If you feel like you’ve seen the words “gut health” and “microbiome” a lot more lately, you’re not alone. In times gone by, when the “gut” was referred to it was typically referencing the dreaded middle-aged man belly, stereotypically brought on by bad food and too many beers over the years.
But the focus on guts these days is less about beer bellies and their role in obscuring a six-pack, and more about the internal health of your digestive system.
So why all the sudden fuss?
You Are What You Eat… Sort Of
As kids we are taught “you are what you eat”. But that phrase is only half true. A more correct saying would be “you are what you eat and absorb.” For decades, science has taken the “absorb” part for granted. But it turns out that’s not the case. And if the absorption of the nutrients in food done by the body is faulty, that means that the good parts of food pass straight through your system without giving you any benefits. That’s a little like filling the petrol tank of a car but having a few leaks in it – it doesn’t matter if the fuel is premium or low-grade, most of it isn’t being used beneficially.
It turns out that most of the healthy bacteria in your body are in your gut. And these healthy bacteria are the living organisms that help bodies absorb nutrients. But because they are living, they can also die.
What causes healthy bacteria to die is common sense: too much alcohol, too much low nutrient fast food, a lack of exercise, poor sleep and stress have all been studied for their negative effects on the gut and its resident good bacteria.
Why Does it Matter
It turns out that a healthy gut is an amazing thing. Your gut has as many “feel good” hormone creation centres as your brain. So a cranky gut equals a cranky human to go with it. In addition, modern diseases that are based on inflammation like irritable bowel, Crohn’s disease, and bowel cancer have all been linked to poor gut health.
So how can you take better care of your gut?
Ways to Care For Your Gut
There is no need to go on a juice cleanse, liquid diet, or any other extreme measures to get your gut working well. But making a clear plan to follow for two to four weeks will kick-start your gut healing and get you the most benefits in the shortest amount of time. Here are some practical strategies to try:
- Limit fast food – this is an obvious one. Fast food is high in salt, low in nutrients, and fairly limited in its range. A healthy gut needs variety in what it eats. The problem with fast food is that it is pretty one-dimensional, so every time you eat it, you aren’t eating the more diverse foods that could help your gut.
- Take a probiotic – probiotics have gone from niche to mainstream. They add high amounts of beneficial gut bacteria back into your body. Buy a cheaper 30-pack and take some every day to kick-start your gut health.
- Drink this, not that – caffeine and alcohol are known gut irritants. Limit your intake of both, and cut them out strictly for between two to four weeks to get your gut healed. Switch to decaffeinated tea and water and aim to drink six to eight glasses of water a day.
- Chew slower – when we’re hungry or distracted, we tend to wolf down our food, not chew it slowly. That doesn’t help your gut at all. Food has to be broken down completely before the good stuff inside it can be absorbed by your body, so chew slowly and thoroughly.
- Hit snooze – stress and lack of sleep are closely correlated. Sleep is when your body undertakes most of its maintenance and repair functions, including in your gut. Aim for eight hours a night and get into a routine of getting into bed at a certain time each night to make the habit stick.
Do you have an unhappy gut that is weighing you down? We invite you to contact us………..