Did you know that your gut is not just any ordinary tube, but it is actually your first line of defence against bugs and other organisms that can make you sick? That’s right! Over 70% of your immune system is located in your gut. So, if you’re feeling a bit under the weather, it might be time to take a good look at your gut health and see how you can increase your good bacteria.
Your gut contains trillions of micro-organisms, including bacteria, that determine your gut health. Many of these microorganisms have a symbiotic, or mutually beneficial, relationship with your body. For example, gut bacteria aid in the immune system, produce the feel-good brain chemical serotonin, make energy available to your body from the food you eat, and dispose of foreign substances and toxins.
To keep your gut in top condition, here are some tips on how to eat for good gut health:
- Make fibre your friend: Dietary fibre is essential for good gut health. It aids in the removal of waste from the body and feeds the good gut bacteria. The best way to increase your fibre intake is through fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, beans & seeds.
- Feast on fermented foods: Fermented foods provide probiotics that your digestive tract needs to function optimally. These products include sauerkraut, kefir, tempeh, miso, kimchi, kombucha, and even yogurt! Regular consumption of these foods can keep your microbiome in top condition by helping to promote the growth and balance of the good bacteria in your gut.
- Choose water for the win: Staying hydrated helps to keep food products moving smoothly through the intestines, supporting the entire absorption and elimination process. Ultimately drinking the recommended amount of water every day (2.5L) should help maintain normal bowel function which is essential to good gut health.
Your gut also has its own nervous system, known as the enteric nervous system, which sends signals to the brain and vice versa. Stress hormones can shut down or speed up your digestion, affecting your cravings and mood. So, if you’re feeling anxious, depressed, or stressed, remember to trust your gut instinct! It doesn’t have to contend with the committee that lives in the brain that tries to talk you out of what you know in your gut to be true.
In short, your gut is a fascinating and powerful system that affects your overall health. By incorporating these tips into your daily routine, you can help to promote good gut health and improve your wellbeing. Remember, as Hippocrates once said, “all disease begins in the gut”. So, take care of your gut, and it will take care of you!