Unless you have been living under a rock you know that Gut Health has very quickly become a hot topic in the health and wellness space, and rightly so. The gut is linked to so many aspects of our bodies and our overall health, its crazy. So how do we do what we can to make sure our guts are as healthy as can be? Simple, just follow these 7 steps from nutritionist Kate Spina...
1. Eat more colourful fruit and veg
Yes, you have heard it before, a variety of fruits and veggies are fantastic for your health. What I loved about Kate's advice was that she explained how the phenols (the elements of the food that give it colour) actually act as multi-vitamins for your gut bacteria.
2. Eat prebiotics
"Prebiotics do not get the press they deserve" - Kate. Think onions, garlic, legumes, beans and asparagus, the foods that seem to give you gas. You want to be packing you diet full of these food. Prebiotic foods are full of hard fibres that the bacteria in your gut feast on. Show your gut microbs some love, feed them regularly.
3. CHEW your food
Just like my mother always said, 'you have to chew your food'. Not only are there enzymes in your saliva that start to digest the food but chewing actually signals to the gut that it needs to get ready for digestion.
4. Manage stress
This was one of the bigger points Kate spoke about, as even short stressful periods can reduce the amount of bacterial variation. As many of us experience chronic stress this means that are guts can become way out of alignment and start messing with everything from skin to mood. Kate says we really need to get specific on what our greatest stresses are and work in ways to combat stress at the source.
5. Move your body
Studies show that people who exercise regularly have a great variation and variety of gut bacteria in general, and if we now anything about good gut health it's that variety is key.
6. Eat fermented foods
Think; kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, yogurt, kombucha, kefir and tempeh. What do these all have in common? Well they all contain natural probiotics of cause. By eating fermented foods you are ingesting natural good bacteria that help to cultivate the gut and ensure good health.
7. Activate your Vagus Nerve
Now this is a nerve I had never heard of before. This is the nerve that link the gut to the brain and the brain to the gut. This nerve is interesting as it acts as a highway for information to back and forth, therefor if the Vagus nerve is not functioning at its best gut issues can occur. In fact, studies show that suffers of IBS and other illness's such as Crohn's Disease have a poor functioning Vagus nerve. So, how do we connect back to it? Kate recommends, deep slow breathing for 60secs multiple times a day, laying flat on your back for 10mins once a day and at some stage splashing your face with cold water. Not a bad price to pay for a happy tummy.
Now, you may have notice I haven't mentioned Probiotics... Well that is because Kate Spina recommends getting the above aspects of health sorted out first before adding in elements that either may not be suitable to you, may only serve you while you are taking them, or could possibly even be a waste of time and money.
If you are adamant about taking probiotics make sure you consult a trained practitioner who can advise the specific strains that will really benefit you and will help to support your health long term.
For more information about Kate Spina please check out her website here. Or head over to the podcast page and listen to the episode we recorded together. There is so much more juicy information waiting for you and your gorgeous gut!