health

The 7 things people with healthy guts do every day.

Inner Health
Thanks to our brand partner, Inner Health

Upon returning from my recent Hawaiian family holiday, I learnt that although holidays are wonderful for the family memories and the photo album, they are often not that great for your gut health.

When we came back home to Oz, I realised that I was not feeling quite myself and started to convince myself it was a case of Hawaii Belly. In reality, it was more likely  a combo of the Hawaiian Luau (feasts), the fact that for the past two weeks I had been living on US portion-sized meals (and a cocktail or two), and the fact that my usual health routine had flown out of the plane window as we took off from Tullamarine.

So back to the guts of it I went – literally. I went back to basics, back to my pre-holiday routine, to my gut health. I did this because gut health is pivotal to overall health and wellbeing, and research shows it helps maintain healthy metabolism, brain and immune system. As someone who’s had gut issues, I know that I feel like my best ‘me’ for both myself and my family when I’ve got this sorted.

Plus – and this is essential – it’s actually easy too. Here are some of the bests tips I’ve found while trying to get back into routine – the things that people with healthy guts do.

1. Take time with your food.

Probably the most simple change was remembering to just slow it down when it came to meal or even snack time. So instead of my ‘Hawaiian food excitement’ as I called it, once back at home I actually remembered to chew my food because this is where digestion starts as it helps break down what you are eating into smaller particles.

You’ve probably heard of the term ‘mindful eating’, and chewing is very much part of that. According to Harvard Health, chewing each mouthful “20 to 40 times, depending on the food” is apparently ideal. One chew, two chew, three chew…

2. Add a dash of lemon juice.

A spoonful of lemon juice helps the food go down. OK, so that may not quite work with the tune from Mary Poppins but it is probably a bit more accurate and healthier than her advice.

Drinking lemon water, however much you want to have mixed with water, and consumed either hot or cold, can actually improve digestive health by relieving constipation.

Lemon is high in a fibre called pectin, a prebiotic (or type of dietary fibre) that helps feed healthy gut bacteria, as various studies have shown. Squeeze the lemon rind too for extra goodness.

3. Bitter is sweet for your gut.

By incorporating bitter foods like rocket, dandelion greens, endives, kale, cauliflower and broccoli into meals helps to stimulate your digestion.

Bitterness effectively “tones” our digestive system, engaging it to get started and work more effectively once it has, according to Nutrition Stripped Cookbook author and leading US nutritionist McKel Kooienga.

As well as including these bitter ingredients into your meals, to help a bit more you can always finish your meal with some dark chocolate (yep, it’s bitter and yes, it also has the same benefits- you’re welcome). Kooienga recommends 80 per cent cacao dark chocolate or cacao nibs.

gut health foods
See those cacao nibs on top of your acai bowl? They're good for your gut. Image: Getty.
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4. Don't forget your fibre.

“Dietary fibre in particular is vital for a healthy gut," says CSIRO researcher and co-author of the CSIRO Healthy Gut Diet, Dr Michael Conlon.

"For years we've thought all fibre was good for was helping to keep our bowel movements regular, but we now know that fibre offers more health benefits than this, many of which support our gut bacteria in a healthy way.”

Yes, fibre is important. It assists with both Irritable Bowel Syndrome and preventing constipation as it adds bulk to get things moving more easily.

The recommended daily intake of 30g of fibre is also really achievable in a variety of delicious ways. It could be two pieces of fresh fruit or approximately two cups of veggies with your dinner.

5. Be proactive about probiotics.

Probiotics are integral to gut health as they boost ‘good’ bacteria, or probiotics in the gut.

If you’re a kombucha lover then here is another reason to keep enjoying it. If not, other probiotic-rich foods include sauerkraut, yoghurt, kefir and miso.

But the most effective way to get your probiotics fix is a supplement like Inner Health Plus Double Strength, which has twice the live probiotics for everyday gut health (as compared to regular Inner Health Plus, which is also effective).

The one-a-day capsule contains 50 billion live bacteria, and because of its innovative Activ-Vial™ packaging, it stays live and effective without refrigeration. This probiotic may help maintain the balance of good gut bacteria in your gut; support gastrointestinal health and digestive function; support healthy immunity; and help maintain your general health and wellbeing.

And it's easy to find in your local pharmacy, so have a look for it.

6. Avoid processed foods.

Avoiding processed foods or drinks such as soft drinks, packaged snack foods, pastries and fast food is really important for good gut health.

These types of foods and drinks are proven to be harmful to gut health by causing gut inflammation, disease and mood problems.

Choosing whole foods is the main way to counter that - so that means eating more colourful fruits and veggies, wholegrains and legumes, eating a balance of seafood and lean poultry, and consuming less red meat.

7. That old classic - stay hydrated!

The importance of water and being hydrated is well-known as a benefit for a wide range of health reasons, including gut health.

Fluid, especially water but also through herbal teas and watery foods such as cucumber assist with the mucosal lining of the intestines to keep you regular and also can help keep your balance of gut bacteria in check. Experts recommend 3L a day for men, a 2L a day for women, unless you exercise a lot or live in a much hotter environment and need extra water.

It's little things like this that make all the difference to your gut. Especially after a holiday! I better get started.

What do you do to keep your gut healthy? Any more tips to share?

This article was brought to you with thanks to our brand partner, Inner Health.

*Always read the label. Use only as directed.
Inner Health

NEW Inner Health Plus Double Strength has twice the live probiotics for everyday gut health.*

Each 1-a-day capsule contains 50 Billion live bacteria for gut health that goes from strength to strength.

Now available on the shelf in Pharmacies nationally.

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