut.
Saccharomyces Boulardii SP92
This is a probiotic that protects the gut against bad bacteria and encourages the production of good bacteria. This is essential to maintain balance and diversity in the gut microbiome and maintain or achieve optimum health.
A blend of live bacteria (probiotics) that is able to diversify intestinal microflora and have a positive effect on mental health, synbio positively affects the gut-brain axis, a vital communication system that ensures the brain and gut are in sync. An unhealthy gut can have a damaging effect on the brain, so healing the gut microbiome can help to benefit mental well-being.
Lactobaccilus Rhamnosus IMC 501 is a type of lactic acid bacteria that has a positive impact on reducing diarrhoea and IBS by producing the enzyme lactase, which breaks down the sugar lactose in dairy foods. During this process, the sugar is turned into lactic acid which helps to break down harmful bacteria. Due to this ability to prevent harmful bacteria from reproducing, L. Rhamnosus has been shown to significantly reduce the occurrence of UTI's in women.
Lactobaccilus Paracasei IMC 502, another lactic acid bacteria, is able to increase the production of the good bacteria bifidobacteria, which helps in preventing inflammation and infections, acts as an immune modulator and supports immune system regulation.
Lactobacillus Rhamnosus CRL 1505
Last but by no means least, Lactobacillus Rhamnosus CRL 1505 is a probiotic that is able to protect the guts mocosal lining from intestinal infections, preventing it from becoming damaged and wearing away. This probiotic is particularly helpful to those suffering with diarrhoea and IBS symptoms.
Including a probiotic supplement can give you peace of mind that every day, you are improving your gut health with very minimal effort. Vibrant coloured tablets packaged in beautiful amber glass jars that look great on your sideboard, Gut Care might just be the right choice for you.
The Take Home
By adding new fun ingredients into your diet, increasing hydration levels through more exciting options, finding a new hobby in exercise, decreasing stress levels and taking a probiotic supplement, your gut health could significantly improve.
Remember, changes don’t all need to happen at once. Why not choose the one that interests you the most, and start there? Consistency is key when it comes to the gut, so don’t overstretch yourself and burn yourself out. Take it at your own pace, and if it’s feels like a chore, choose something else that doesn’t!
If you’d like some additional support to make these changes, check out our Gut Reset Plan. With this thoroughly thought out plan created by the experts on our team, you will receive a 3 month supply of Gut Care as well as support from our in-house nutritionist, and weekly emails to help you adopt new gut-friendly habits just like these ones.