We are more and more often being told how important it is to look after gut health and some of you may be familiar with certain dietary tips and tricks to promote a healthy gut. However, do you ever wonder what putting these tips into practice looks like? And how these tips can be easily implemented in your daily routine? I love to inspire a healthy lifestyle and am sharing 5 things I do daily to promote gut health which can easily become part of your own routine.
Start the day with 500mL water
Not the most exciting one to start off with, but a tip, which must be mentioned. Adequate hydration is important to allow the digestive system to function optimally. Water essentially helps the food we consume move easily through the body and out as waste. When water stocks are low, we can become prone to constipation and less likely to flush out waste. Starting the day with a good amount of water is a great way to get a head start on hydration for the day.
Here are some other easy ways to increase hydration:
- Swap coffee for herbal tea
- Add fresh sliced fruit to water for extra flavour
- Have a vegetable soup for lunch
- Snack on vegetables and fruits with a high water content (eg capsicum, cucumber, strawberries)
- Get up from your desk and have a glass of water every 30mins
Pop Fermented Food on the Plate
Fermented foods (kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha and tempeh) are rich in healthy bacteria. It is suggested that the inclusion of such good bacteria has been shown to reduce gut inflammation helping with gut function and may also beneficially shape the balance of bacteria in the gut.
Hare are some easy ways to enjoy fermented foods daily:
- Add sauerkraut and/or kimchi to salads
- top sauerkraut on rice cakes with avocado
- top burgers/wraps/sandwiches with kimichi
- make a smoothie using kefir
- replace your afternoon coffee with kombucha
- make a curry with tempeh or pan-fry and add to salads
Have a fibre-rich breakfast
We all know, fibre is needed to keep bowels regular and for allowing our digestive system to function better. If you lead a busy lifestyle, sitting down to a fibre-rich meal three times per day may not be priority. However, having a fibre rich breakfast is a great way to make a head start on your daily fibre count.
Here are some tips to increase fibre at breakfast:
- Add 1 tbsp. chia seeds or flaxseeds smoothies or on top of porridge
- Sprinkle oat bran or LSA over fruit salad and yoghurt
- Serve left-over quinoa or brown rice with yoghurt and fruit for breakfast
- Add cooked quinoa/grains or chia seeds into an omelette mix or scrambled eggs
- Have 2 x slices grainy toast with hummus and roast pumpkin
- Enjoy a fresh vegetable juice and add the pulp back into the juice before drinking
Have a serve of essential fatty acids
Essential fats are linked to reduced levels of inflammation in the body and are also tied to a better balance of bacteria in the gut. Specially, preliminary research suggests omega-3 fats may assist with producing bacteria, which exert an anti-inflammatory effect on the gut.
Some easy ways to enjoy more essential fats include:
- Add salmon, sardines or mackerel to salads/sandwich’s
- Start the day with a chia seed porridge
- Snack on raw nuts and seeds
- Sprinkle LSA on yoghurt for a snack
- Drizzle roasted vegetables with flaxseed oil
Last but not least, eating mindfully, in a way, which allows us to get the most nutrition out of food, is critical. When we eat in a stressed state, blood supply is diverted from the digestive track placing a halt on proper digestion. Practicing mindful eating by sitting down to eat in a calm environment away from distraction, chewing food well and taking time to appreciate the food in front of you can assist with reducing stress around eating. This in turn will allow you to get the most benefit from food. This week aim to switch off during meals and remove yourself from distraction such as mobile phones, noisy environments and tvs.
Noriega, B et al 2016, ‘Understanding the Impact of Omega-3 Rich Diet on the Gut Microbiota, Case Rep Med, March 14: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4808672/