Accredited Practicing Dietitian, Anika Rouf, shows us 5 simple practices that will pave the way to a healthier and happier gut.
The gut seems to be a hot nutrition topic these days. There is a lot of new research happening which is showing that gut is related to our mood, mental focus, immune system and even conditions like depression.
Our gut holds over 500 million neurons which connects to the brain and 95% of the serotonin (also known as the key hormone of happiness) is found in our gut.
Given the importance of a healthier gut, it may be worthwhile to incorporate a few changes in our diet. Here are some simple ways to keep your gut feeling a billion times better.
1. Go high on wholefoods
If there is one message you are taking away from reading this article, it should be this. Eat wholefoods when you can and give refined carbohydrates or processed foods a break. Eating wholefoods will reward your body with the goodness of fibre and other essential nutrients our body needs for regulation of gut health.
2. Go slow on the sugar
While we have known for some time that too much sugar is not good for our body, recent research is revealing that it may also be changing our gut flora. Having lots of sugar in your diet will promote the growth of sugar-loving bacteria in our gut and can result in cravings for more sugar. Depriving them of sugar often produces bacterial toxins which can leave you feeling poorly.
3. Swap to better fats
A diet which is high in saturated and trans fat (also known as bad fats) has been linked to many chronic diseases, including gastrointestinal disorders. Polyunsaturated fats (which includes omega 3 and 6) help promote the growth of a healthy gut microbiota.
4. Drink water
Water is our lifeline as it flushes out toxins and maintains fluid balance in our body. As a rule of thumb, an average adult needs about 8 glasses of water per day. If you are struggling to get enough in your day, you could try squeezing in more by adding citrus flavours such as lemons.
5. Don’t expect changes overnight
Recognise that this will be a long term process. Think of it as planting seeds in your garden today and expecting fruits in a couple of years. Much like a garden, your gut needs to be nurtured and looked after before you see the fruit.