Digestive problems are top of mind for many of my clients with 90% of them report suffering some form of digestion issues regularly.
Annoying symptoms like bloating, gas, constipation, or diarrhoea can interrupt our lives and impact on what we eat, do, and even what we wear. Improving gut health is a priority for many people- but where do we even begin? Supplements? Fermented foods? Probiotics? It's easy to get confused.
Our gut health is influenced by many factors- some of which we don't have control of. The bacteria in our gut begin forming before we are born and over our life time is influenced by the food we eat, medications we take, our environment, and the things we drink.
Here are some basic steps that I work through with clients to improve their gut health;
1. Cut the sugar
Eating sugar displaces our intake of other important nutrients and can reduce the amount of good bacteria in our gut as a result. Always choose products with less than 10g of sugar per 100g and allow your taste buds to adapt to natural food flavours by cutting sugar from your breakfast or hot drinks for a week.
2. Include probiotic rich foods
Probiotics are the ‘good bugs’ found in our digestive tract. They play an important role in not just our gut function, but also our appetite regulation, immune system, and nutrient absorption. Research shows that adding probiotic rich foods into our diet can reduce bloating and GI discomfort, and improve symptoms of constipaiton and diarrhoea. Include probiotic foods in the form of yoghurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, tempeh, miso, or kimchi. You don't have to purchase a probiotic supplement to boost your gut bacteria!
Diet diversity is key for providing our bodies with a variety of nutrients. Humans are creatures of habit and for this reason many of us will eat the same breakfast and lunch day in and day out. Mix it up by adding different fruit, seeds, nuts, or grains and throwing in a variety of veggies when you can. Even different herbs contain nutrients! Aim to include 16 different foods in your diet every day to promote optimal diversity.
4. Prebiotics= fibre
Very few NZers get enough fibre in their diets. Inadequate fibre intake can leave us feeling bloated, constipated, and sluggish. Adults need 25-30g of fibre every day which can be achieved by eating the recommended 5 servings of vegetables (5 handfuls), 2-3 pieces of fruit, and always opting for skins on vegetables and wholegrain breads, cereals, and grains.
5. Drink plenty of water
All of these great gut health tips won't do you much good if you are dehydrated. Adults need atleast 2L water/day - not including the additional 1L water required per hour of exercise. Water keeps our bowels moving regularly and prevents constipation. If you are not a water drinker- hot drinks and soda water count too!
If you are battling with gut issues and are tired of guessing what you should do- get in touch. I work with people 1:1 to improve their gut health and overall wellbeing.