Brits struggling with digestive problems are being advised to make a few simple lifestyle changes to improve their gut health.
Health and fitness experts at Goal Getters by MuscleFood.com have named their top tips for a happy and healthy gut.
Having a healthy gut is important because it plays an essential role in digestion, immune system functioning, mental health, skin health, and overall well-being.
Poor gut health can lead to digestive issues such as bloating and constipation, as well as more serious illnesses like irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.
Signs that your gut microbiome may be out of balance include an upset stomach, constant fatigue, unintentional weight changes, skin irritation and food intolerances.
Ashleigh Tosh from Goal Getters by MuscleFood.com said: “Gut health is incredibly important for our overall well-being.
“Not only does a healthy gut help keep our immune system strong, but it also helps us absorb vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial substances from the food we consume.
“Avoiding processed foods and having a balanced fibre rich diet will promote a healthy microbiome in your gut.
“Regular exercise, plenty of sleep and staying hydrated will also help improve your gut flora for better overall health both physically and mentally.”
Here are the top tips for a healthier gut from the team at Goal Getters by MuscleFood.com:
- Include plenty of fibre in your diet
Fibre helps to move food through the digestive tract, ensuring waste is eliminated regularly and that your intestines are clean. Fibre can be found in foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains, so make sure to incorporate these foods into your diet.
- Eat fermented foods
In addition to eating foods that are high in fibre, consider adding fermented foods into your diet on a regular basis as well. Fermented foods are rich in probiotics, which promote healthy gut bacteria and support digestion. Examples of fermented foods include kimchi, sauerkraut, yoghurt and kefir.
- Stay hydrated
It is also important to stay hydrated with water or unsweetened beverages such as herbal teas throughout the day. Proper hydration ensures elimination of waste and helps to ensure that good bacteria levels remain at their highest. If you struggle with drinking enough water, add some fresh lemon or lime juice to your glass for extra flavour and an added dose of vitamins and minerals.
- Get plenty of sleep
Make sure you get enough rest each night so that your body can repair itself and balance hormones that regulate digestion and absorption of nutrients from the food we eat. This means aiming for 8 hours of sleep per night if possible.
- Exercise regularly
Exercise helps improve gut health by promoting good circulation of blood, providing important nutrients, increasing the absorption of water and essential vitamins, reducing inflammation and regulating hormones. Regular physical activity can also stimulate bowel movement and relieve constipation, as well as reduce bloating and cramping. Regular exercise can boost serotonin levels and aid in managing stress and anxiety, which can both negatively impact your gut health.
- Limit alcohol and caffeine
Alcohol and caffeine can both cause irritation to the stomach lining and impede nutrient absorption, which can lead to digestive issues like bloating, nausea, diarrhoea, and constipation. They can also interfere with the balance of beneficial bacteria, resulting in inflammation that may lead to IBS-like symptoms.
- Manage your stress levels
Managing stress levels is important for improving gut health as stress has been linked to many negative health effects. It can cause an increase in digestive symptoms, reduce immune function, and lead to poor nutrition choices. By managing stress through activities such as mindfulness, exercise and self-care, we can reduce the impact of these negative symptoms and improve our overall gut health.