Gut health is an area that has gained so much traction in recent years, due to the gut’s influence on many aspects of our health, such as our immune health (70% of our immune system resides in the gut!) as well as our mental health and even mood. Supporting gut health has never been more important!
But what does gut health really mean? Gut health generally refers to the balance of microorganisms that reside in our digestive tract (called our gut microbiome). Ensuring that our microbiome is well-balanced and thriving can have a huge impact not just on our digestion, but on our overall health and well-being.
Although our own unique microbiome is created early on in life, various things can alter the
microbiome (positively or negatively) throughout our lives.
Poor sleep, alcohol, a sedentary lifestyle, as well as antibiotics, medications, excess refined sugar, artificial sweeteners and processed foods can all have a negative impact on your microbiome.
Luckily there are a number of ways you can take care of yours! In terms of your diet, you can
consider incorporating more prebiotic and probiotic foods to your diet:
Probiotics: they are living strains of bacteria that can help to increase the population of good gut bacteria. Food sources include: kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi.
Prebiotics: they feed and increase the growth of the good bacteria that reside in your gut Food sources include: cooked apples, artichokes, garlic, oats.
It’s also worthwhile thinking not just about what you are eating in terms of gut health, but also your lifestyle, by addressing stress levels, ensuring you get adequate sleep and exercising regularly, all of which can have a positive impact on our microbiome and therefore our overall well-being.
Amy Cottrell is a passionate nutritionist who supports others to improve their overall well-being and reach their health goals through tailored, manageable and motivational support.