30 May 7 Easy Steps to a Happy Healthy Gut
Every 29th May, the World Gastroenterology Organisation (WGO), in collaboration with the WGO Foundation (WGOF), celebrates World Digestive Health Day (WDHD) and initiates a yearlong, worldwide, public health campaign through more than 100 WGO Member Societies which reach over 50,000 individuals worldwide.
Over just the past few years, there’s been a dramatic increase in published research revealing how a happy healthy gut and balance of bacteria living in our guts regulate everything from immunity and inflammation to sugar, your mental state and fat metabolism.
The most common way people notice a problem in their gut is when they start regularly experiencing digestive issue like bloating, abdominal pain, constipation, or diarrhea.
The biggest factor in digestive health is your diet. Everything you eat correlates directly with your digestive health. Here are seven easy steps I recommend for a healthier, happier gut:
Treat your food as your medicine
Try to avoid ‘food like’ products (supermarkets aisles are full of them). Always read the labels and avoid artificial whenever possible. Try to cook from scratch and eat more dark green vegetables and gut-friendly fruits such as bananas.
Remember everything that you imbibe correlates to your body’s health and well-being. So, when you ingest a high sugar content snack, or meal, it will result in an insulin spike. From there on in, you’re likely to experience fatigue, hunger, and high blood pressure if left unchecked.
Eat the right kind of fibre for a happy health gut
You may have heard that fibre helps with symptoms of constipation, but there are actually two types of fibre that we should all be aware of: soluble fibre and insoluble fibre.
Soluble fibres slow digestion, preventing spikes in your blood sugar, whereas insoluble fibres with the transit of food through your intestines, which can help prevent constipation. Insoluble fibres are found in nuts, whole wheat, whole grains, seeds, and rice, while soluble fibres can naturally be found in oats, beans, peas, flaxseed, berries, and apples.
Make sure to avoid soluble fibres added to processed foods that add sugar substitutes made from dextrose, sorbitol, and citric acid, which can cause gas and bloating.
Eat For Your Microbiome
It turns out that our gut bacteria make SCFAs (short-chain fatty acids) when they are fed a specific type of complex carbohydrate called prebiotic fibre. Diets high in prebiotic fibre lead to increased SCFA production, which increases gut motility. This reduces calorie absorption. Diets that don’t provide adequate prebiotic fibre lead to less SCFA production, basically signaling food scarcity and enhancing absorption of fat-enhancing calories.
Our microbiome, the 100 trillion microbes living in the intestines of each of us, plays a pivotal role in determining whether we’re overweight or lean.
Add the following prebiotic-rich foods to your diet to enhance SCFA production and reduce the amount of calories your body extracts from a given meal. That includes foods like:
- dandelion greens
The above prebiotic-rich foods will help convince your body that it’s not in starvation mode and doesn’t have to scavenge as many calories from the food you eat!
Buy vegetables with flavonoids
Incorporating more flavonoid-filled veggies can help you maintain healthy digestion. Certain fruits and vegetables have molecules known as flavonoids, which make up their bright pigments. Flavonoids are very beneficial for your digestion. A powerful antioxidant, flavonoids are found in romaine lettuce, onions, brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, quinoa, and bell peppers.
Find a method of stress management
Stress not only affects your mental state but can also take a toll on your physical well-being. Stress negatively affects every part of your digestive system, causing your colon to spasm or even increases the acid in your stomach, causing indigestion.
If you’re not exercising regularly, I recommend finding a workout or active activity you can do at least three times per week like Yoga or Tai Chi.
Sleep 7 – 8 hours a night
Many of my clients who have GI problems also have issues falling asleep. There is a direct link between sleep disorders and GERD, IBS, IBD, and ulcers.
Although more easily said than done, a solid eight hours of sleep is imperative to keep your digestive track healthy—and coincidentally keeps your mind and body healthy.
So if you already suffer from a digestive issue, it’s important to work on your sleep schedule.
Avoid artificial sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners can be extremely detrimental to your digestive health. Any artificial sweeteners—particularly mannitol and sorbitol—can cause diarrhea because they don’t get digested and then bacteria will break them down and cause problems.
Take note after you eat any artificial sweeteners; if it affects your stomach, you should avoid them!
Don’t ignore symptoms
And finally, don’t ignore symptoms! If you are experiencing constant heartburn, diarrhea, or constipation, your digestive system is trying to tell you something. The longer you wait to visit your doctor, the more intense and severe symptoms become and the harder they become to treat.
Screenings, like those for colon cancer, are useful tools to keep you and your digestive system healthy.
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‘Mind Body Cleanse’ by Chris James (Penguin Vermilion, £14.99). Available from here: https://www.chrisjamesmindbody.com/product/mind-body-cleanse-by-chris-james/https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mind-Body-Cleanse-Plan-Re-Energise/dp/1785040804
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