By now, you've probably heard that taking care of your gut is a good idea. But how exactly do you support your gut health? We asked Nutritionist Hannah Trueman for her top six tips. Here's what she had to say:
Eat more plants and eat the rainbow
A varied, plant-centric diet provides your body with more fibre, prebiotics and polyphenols, all of which are essential for a healthy and happy gut as they encourage the number and variety of bacteria whilst limiting the propagation of pathogenic bacteria.
Include fermented foods and beverages in your diet.
Fermented foods and beverages such as kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir etc may have a beneficial effect on your digestive health. The fermentation process means these products are rich in lactic acid and beneficial bacteria and, as they are already partially broken down, they are easier to digest and the nutrients they contain are more readily available. Choose unpasteurised varieties, like those from The Cultured Collective.
Note: Introduce fermented foods gradually. Consult with a practitioner if any persistent symptoms occur as this may be a sign of an underlying condition or imbalance such as SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth).
Chew your food thoroughly.
Simple but often overlooked - so many of us wolf our food down, practically whole! Slow, mindful eating and thorough chewing means our food is partially broken down before it even enters our gut, which makes its job easier. Connecting with your food and engaging your senses (before, during and after you eat) triggers a cascade of events and secretions throughout the digestive tract, all of which helps things move along nicely.
Look after your mind.
The well documented link between the gut and the brain demonstrates that what’s good for your mind is good for your gut, and vice versa. Prioritise mindful practices such as meditation, journalling, time in nature, mindful movement and doing more of what you love. Health is about so much more than just the food we eat. Taking a holistic approach that includes lifestyle practices will amplify
the benefits of all that beautiful food you’re eating.
Prioritise consistent good quality sleep.
I’m a huge advocate of sleep in my clinical practice and there’s not an organ or bodily process that doesn’t benefit from it.
Move every day.
Regular movement has been shown to contribute to a more densely populated and diverse microbiome. Include some kind of movement daily and it doesn’t have to be a HIIT workout. Find what feels good and keep things varied with nature walks, yoga, climbing and more high intensity movement to get your heart rate up.
Hannah is a holistic nutritionist (BSc) with a special interest in brain health, cognitive function and the scope of nutrition in improving mental health and reducing cognitive decline. Follow Hannah on Instagram for delicious recipes and health tips: https://www.instagram.com/kinderkitchen.co/