Eight Steps to Optimal Gut Health

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With the abundance of processed foods flooding our lifestyles, many of us are feeling the impact on our gut health. Bloating and other side-effects of poor gut health can leave us feeling sluggish and miserable. Luckily there are some simple tips we can implement for happy tummies.

1.  Take a daily probiotic

Probiotics promote good gut flora; helping to achieve the right balance between our good and harmful bacteria. They’re the live, good bacteria found naturally in some fermented foods and are added to other foods for their health benefits.

Boost your body’s good bacteria with a probiotic-containing yogurt or fermented foods and drinks such as kefir, sauerkraut, miso, kimchi or kombucha. Fermented foods help feed the good bacteria in the gut, promoting nutrient absorption and immune function. Probiotics are also available in capsules and powder form.

2. Eat prebiotic rich foods

Prebiotics are not bacteria, instead they come from indigestible fibres found in fruits, vegetables, legumes and wholegrain breads and cereals and provide the food for good bacteria. Prebiotics enhance and promote the growth of the good bacteria that already exist in the digestive system. Snack on a banana for a great source of the prebiotic oligofructose.

3. Reduce your intake of gas-producing foods

Take note of your gut reaction 2-3 hours after consuming such gas producing foods as legumes, broccoli, apples, oats, garlic and onions. Once you have identified those which cause you discomfort you can moderate your intake and introduce suitable alternatives.

4. Get moving

Inactivity can lead to constipation, so ensure you get moving for at least 30 minutes each day to keep your digestive health on track. A brisk lunch time walk will do the trick!

5. Drink plenty of water

Adequate hydration is critical for optimal gut health. Sip water throughout the day and try drinking herbal teas such as peppermint or green to soothe your tummy and support digestive ease. 

6. Incorporate Linseed

There is some good research showing the benefit of linseed consumption for those suffering from irritable bowl syndrome (IBS) or constipation – aim for 1-2 tablespoons a day, introduced gradually. Linseed can be added to water, sprinkled on yogurt or enjoyed in salads.

7. Get familiar with FODMAPS

Temporarily removing foods high in fermentable carbohydrates (FODMAPS, or sugars found in some fruits, grains and vegetables) can offer significant benefits for someone with IBS. Once you have identified which of these sugars your tummy reacts to, you can manage your consumption accordingly.

8. Enjoy oats for breakfast

Oats contain soluble fibre that is metabolised in our gut, and produces short chain fatty acids, which are beneficial to gut health. Enjoy oats for breakfast to keep your digestive system in tip-top condition.