If you google ‘gut health’ you will see pages and pages of info on the topic. It is certainly a huge trend in nutrition at the moment, and one I think is definitely here to stay. The gut microbiome is the collection of bacteria that are present in our gut. Interestingly, we all have a unique microbiome, made up of different strains of bacteria. The advances scientists are making in understanding more about the gut microbiome are very exciting! As we begin to learn more about what is going on in our gut, we are able to change our lifestyles in order to improve our health. But where to start? Read on for three simple daily habits you can start today to boost your gut health.
1. Cherish those complex carbs!
Low carb diets have been quite popular for many years now, but they are not so great for your gut microbiome. Complex carbohydrates are found in many starchy foods such as wholegrain bread, wholemeal pasta, sweet potatoes, brown rice, and wholemeal flour. These types of carbohydrates are quite a lot of work for the gut to break down as they are so high in fibre, which helps support the health of gut bacteria.
2. Include plenty of prebiotic foods.
Probiotics and prebiotics are two important factors when it comes to gut health. Probiotics are the good bacteria in the gut. There are many strains of probiotics in our guts, and lots of probiotic supplements on the market as you have likely seen. Prebiotics on the other hand deserve just as much attention. Prebiotics are the fuel which keeps the probiotics thriving and doing their best work! Some examples of foods high in prebiotics include legumes, garlic, onion, wholegrain bread, bananas and many veggies. Aim to include a variety of fibre-rich, plant-based foods every day to get your dose of prebiotic fibre.
3. Chew your food for just a bit longer.
Bit of an unexpected one I know, but it is amazing the difference taking the time to sit down and enjoy your food will do for your gut health. So often we are running around with so many things to do, that we quickly scoff down our meals so we can move on to the next task we need to do. Ideally eating should take around 20 minutes, to give yourself time to eat, chew properly, and let your meal digest a little before racing off. It is easier said than done to carve this time out of your day, so I myself like to schedule meal breaks into my diary like I do meetings, appointments and workouts. Really honour that commitment to yourself and try not to double book.
Just a few small tweaks to your lifestyle can really help to boost your gut health. It is definitely an exciting time in nutrition science, so stay tuned.