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THE POWER OF GUT HEALTH AND HOW TO IMPROVE YOURS

Apr 11, 2018

Gut health is one topic that should not be overlooked. The gut is linked to our emotions, our cravings and all other bodily functions, meaning it plays an extremely important role in the body and your overall wellbeing. It is home to approximately 70% of our immune system, along with trillions of bacteria that make up the “microbiome”. The microbiome is mostly influenced by the foods and nutrients (or lack of!) our bodies consume, meaning that in order to achieve our optimum and a good level of gut health, observing and implementing more favourable foods into our diet is essential. 

This power that your diet can have on changing the composition of your gut has been discovered by scientists, recognising that the right foods are able to change the strain of bacteria living there and bring friendly bacteria back into balance. Luckily for us, with a few simple hacks and changes, you can transform your gut health which in turn has hugely varied impacts on not only your digestion, but also your mood, hormones, sleep, skin and hair!

Here are our top tips to help you improve your gut health and witness all the positive effects this can have:

 

1.GET COLOURFUL

Filling up your plate with lots of colours and different types of nutritious foods helps stimulate your good gut microbes and create a happy diverse community in there. Don’t just focus on making your individual meals colourful, but spread this colour quest out across your week and try to consume a wide variation of vegetables and fruits. Why not make a long list and tick them off when you manage to eat them? You could even get the whole family involved and make it a little weekly competition!

 

2. LOAD UP ON FERMENTED FOODS

Fermented foods are your guts best friend so it’s time to start making a conscious effort to include them into your diet regularly. The best fermented foods to add to your shopping list include live yoghurt, sauerkraut, kombucha, miso, soy sauce, pickled veg and kimichi.

Fibre from grains is also a key food source for the good bacteria in your gut so you can add fibrous foods such all-bran cereals, oats, lentils and whole grains to that list too!

 

3. SAY HELLO TO PROBIOTICS AND PREBIOTICS

To have a healthy gut, you’ve got to make sure it’s filled with good bacteria. Probiotics and prebiotics are both essential in cultivating these and providing the necessary support for your gut microbiome. Including probiotics and prebiotics into your diet as much as possible is therefore hugely beneficial. You can get them through certain foods (particularly fermented foods like mentioned above), and also supplements.

 

4. AVOID BACTERIA KILLING FOODS 

As well as looking at foods and nutrients you can implement into your diet, looking at cutting down on certain foods is important too. Foods to watch out for and limit are most packaged foods, refined foods (e.g. white bread), processed sugars and artificial additives that are often found in low or zero fat options. These all promote the growth of bad bacteria in the gut and causes imbalance.

 

5. DON’T FORGET TO CHEW! 

So simple yet so effective, the more we chew, the less work our stomachs have to do. Try to be more conscious about properly chewing every bite of your food and taking the time to eat rather than rushing it down. We should be chewing every bite of food about 20-30 times!

 

6. REST AND DE-STRESS

The links between gut health and mental health are phenomenal with many studies proving that emotions of stress and anxiety have a direct effect on the mircobiome. When you’re stressed, your brain sends messages to your gut in the form of chemicals which affect how well your gut works, making your gut extremely vulnerable to it. This strong link makes it even more important to keep your levels of stress and anxiety at bay and to practice doing so regularly. So take this as a reminder to prioritise that rest and downtime and note yet another positive effect this will have on your life – a healthy gut! Our Champion Me self-belief series includes a range of activities you can include in your daily routines to help alleviate stress and it’s causes, such as meditating, breathing, reading, positive affirmations and low impact exercise.

Not only physical and mental rests can prove beneficial to your gut health, but also digestive rest. Allowing your digestive system to have a period of rest and having ‘fasting’ periods can work wonders. Don’t think they have to be during the day, this can be overnight. Try giving yourself a 10-12 hour fasting time a night to rest your stomach and let it reset!

There is still much to be discovered about the power that good gut health holds, but by making these dietary tweaks and these simple lifestyle changes, we can promise you will notice improvements and all aspects of your physical and mental wellbeing.

 

 

 

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