Did you know that 70% of our immune system is in our gut?!
That’s a mind blowing statistic isn’t it? It’s just one of the many reasons why we hear experts telling us we should be looking after our lovely gut. You’ve probably heard a little bit about gut bacteria too. Well, we have millions and trillions of them (and other microbes!) living in our gut and they play a really important part in our health. In fact, we can’t live without them so we need to take good care of them.
If they aren’t good enough reasons to convince you that our gut health should be on our minds if we’re looking to get healthy then I’m going to give you one more. The lining of our gut is super important for our digestion. And so it doesn’t matter how healthy our diet is if our gut lining isn’t up to scratch. We’ll just lose all the benefits of what we’re eating. And what’s the point of that?
So have I convinced you? I hope so. So we’re all agreed, gut health is important. Now we need to know what we can do about it.
- Fibre is our friend. And it’s all about diversity. Eating a wide range of different plant foods in our diet helps ensure we consume the different types of fibre that help feed our gut bacteria. The experts say we should be aiming for 30 different plant-based foods every week. Now I know that might sound like a lot but hear me out. This can include fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, legumes, nuts AND seeds. You can do this!
- Chew your food really well. Yes, that’s right. And there’s even scientific evidence to prove this! The less we chew our food, the more of it is undigested. What a waste! And you’ll never believe how many times we should be chewing each mouthful. 15-20 times!!!
- There’s been a HUGE interest in fermented foods such as kefir, probiotic containing yoghurts and kimchi recently. And sales of kombucha have really grown! That’s because these fermented foods contain beneficial probiotics that are thought to be good for our gut health. And if you don’t know what a probiotic is, think of it as friendly bacteria. They’re the good guys.
- But what about things that are not great for our gut. This probably won’t come as much of a surprise but lack of physical activity, smoking, not enough sleep and too much stress can all affect our gut health. And hey, they’re not great for a whole load of other reasons too so we should all be keeping these things in check.
So are you ready to get gut-healthy? If so, why don’t you try these 3 simple things this week:
- Include ONE new plant based food in your diet. Something you rarely eat or perhaps haven’t tried before. It could be a fruit, a wholegrain or even a legume. The choice is yours!
- Count your chews, yes! I bet you’ll be surprised. See if you are chewing your food at least 15 times and if you’re not, then give it a go! Remember digestion starts in your mouth.
- Feel like dabbling in fermented foods or drinks? Give it a go! Why don’t you grab a kombucha one day this week. There’s lot of options out there now to try. Find it in your supermarket, a health food store or even buy it online.
So, easy-peasy! 3 simple things to help improve your gut health. Next week, we’ll be talking about what you can do to help improve your immune system. Keep an eye on those emails!