Supporting a healthy gut microbiome not only assists digestion and metabolism, but also decreases our risk of bowel cancer, supports our immune system to fight off infections and nurtures our mental health by influencing our mood. So exactly what factors have an impact on our microbiome? And how do we go about ensuring that our gut is fit for the job? Supporting good gut health is about more than just diet. Check out my 8 Top Tips to Nurturing a Healthy Gut below:
1. PLANT FOODS - Eat a wide variety of plant foods such as fruit and vegetables, wholegrain breads and cereals as well as legumes. Plant foods are full of fibre which supports diversity in your microbiome and creates an anti-inflammatory response within the body.
2. LIMIT PROCESSED FOODS - Try limiting your intake of processed foods that are usually high in saturated fats, sugar and artificial colours and flavourings. Foods such as crisps, cakes, pastries and take away food can promote growth of harmful bacteria and further irritate the stomach causing diarrhoea, gas and stomach pain. Think Whole foods with few ingredients and minimal processing
3. PLANT PROTEIN - Try sourcing more of your protein from plant sources and less from red and processed meats. Chickpeas, lentils, tofu and Quinoa are great sources of protein. The more fibre rich foods your gut bacteria can feed on - the better your microbiome.
4. FERMENTED FOODS - Try including fermented foods, rich in probiotics such as Kefir, Kimchi, Miso, Tempeh, Sauerkraut and medicinal yogurts. Good bacteria grow in fermentation process and encourage diversity and abundance of good bacteria.
5. WATER - Drink plenty of it! Water is essential for good health. Drinking water during or after a meal aids in digestion by helping to break down food so that your body can absorb the nutrients.
6. GET ENOUGH SLEEP - The relationship between sleep and the microbiome is increasingly seen as a two-way street. Our microbiota seems to have an effect on how we sleep and sleep affects the health and diversity of bacteria in the gut.
7. GET ACTIVE - Exercise is linked to an increase in beneficial microbial species and short chain fatty acids which are important for overall health
8. REDUCE STRESS - Stress can effect digestion and nutrient absorption. Try meditation, yoga or plain old physical exercise to help reduce stress levels