Turns out the human gut is a lot more complex than previously thought and has a huge impact on whole body
health. In recent years, scientists have discovered the importance of our microbiomes, which are home to trillions of different microorganisms and bacteria.
Our microbiome is mostly present in our large intestine, and do a lot more than digest our food. A healthy gut can boost your immune system, improve heart health, improve brain function, healthy sleep, help absorb nutrients from food and even prevent some cancers and autoimmune diseases.
Everyone’s microbiome is unique-it’s what makes you, you! Different types of bacteria and microorganisms have different functions, so the more variety in your gut the better.
So really, good gut health is about creating a healthy environment for these bacteria and microorganisms to thrive.The good news is, we don’t need expensive, so called ‘superfoods’ to do this.
Here are 5 ways to build a healthy microbiome:
1. Eat foods high in fibre
Fibre helps our microbiome flourish, and is the most important nutrient we can eat to support our digestive system. Fibre is found in plant foods such as wholegrains cereals, fruits, vegetables, nuts seeds and legumes.
There are a few different types of fibre. All types of fibres are important for gut function, but prebiotic fibre is particularly good for our microbiomes. Prebiotic fibre supports the growth and activity of food bacteria in our large intestines, and also helps create probiotics in the gut.
Prebiotics are found in everyday foods like:
- Green Peas
As the name suggests,prebiotics come before probiotics. You’ve probably heard of probiotics before, it is a common supplement sold at your local chemist or pharmacy. Probiotics are actually a type of microorganism. Eating lots of prebiotics can help develop more probiotics in our guts, as well as eating known probiotic foods like kefir and yoghurt. This means thatif you’re eating high fibre foods, particularly those high in prebiotics, there’s probably no need to take probiotic supplements,unless specified by your doctor or dietitian.
2. Keep physically active.
Movement helps your gut function. It can help speed up digestion and support regular bowel movements. Recent studies have shown that exercise can even help increase the different types of bacteria and microorganisms in your microbiome. Who knew that moving your body can also help your gut!
Our gut is known as our ‘second brain’, which is why you may feel butterflies with excited or nauseous whenbnervous! Just as physical activity can speed up digestion, stress can slow it down and impact regularity. High stress levels can also decrease the variety of good bacteria in your microbiome. In all, finding a way of managing stress that works for you is important as our guts are directly linked with our brains!
4.Eat the rainbow.
Eat a variety of different types and coloured fruit and vegetables.As mentioned before, there are many types of fibre, and all are important for good gut health. You don’t need to stress about the type of fibre you’re eating because if you’re eating a variety of different fruit and vegetables, chances are you’re getting all the types of fibre your gut needs to flourish.
5.Reduce alcohol intake.
Adults,whenever you drink alcohol, it can alter the variety of bacteria and microorganisms in your gut. Excessive alcohol intake is linked to a range of inflammatory diseases in your gut and can lead to some complicated issues in the long run such as bowel cancer.
Try decreasing the amount of alcohol consumed to meet recommendations of no more than2standard drinks per day.
In all, good gut health is built on a variety of factors!
We recommend that you start slow and try out these tips one by one.