If you're experincing difficulties with your gut health, be it bloating and constipation, stomach cramps, diarrhoea or just general discomfort, it can cause havoc in many areas of our life. These four simple things can help support your gut health leading to better overall health, a boosted immune system and greater mental health.
1. Stay hydrated
Drinking plenty of water has been shown to have a beneficial effect on the mucosal lining of the intestines, as well as on the balance of good bacteria in the gut. Ensuring you stay hydrated is a simple way to promote a healthy gut. Try to drink fresh water rather than caffinated drinks. If you dislike the taste of plain water add flavours with herbs, fruits and vegetables. Some of my favourites are lemon and ginger, cucumber andmint, basil and strawberry, lemon and lime. The list is endless so experiment until you find some combinations you enjoy.
2. Take a prebiotic or probiotic
Adding a prebiotic or probiotic supplement to your diet may be a great way to improve your gut health. Think of them like a garden, prebiotics are the fertilisers and provide “food” meant to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, while probiotics, the plants or seeds, are live good bacteria. People with bacterial overgrowth, such as SIBO, should not take probiotics. Not all probiotic supplements are high quality so ensure you seek out one with bacteria in the billions. This is one from a company i've been using for almost 10 years and has never let me down.
3. Check for food intolerances
If you have symptoms such as cramping, bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, rashes, nausea, fatigue, and acid reflux, you may be suffering from a food intolerance. You can try eliminating foods that are known triggers – dairy, gluten, caffeine, sulphites, salicylates, FODMAPs etc to see if your symptoms improve. Once you’ve identified a food or foods that are contributing to your symptoms, you may see a positive change in your digestive health by eliminating them for a short period of time before reintroducing them. If you need help and support in doing this give me a shout, (I offer free zoom consultatons) or seek out another professional who can support yu.
4. Change your diet
Reducing the amount of processed, high-sugar, high-fat and fried foods can contribute to better gut health. Additionally, eating plenty of plant-based foods and lean protein can positively impact your gut. A diet high in fibre – both soluble and insoluble - has been shown to support a healthy gut and the gut microbiome. If you struggle to get enough fibre from your food then supplementing with a plant based fibre supplement may help. I take this fibre supplement daily despite having a diet which includes more than the NHS 5 recommended daily fruits and vegetables and incorproating 30 different fruits and vegetables in my diet each week. I've found getting enough fibre from food alone to be a challenge so supplementing can be an easy fix to support you.