A healthy body and mind go hand in hand, and the health of our gut affects both. It’s so important to look after it, I have written many articles on the subject.
Many nutritionists and health professionals refer to our gut as our ‘second brain’. An information highway known as the vagus nerve connects the brain and gut allowing them to be in constant communication with each other.
The gut is where nearly 80% of our immune system lives and where up to 95% of our serotonin, the primary neurotransmitter responsible for our mood, is produced. It makes sense that when things are out of balance in our gut, our whole body suffers.
As we get older and our hormones change, it becomes increasingly important to look after our gut health. When we do, we find it benefits and reduces many symptoms associated with aging and the menopause.
In this article, I’m going to give you 3 simple daily habits for a healthy gut which you can incorporate into your daily life starting today.
1. Healthy nutrition for your gut
Take a high strength probiotic supplement and include more gut friendly foods into your diet. Fermented foods such as miso, kimchi, sauerkraut and tempeh, live yogurt, and Kefir are all full of good bacteria. You can also include drinks such as kombucha, miso in warm water or Kefir drinks.
Most people forget about these, or get them mixed up with probiotics, as they sound so similar. Prebiotics are foods, high in fibre, which we cannot digest but our gut bacteria can. And they are just as important.
Try to include more of the following foods into your diet; onions, garlic, broccoli, asparagus, artichokes, sauerkraut, apples and leafy greens.
Antioxidants fight free radicals and help keep our immune system strong. They also stop premature aging and prevent disease! These foods are essential for a healthy gut.
To get more antioxidants into your body, include in your diet:
- Berries and most fruits.
- Foods high in omega 3 like salmon, sardines, mackerel, chia seeds, flaxseeds, and nuts.
- Vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, carrots and potatoes, artichokes, cabbage, asparagus, avocados, beetroot, radish, lettuce, sweet potatoes, squash, and kale.
- Dark chocolate or raw chocolate.
- Plenty of herbs and spices in your cooking, turmeric is a fantastic one to use.
- Drinks such as green tea.
For optimal gut health, aim to eat 30 different plant foods each week. This can include fruit, vegetables, beans and pulses, nuts, seeds and grains.
To help you why not make a list and stick it on your fridge and tick off what you are eating – you may be surprised that it’s easier than it sounds.
2. Daily movement
Daily exercise promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in our gut and aids digestion. Yet, when I mention this to my clients, many of them are quick to point out that they don’t have the time to work out or go to the gym every day.
The idea of daily exercise can be daunting, but I am not saying you should run a marathon or even go to the gym every day. All I encourage you to do is to go for a 30-minute walk, preferably in nature.
If you live in a city, try to walk in a park or common. Trust me, just a simple walk will make you feel great.
3. Managing stress levels
Stress affects our gut. You may have noticed this yourself. Have you been stressed or under pressure and got an upset tummy? When you are very stressed, it can slow down or speed up your digestion.
Managing stress will benefit your gut and overall health. This is easier said than done, depending on what is going on in your life. However, we should always try to address the cause of our stress and find ways to reduce it.
Quiet your mind with a daily yoga practice or meditation. Even 10 minutes of mindful breathing or journaling will help.
Sex is another fantastic way of reducing stress, even if you don’t ‘feel like it’ initially, you will feel better after.
Find what works for you. Whatever helps you release emotional tension and relieve stress.
Incorporate these 3 Simple Daily Habits For a Healthy Gut into your life and you will feel a big improvement, feel more alert, energised and happier.
I hope you have found this article helpful. If you are interested, you can find more articles on gut health here and here.
If you have any questions or need some support in changing your diet and improving your overall health then do get in touch.