Your gut is like a hard-working machine, processing the food you eat, absorbing all the nutrients your body needs, and expelling whatever is left over – around the clock. But it doesn’t end there – far from it! Your gut is also home to around 70% of your immune system and your gut microbiome - connected to many aspects of your health and wellbeing, so gut health matters! So how can you improve yours?
1. Eat more fibre
Dietary fibre is the greatest gift for a healthy gut, but with today’s lifestyle of fast and convenient foods, most of us don’t eat enough! The recommended daily intake is 30g a day, but the global average is just 23g a day – and actually much less in many countries. Eating fibre does two great things for the gut: it stimulates the gut and gives it a good workout from the inside for good digestive health, and feeds the good bacteria in the gut microbiome, to help promote a healthy gut environment.
Tip: Try to boost your daily intake of dietary fibre by eating more vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes. A fibre supplement is an easy way to top up if you feel like you’re not getting enough.
2. Drink plenty of water
Good hydration is critical for gut health! A hydrated gut is important for regularity – lack of hydration results in constipation, bloating and discomfort.
Tip: Aim to drink 8-10 glasses of water or other fluids a day – that could include drinks made with water like coffee and tea (but not sugary drinks, which will add calories and little else). If you eat plenty of moist foods like yoghurt, juicy fruits and soup you can include these in your total daily fluid intake too. Invest in a practical water bottle you can carry around with you so you always have water on hand throughout the day.
3. Eat a diverse, healthy diet
Dietary diversity is vital to promote a healthy gut microbiome – the more varied your diet, the more varied the composition of good bacteria in your gut. Try to limit your consumption of saturated fat, sugar and alcohol and focus on eating a variety of healthy, whole foods, including fermented foods.
Tip: Try to step outside your ’normal’ eating by introducing at least one new nutritious food into your diet every week!
4. Exercise your gut
All exercise stimulates gut motility. Aerobic exercise helps to stimulate the gut by getting your blood pumping, while Yoga-inspired stretching exercises stimulate movement by ‘massaging’ the gut. Here are a few of our favourite easy exercises to promote a healthy gut.
Tip: Try to incorporate different types of activity into your routine every day. Every little counts!