Tuesday, 8 October 2019

How's your gut health?

Did you know that there are studies that show a link between gut health and your immune system, your mood, your mental health, your autoimmune system, the functioning of your endocrine system, your skin condition and the chances of developing cancer?  

In this blog we are going to look at gut microbiomes which are the microorganisms that live in your intestines.  

Good gut bacteria can enhance your immune function, improve the symptoms of depression and help to combat obesity – amongst many other benefits.  So how do you know if you have an unhealthy gut?  

Here are seven signs;

1.       Upset stomach – you have bloating, heartburn, constipation or diarrhoea

2.       Sugar cravings – if you have a high sugar diet it gives rise to inflammation and in turn a craving for yet more sugar

3.       Weight gain – an unbalanced gut can impair your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, regulate blood sugar and store fat.

4.       Sleep disturbances / constant fatigue – this could be due to the reduction of serotonin in an unhealthy gut.  Serotonin affects sleep and mood.

5.       Skin irritation – poor diet might cause a leak of proteins from the gut into the body which can lead to irritation

6.       Auto immune conditions – an unhealthy gut may increase systemic inflammation which can give rise to auto immune diseases

7.       Food intolerances – there is a thought that some food intolerances are due to difficulty digesting some foods due to poor gut health.

7 things you can do for your gut health

       Lower stress levels

·         Meditation

·         Walking

·         Hanging out with friends

·         A massage

·         Decrease caffeine intake

·         Acupuncture

2.       Get enough sleep
                 ·         7 hours a night
                 ·         Adopt a good sleep routine

3.        Eat slowly and mindfully

4.       Stay hydrated; drink plenty of water throughout the day

5.       Take a prebiotic or probiotic to promote growth of good gut bacteria

6.       Check for food intolerances – try removing things from your diet that you think might upset you and see if there are any changes

7.       Change your diet

·         Reduce processed food

·         Reduce foods high in sugar

·         Reduce foods high in fat

·         Eat plant-based foods

·         Eat lean protein

·         Increase your fibre intake

4 foods that are good for gut health

1.       High fibre foods;

·         Beans

·         Oats

·         Peas

·         Bananas

·         Berries

·         Asparagus

·         Leeks

2.       Garlic and onions – will possibly help to boost your immune system and have anti-cancer properties

3.       Fermented foods;

·         Kimchi

·         Sauerkraut

·         Yoghurt

·         Miso

·         Kefir

·         All of these are sources of probiotics

4.       Collagen boosting foods;

·         Bone broth

·         Salmon

·         Mushrooms

·         Good dairy

Bone broth

2-3 pounds of chicken bones (you could use beef, lamb or pork if you prefer)

4 litres of water

2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

Sliced onion

4 cloves of garlic

Salt and pepper

Simmer for 4 to 24 hours (or use a slow cooker)

Strain and discard bones etc

Use to make a hearty soup, adding a variety of vegetables