Six ways to take your gut health to the next level.

Thanks to our brand partner, Twinings

If I were to ask you what the most important organ in your body is, my gut instinct is that you wouldn’t say, well, your gut. But the fact of the matter is that your gut is the gateway to your health. In recent years it’s been said to have an impact on everything from your mental health to how often you go to the bathroom…

And as you’d expect, if we don’t look after our gut it can wreak havoc with our hormonal function throughout the body and leave us with impaired immune and nervous systems. Yikes. Luckily, maintaining your best gut health isn’t hard at all. Here are some simple tips for restoring the health in your gut:

1. Eat more fermented foods.

Like probiotics, fermented foods can also introduce good bacteria into your gut. Besides yoghurt, some other  examples of fermented foods include:

  • Kefir
  • Kimchi
  • Sauerkraut
  • Soy sauce
  • Tempeh
  • Fermented tofu
  • Kombucha
Fermented foods can also introduce good bacteria into your gut. Image: iStock.

While these can all be purchased, if you consider yourself a bit of a whiz in the kitchen, making your own will provide you with the most health benefits. Store-bought products are usually pasteurised to maintain their shelf-life which can kill that good bacteria we're trying so hard to foster.

2. Eat less refined sugar.

As you'd probably already know, there are a number of reasons why less refined sugar in your diet is a good idea but one you may not be aware of is its impact on your gut health. Refined sugar actually promotes the growth of bad bacteria in and can upset the balance of the flora in your gut. Just one more reason to kick it to the curb for good.

3. Drink plenty of water.

We all know its important to get in our eight cups of water per day. Keeping your body hydrated means our organs are functioning at their optimum level. This also includes your gut. But if that's too much water for you to stomach, try supplementing water with something like tea. It gives you that taste of something different while still keeping your hydration up. A refreshing cup of Twinings Digest blend of peppermint, licorice and lemon balm, for example, is the perfect cup for that 3pm slump.

Twinings Digest Infusion. Image: supplied.

4. Stress less.

While the link between your gut health and what you put in your body is a given, the impact your stress levels have on your gut can often be considered as a surprising one. If you are stressed or anxious it's quite possible for you to change the production of your stomach acid through nerve connections. This happens when your brain sends a message to the gut in the form of chemicals that can impact its regular function. That's why taking the steps to manage your stress is so vital.

Exercise is a great way to keep your stress levels in check. Image: iStock.

5. Take a break to eat.

I know this sounds like a given, but in a time where we're constantly on the go and have less time for ourselves, dropping everything to have a meal is a luxury some just don't have. But it's important to allow your body the appropriate time to digest your food more efficiently and thoroughly. Try not to eat in a hurry and make an effort to chew your food properly instead of scoffing it down like many of us are tempted to do.

6. Take a probiotic.

Probiotics are readily available at both health food stores and the supermarket. But what exactly are they and why should we be taking them? Probiotics are live bacteria that help to keep your gut healthy by aiding your immune function, digestion and the production of some essential vitamins. Yoghurt contains large quantities of live bacteria - but if you're not a dairy kind of person, they can also be taken in capsule form. Easy, right?

To keep that live bacteria working, it's also important not to take too many antibiotics. While they kill all of the bad bacteria that makes us sick, they also kill all of the good bacteria that keeps us healthy. That's why antibiotics should only be taken sparingly.

Yoghurt contains large quantities of live bacteria. Image: iStock.

7. Find the relaxing ritual that's right for you.

Reducing stress isn't just about taking a deep breath or meditating or going for a run. Sometimes, daily rituals that make you feel good can be just the trick, like enjoying a good cup of tea on the couch in your leggings. So make sure to take out time for yourself to keep your body ticking. Reduced stress levels make for a healthier body, including a better functioning gut.

If you haven't been looking after your gut health as much as you should be, there's no need to feel guilty. That's because restoring it to where it should be isn't hard at all if you follow these simple steps. All you have to do is go with your gut.

How do you keep your mind and body healthy?

Thanks to our brand partner Twinings and their new Twinings Digest Infusion.