There are a lot of fads and advice out there on how to achieve optimal gut health and despite some being proven to be somewhat helpful - there's nothing quite like the power of your food.
Keeping it simple is the only truly effective way achieve a healthy gut and a healthy gut equals a healthy, happy life. Let's look at the top 4 habits you can adopt now to start your journey.
I know it sounds so easy, but it can be very hard to stick to this one (believe me I know!). Sugar is everywhere! To make a permanent change, you need to understand what’s really in the food you're consuming - and what to eat instead. Here are some suggestions on how to win at reducing your sugar intake:
- Instead of putting sugar on your cereal or oatmeal to sweeten it, opt for freshly cut fruits.
- Steer clear of sugary beverages - opt for sugar-free or low-calorie options, the best, of course, being good old H2O - and lots of it!
- Every time you get a sugar craving, grab a piece of fruit to satisfy that urge.
- Make a point of removing sugary goods from your home - cookies, chips, cakes etc. Make that commitment to yourself.
- Opt for low-sugar condiments or ketchup of BBQ sauce, for example, mustard or salsa.
Consume Fiber Everyday
Yes, every day! Fiber is easily available in many forms. Here are my top ten to choose from:
- Chia Seeds
- Flax Seeds
Follow me on Instagram, I offer many fibrous options and their benefits every third pic!
Eat More Fermented Foods (Especially Fermented Fibers!)
Femented?! What's that? Fermented foods are particularly helpful for those suffering from common digestive and gut issues. For example, leaky gut syndrome, constipation, and autoimmune disorders. Three great sources of fermented fiber are
- Kimchi: Traditional fermented Korean dish that is made from vegetables including cabbage, plus spices and seasoning. Excellent source of probiotics encouraging good gut flora.
- Saukraut: Similar to Kimchi in that it is also made with cabbage and is somewhat spicy. A serving gives you a powerful dose of healthy probiotics that aid digestion, and research has found raw sauerkraut prevents cancer cells from forming.[4
- Kombucha: Made from tea, water, sugar, yeast, and bacteria, kombucha has amazing probiotic advantages. It has been found to help fight off E. colo and bad bacteria in the digestive tract and aids digestion. Learn how to make Kombucha at home.
The Science of Sleep
It won't come as any surprise that you need to sleep. Not sleeping well for a couple of nights catches up to your gut pretty quickly. A recent study on healthy adults revealed that even with just two to four nights in a row of bad sleep, the negative effects on the microbiome were significant. Many beneficial bacteria strains in the gut were reduced by 50%. Not only that, but participants became 20% less resistant to insulin as their microbiomes resembled that of an obese individual. Crazy hey?
It needs to be said, that while napping is beneficial in some ways, it does not replace a normal sleeping - waking cycle in any way. Our bodies are designed for routine - any disruptions cause a knock-on effect throughout the system, particularly the gut.
Both your gut health and sleep affect each other - keep both happy :)