16th August 2021
The Gut Stuff: A quick guide to help you with your gut health.
Tastily has partnered up with The Gut Stuff team to learn more about the importance of looking after your gut and what you can do to help yourself!
Unfortunately, there isn't a magic bullet for good gut health, and we need to start thinking about eating for both us and the little microbes in our gut, if we as identical twins have a different microbiome, then so does everyone – so you need to empower yourself with the facts and do what works for you... but here are some tips to “gut” started...
HOLD UP I WANT TO GO BACK TO BASICS AND LEARN THE SCIENCE
Up your polyphenols: Polyphenols are protective compounds found in plants, they are typically found in higher quantities in brightly coloured vegetables. Your gut microbes convert polyphenols from plants into something your body can use. They have antioxidant properties and act as mini cheerleaders for your microbes helping them perform at their best. Food sources include brightly coloured vegetables, fruit, tea, coffee, dark chocolate, legumes, and olive oil.
Fibre: Did you know you need 30g of fibre per day? Most of us aren’t nearly getting enough. But what is it? Fibre is the unsung hero of the food world. Dietary fibre (or roughage as your relatives may have called it) is the component of plant-based foods that cannot be digested. Think of fibre as the food for your gut bugs, your gut bugs ferment this and produce more food for the cells in your gut. Fibre also helps increase the bulk and softness of your poo, which helps keeps you regular, which we all know is super important. Load up on veggies and fruits in their whole forms, include skins where edible (not kiwifruit, ew), include whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
Limit processed foods: To put it simply, they can seriously impact the balance of your gut bugs, making your gut a more favourable environment for those less helpful gut bugs.
Variety: You have trillions of bacteria (over a thousand different species!) in your gut and they all thrive on different foods, so variety really is key to have. Research shows that those who ate 30+ different plant-based foods a week had a more diverse mix of gut microbes than those who ate less than 10. Diversity = a happier, healthier gut. Aim to get at least 30 different plant-based foods in your diet a week.
De-stress: What works for you will be different from someone else so focus on what helps you relax, whether a yoga class, a walk, or even some mindfulness. Do something that helps you get away from the stress of daily life.
Avoid eating when stressed: Don’t eat on the go, sit down without distractions (like your phone) and really focus on the food in front of you. When was the last time you took a deep breath to fill up your lungs? Try taking three deep breaths before you eat to promote a ‘rest and digest’ state.
Chew, chew & chew again: Do you chew enough? What happens in your mouth is a fundamental part of digestion. Chewing mechanically breaks down your food into smaller pieces and the time you spend chewing allows the digestive enzymes in your mouth to further breakdown your food. You need to chew your food 20-30 times before you swallow to make sure it is properly broken down to make less work for your gut and your gut bugs.
Gut moving: Exercise isn’t just good for your body and mind but your gut microbes too. Exercise is one of the independent factors that can affect your gut microbes and how well your gut works – for better and for worse. Try not to go too hard (or too little) and make sure you get enough rest.
Keep a diary to understand why you feel stressed: It could be working out too hard, not getting enough sleep, worrying about work or family. We are all unique but do what you can to get to know yourself better and work on how you manage that stress - We’ve got a Gut Diary that tracks just that!
Written by Lisa & Alana Macfarlane - The Gut StuffBack to blog