Inside our digestive system we house millions of bacteria and micro-organisms. This is collectively known as our microbiome, a mini eco-system completely unique to you! With the help of research we now know that these micro-organisims are integral not just to our digestion but that they are involved in many vital aspects of our health systems. Gut health and gut bacteria has been linked to understanding how effective our immune system works, how well we synthesis vitamins and minerals, our skin health, how we gain weight; they have even been linked to how happy we feel! It’s clear then that looking after those bugs is important!
While I work with clients individually to support gut health, here are some simple tips that can help to support a happy healthy gut for everyone.
1.Eat your veggies! Vegetables are a fantastic source of fibre; food that your gut microbes love! Think of vegetables as the fertiliser fo your gut microbes. Eating a broad range of vegetables has been found to be directly related to having a beneficial impact on the microbiome. Aim for 7 portions a day and more diverse the better! Eat the rainbow!
2. Pro-biotic foods such as live yogurt, kimchi, kombucha and sauerkraut are healthy sources of friendly bacteria. Eating these foods encourage growth and boost beneficial bacteria that help support your immune system and keep less favourable bacteria in check. A simple switch to live natural yogurt for breakfast or adding a tablespoon of sauerkraut to a salad are easy ways to introduce pro-biotic foods into the diet.
3. Consider your toxic load. Toxic load refers to the potential chemical burden we put our body under. Researchers have found that plastics, chemicals, disinfectants and harsh cleaning products may have a direct impact on our gut microbes reducing their diversity and their health protecting mechanisms. Drinking filtered water, switching to natural laundry and cleaning detergents and replacing conventional beauty products with clean alterntives such as Bohemia & Flower soaps, are simple ways to help reduce your body’s intake of harmful chemicals and support your microbiome.
4. Ditch the sweeteners. While more research is needed, some studies have suggested that artificial sweeteners commonly found in soft drinks, flavoured yogurts, ready meals and chewing gum to name a few, have a negative impact on human gut microbes. There are lots of ways to cut down on artificial sweeteners, simple changes can include drinking water flavoured with natural fruit, avoiding ultra processed foods as these can contain added sweeteners and slowly reducing the amount of sweeteners in your tea and coffee week by week.
5. Chew your food and eat mindfully! This is such a simple yet effective tip! It’s important to remember that digestion begins in the mouth so taking the time to chew your food throughly and in a relaxed state will optimise digestion by breaking down food into bitesize pieces for our gut bugs to feast on!
Amie runs one to one nutritional consultations from her clinic in Whitstable as well as online remote consultations, visit www.amiebutlernutrition.co.uk for more information, recipes & blogs.