5 Ways To Radically Improve Your Gut Health
You might have heard about your powerful gut microbiome, and how having a healthy and thriving one can impact your health. It’s a bit of a buzzword in health media, and a lot of people think that improving gut health is all about taking probiotics.
But, gut health is about more than a good quality supplement. Consistent lifestyle factors have a much higher impact on your gut flora than just taking probiotics as a supplement.
Probiotics can help while you take them, but you want your consistent lifestyle to do the real heavy lifting for a long-term, healthy gut microbiome. If you take away the probiotic supplement at some stage, you want the gut microbiome to be happy and healthy on its own.
How does this look in practical everyday life? There’s a lot that can be done and in cost-effective and easy ways. Below are some things to try for yourself and see how they make a difference.
1. Eat colourful
‘Eat the rainbow’ is a well-used term in health circles and for very good reason. Vegetables, fruits, lots of fibre and colours from nature contain wonderful, active ingredients that have super benefits for your whole body.
The many different plant colours and flavours are not accidental or meaningless, they all contain ingredients that play a variety of roles in overall health.
Your gut microbes love vegetables. Aim for seven portions or handfuls of colourful plant-foods every day, mostly vegetables.
2. Chew your food
Chewing your food until it’s small enough is an important step in your digestive process. Not only does chewing break down the food, making it easier to digest, but by chewing you also set the rest of your digestive tract in motion.
Have you ever noticed that your mouth starts to water before a good meal? Your body is already sensing the food, and preparing to receive it. When you see food, sense the flavours and textures, and chew it, you produce saliva and digestive juices while also triggering brain connections to your gut. All of this kick-starts and supports healthy digestion and a balanced microbiome.
3. Don’t drink too much liquid while you eat
While you should be drinking about 2-3 litres of water or herbal tea daily, you should do so between meals. Don’t drink the bulk of your liquids with your food because you’ll dilute digestive juices and overfill your tummy. A small amount of liquid if you’re thirsty at mealtime is not a train smash, just limit it.). Wait about 30-60 minutes after a meal before you start to drink plenty again.
If you need to, set regular reminders to get your liquids in throughout the day. Be creative and make it fun.
4. Take a closer look at your chronic medication
Before we even touch on this, please note that you should never change medication without your doctor’s consent and don’t stop taking it because of this article.
Most chronic medications do affect your gut health and gut flora. Antibiotics, as an example, are quite clear that they destroy the gut flora. Cortisone and pain medications also have an impact on the gut flora. Some antidepressants can increase the antibiotic resistance of certain bacteria which will have an impact too. Chronic reflux medications, stomach acid blockers or antacids have a huge influence on the balance of your microbiota and your gut health.
Discuss your medication with your doctor and pharmacist. Are you taking things long-term that were meant to be for a short amount of time? Has it become a habit that might need to be reconsidered or adjusted for optimal health? There’s nothing wrong with asking the questions and becoming curious about what optimal health looks like for you.
If you would like a microbiome reboot after taking medication, consider joining my next 3-week detox course. You could join in with others you are eager to heal their gut and balance their microbiome.
5. Enjoy an early supper
Your day-night-rhythm can affect a multitude of aspects of your well-being, including your gut microbiome. Every life form has a day-night-rhythm and so do your gut microbes. Not only that, but your entire gut responds to your nervous system with its clear rhythms. If you try to live outside of this natural day-night-rhythm you can disrupt the balance of your microbiome significantly.
You have genes involved in digestion that turn on and off according to a certain clock. This clock is linked to your day-night-rhythm and the natural day-night-rhythm around you.
If you eat too late into the evening, when your body is naturally preparing for clean-up, detoxification and regeneration, you can cause chaos in your gut and damage your gut flora.
Have an early dinner and don’t have calories after dinner either in the form of food or liquid. You will be rewarded with a much happier gut and more balanced microbiome.