5 Ways to Support Gut Health
The gut is the gateway to our health; if your gut is healthy chances are you are too. It is now said that our gut health impacts everything from skin conditions to mental health and even obesity, making it one of the most important factors in our general health and wellbeing.
5 Ways to Support Gut Health
The gut is the gateway to our health; if your gut is healthy chances are you are too. The gastrointestinal system is not only important for breaking down and digesting the food we eat, but it is largely important for the health of our immune system and overall well-being. It is now said that our gut health impacts everything from skin conditions to mental health and even obesity, making it one of the most important factors in our general health and wellbeing.
Our gastrointestinal system is hard-working system that allows important nutrients and water into the body while keeping of toxins and antigens out. The gut is more than just a big long tube for digesting food, it is a complex system that absorbs nutrients, makes minerals, houses bacteria, protects from infection and relays messages to our brain. The gut itself is home to 100 trillion microorganisms working to keep us healthy at any given time, therefore it Is imperative to keep this garden of bacteria healthy at all times in order to support our own health. So here are five important factors to consider to help ensure your gut health is in tip top shape.
1. Focus on Fermentable Fibre
Most people are aware that fibre is beneficial for the digestive process itself, but it is also incredibly beneficial to our overall gut health. Fibre from vegetables helps to provide a form of fuel for beneficial bacteria to thrive on in the gut. Prebiotic rich foods, such as onions, leeks, garlic, bananas, apples, pears, asparagus, artichokes, yams, yicama and oats provide the actual building blocks for probiotic bacteria to grow so including them in your diet on a regular basis is a great place to start supporting your gut health.
2. Eat Fermented Foods
Incorporating fermented foods into your diet is a great way to support your gut health. Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, kefir or kombucha are rich in probiotic bacteria, which play a beneficial role in gut health. These friendly bacteria are present in the billions in our body, in fact, our human cells are outnumbered ten to one by bacteria, so eating them in the diet is a great way to increase your intake before even considering a supplement form.
3. Avoid Refined Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates in their process form are one of the largest contributing factors to poor gut health. These simple sugars work to feed the bad bacteria in the gut and promote yeast and fungus overgrowth, which impairs gut health. Refined carbs in the form of refined grain products such as cereals, granola bars, crackers, bagel, cakes and cookies, as well as simple sugar from concentrated fruit juices, sodas, candy and sugars should all be limited as much as possible.
4. Avoid Artificial Sweeteners
Although artificial sweeteners might seem like a simple way to have your cake and eat it too, they have been shown to be incredibly damaging to our intestinal system and overall gut health. Non-caloric sweeteners like aspartame (Equal), sucralose (Splenda), saccharin (Sweet N’ Low), neotame or acesulfame potassium (Ace-K) are highly processed unnatural sweeteners that do far more harm than good. If you need to sweeten something you are much better of using a natural sweetener and simply limiting your consumption.
5. Limit Stress
I know this one is a lot easier said than done, but chronic stress has a huge negative impact on gut health. Given our gut is our second brain, our stress hormones can actually impact our digestive health and vice versa. The problem is that being regularly stressed can influence our gut bacteria, directly affect our digestion and, in turn, how well we can absorb nutrients. Managing stress will help to keep our body in “rest and digest” mode to support digestive function and gut health. So do your best to manage your stress natural through exercise, getting outside, a healthy diet and lots of laughter.
Stephanie Kay Nutrition
September 14th, 2018