Gut health is an essential foundation for a healthy body and a positive attitude to life. Our guts are deeply connected to our bodies, whether forming our ability to resist disease or illness to promote positive mental health. Gut health is particularly important for women, as we are more prone to gut-related issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), colitis, and Crohn’s disease. Additionally, harmful bacteria in the gut have been linked with obesity and diabetes.
Therefore we must look after our guts, but how do we do it? In this blog post, we will break down 4 simple ways to improve your gut health and start your journey to positive living!
1. Understand Your Food Intolerances
The first step to improving your gut health is simple, learn to understand your body! Food intolerances are different from food allergies because they don’t involve the immune system. Instead, they are caused by difficulty digesting certain foods. This can lead to things like bloating, constipation and diarrhea. Typical food intolerances include dairy products, gluten and grains.
The best way to learn about your food intolerances is to keep a food diary for at least one month. Be sure to write down everything that you eat, even if it is just half of a banana or some orange juice in the morning. After each meal, take note of any symptoms you experience and record commonalities between foods. It may be frustrating at first, but after about 30 days, you will understand your body and the foods that don’t work well for you.
You can also visit a gastrointestinal doctor to further clarify your guts intolerances. These doctors are specialists in gut health and will provide you with additional information on the foods that your body has difficulty breaking down.
Once you know what to avoid, it is much easier to start making healthier food choices to support your gut health! For example, if dairy upsets your gut, try swapping cow’s milk for almond or soy milk, gluten-free grains like quinoa instead of wheat and omitting processed foods from your diet.
2. Adapt Your Diet
There are a range of functional foods that you can easily include in your diet to improve gut health. Good food for your gut health is rich in probiotics, prebiotics and fiber. Probiotics are live bacteria found in fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi.
Meanwhile, prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates that help feed our good gut bacteria, which can be found in foods like asparagus, garlic, and onions.
Furthermore, increasing your fiber intake is important for gut health as it helps keep the gut bacteria healthy and functioning correctly. Good sources of fiber include fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. Aim to have at least 30 grams per day for optimal gut health!
Ultimately, these small changes to diet will make a significant difference in your gut health, and you can start to feel the benefits almost instantly!
3. Take Useful Supplements
If changing your diet seems too stressful and overwhelming, you can also implement supplements to help improve your gut health! Probiotics, prebiotics and fiber supplements are all great options that can be easily found at your local pharmacy or health food store.
Probiotics are available in capsule, powder or liquid form and work by replenishing the good gut bacteria. They can be helpful for people who have a poor diet, suffer from IBS or have recently taken antibiotics. Prebiotics are also available as capsules, powders or tablets and work by stimulating the growth of good gut bacteria.
Fiber supplements usually come in tablet or powder form and help to increase fiber intake. They are beneficial for constipation, IBS or a low fiber diet.
If you’re not sure which supplements to choose, check out this useful blog or speak to your pharmacist for advice.
4. Minimize Stress
Believe it or not, stress also influences your gut health. Acute stress is good for the body because it helps us cope with sudden events, but chronic or long-term stress can be harmful. Chronic stress puts your gut under a lot of pressure, leading to inflammation in the digestive tract and may even disrupt stomach acid production.
Fortunately, there are many ways to reduce your level of everyday stress and support your gut health. For example, practicing mindfulness or meditation is a great way to lower stress levels as it helps you stay in the moment and focus on what’s happening right now.
Regular exercise can also help reduce stress by releasing endorphins that improve mood and energy levels! Ensuring regular sleep is also crucial for reducing stress levels, as it allows the body to rest and repair. Finally, spending time with friends at social functions will help you feel connected and supported.
Stress is an unavoidable part of life, but by making a few small changes, you can minimize its negative impact on your gut health!
Now you know some simple and practical ways to improve your gut, you can start to take control of your life. These small changes will significantly impact overall well-being, making you elevate to a new appreciation of life.