The silly season has officially come to an end. You have, hopefully, over-indulged and spent time in the sun with family and friends. You may be feeling sluggish now that all the wine and cheese boards have settled.
Whether you’re recovering from a big holiday season or you know 2019 is the year you want to regain your health — it’s time to focus on your gut.
How do you know if you have an unhealthy gut?
As all good health starts with your gut, it’s not difficult to tell when you’re in need of a change of diet and lifestyle. Some in-your-face signs that you might have an unhealthy gut and may need to rethink your health are:
- Digestive issues (bloating, diarrhoea, etc.)
- Food allergies
- Mood disorders (anxiety, depression)
- Skin problems, such as eczema or psoriasis
- Autoimmune diseases
And that’s just to name a few. Generally, if you’re feeling pretty crappy, the key to unlocking good health will somehow be attributed to how we nourish our mind and body (meaning: fix that gut!).
As always, consult a doctor or a nutritionist before taking on any new diets or lifestyle changes.
What to do about an unhealthy gut
Beware of inflammatory foods
You may not be aware of it, but a whole lot of the foods you eat can cause bad health in your entire body (not just the gut). It’s pretty obvious to the average (healthy) person that after a big meal or a few days on holiday, the bad food and the alcohol tend to creep up on you. This doesn’t mean that you have to avoid the foods you love altogether, it does mean, however, that you can reduce your intake of the inflammatory foods (such as sugar, fried foods, dairy, etc.) that are ‘feeding’ the bad bacteria in your gut.
Eat your greens
As adults, we don’t have to hear this one twice. Or do we? Regularly catch yourself pushing the broccoli to the side of the plate whilst you mop up the mashed potato? It may be time for a green intervention. Reintroduce leafy greens and vegetables into your diet in new and interesting ways to counteract any issues related to your gut and overall health.
Focus on fibre
We're always being told to eat more fibre. Even the sliced bread ads on TV are telling you how important it is. But why? Don’t be afraid of fibre, as these ‘carbs’ — yes, they’re a carbohydrate — are essential to creating a healthy gut and absorbing any glucose and fats in the small intestine. Eat Balanced notes that the benefits of focusing on fibre can lead to better colon health (yay!), speedier bowel movements to remove waste and toxins from the body, and as a result, a reduction in the risk of developing cancer. So there you have it, we'll say it again. Eat more fibre!
Get your probiotic on
Give your gut the boost it needs with probiotics. This is essentially the answer to many gastrointestinal issues or general health problems you may be experiencing related to the gut. To maintain (and improve) your gut health, a probiotic supplement can boost your immune system and get you back to feeling tip-top. Many fermented foods naturally contain probiotics and fight gut infection, such as yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, etc. And, by consuming them, you can positively impact your wellbeing.
Cut down on alcohol
We may need a trigger warning for this one. A wine after work may seem like the answer to all life’s problems, but it can be doing crazy things to your gut health, which in turn, will impact your overall health. In a recent study, researchers found that alcohol can influence gut microbiota, which means your intestines will suffer and you can potentially develop leaky gut syndrome. So if you’re feeling a little bit funny in the tummy and you’re dealing with digestive issues that you don’t even want to talk about with your partner (ew!), take some time away from the booze and opt for sparkling water, fresh juices and smoothies instead.
By following these simple tips, your gut (and mind and body) will thank you for it. Get rid of those nasty digestive problems, clear up your skin, and be an all-around happier human to be around with the help of a healthy gut.
Tried any of these tips? We’d love to hear how focusing on your gut has impacted your wellbeing. Leave a comment below and tell us how!