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5 simple steps to improve your gut health

April 14, 2015 4 min read 1 Comment

5 simple steps to improve your gut health
Think of your digestive system as a garbage bin - it needs a good clean out every now and then  

Your digestive system is made up of approximately 100 trillion good and bad bacteria. Both are part of the digestive process and they should co-exist in harmony. The good bacteria regulates digestion, elimination and plays a big role in helping the immune system stay healthy and keep the bad bacteria in check.

Think of your digestion as your garbage bin. You throw rubbish in the bin and if it doesn’t get emptied it will start to decompose, breakdown and release gasses. Your digestive system is the same. Waste needs to be regularly emptied and the digestive system needs to be cleaned and free of bugs.

Feed your internal veggie garden

The good bacteria in your gut can only continue to grow and thrive if you are constantly feeding it. If you think of your gut as a veggie garden, you won’t be able to grow beautiful veggies if you don’t look after them but your weeds will thrive!

 What disrupts our gut flora: 

  • Antibiotics and other medications such as the pill and NSAID’s (non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs)
  • Diets high in refined carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods 

  • Diets low in fermentable fibers 

  • Inflammatory foods such as wheat and hydrogenated oils
  • Chronic stress & infections

5 simple steps

The good news is that we can easily get back on track to building a healthy gut with these 5 simple steps: 

    1. Reduce inflammatory markers. The top 5 are alcohol, sugar, dairy, gluten & hydrogenated oils.

      Inflammationcan cause what is known as ‘leaky gut’, where the lining of the intestines become permeable and food particles can pass into the body. This systemic inflammatory response then leads to the development of autoimmunity.

      Gluten is a large protein found in wheat and wheat related plants and is fast becoming the number one inflammatory food found in the modern day diet. Even those who do not have Celiac disease may find they have a slight sensitivity to gluten. Dairy is also an issue because many people are sensitive to casein and whey, the two proteins found in dairy.

      Drinking excessive alcohol, often mixed with sugary drinks, forces the liver to work overtime and can damage the lining of the intestinal tract.

      Sugar is a huge contributor to inflammation and is one of the major underlying problems of diabetes, high cholesterol and hormone dysfunction. We are now consuming up to 33 teaspoons of sugar per day due to all the hidden sources in almost every packaged food readily available in the supermarkets.

      Hydrogenated oilssuch as vegetable and seed oils, have been created by adding hydrogen which prolongs the shelf life of the product. This readjusts the molecular structure of the oil which our bodies are not used to processing.

      2. Increase fibre intake.Aim to include at least 20-25 grams of fibre into your diet every day.

      Soluble fibre rich foods provide the perfect pre biotic for our guts. To support the growth of good bacteria, choose pre biotic foods that contain lots of soluble fibre such as bananas, apples, onion, garlic, leeks, asparagus, artichokes and legumes.

      Insoluble Fibre is also important for overall digestive health by helping to prevent constipation as well as help to protect against certain cancers. Fibre rich foods include whole grains, green veggies, cauliflower, figs, carrots, apples and pears. If you don’t already include these fibre rich foods in your diet, begin to introduce them slowly to prevent bloating and gas.

        3. Increase pro biotic foods.To improve the living conditions of the bacteria living in our gut, we want to increase the ratio of good to bad bacteria by eating a wide range of pro biotic foods.

        Include fermented foods in your diet such as a good quality organic yoghurt, sauerkraut, kombucha, fermented vegetables and kefir.

        Probiotics such as lactobacilli and bifidobacteria keep the lining of the colon healthy and may also improve gut motility and sensation.

        HINT: You can also include a good quality pro biotic in your diet. Look for a probiotic that delivers 20-50 billion live organisms per dose and contain a combination of different strains mentioned above.

         4. Manage your stress. Find ways to incorporate relaxation and stress management techniques into your routine every day. Know your limits and prioritise your to do list, practice yoga and mindfulness, and change your mindset when it comes to situations that cause you stress.

        Meditation has proven to have all kinds of lasting effects on the nervous, cardiovascular and digestive systems and can help you to be more effective and productive throughout the day. 

        5. Drink plenty of water. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Ensure you drink plenty of water, herbal teas and mineral water to give your liver and your gut a good rest and allow everything to pass through the digestive tract with ease. 

        Final tip: Eat as little processed and packaged food as possible and load up on fresh and vibrant foods to nourish your body.

          Have you been building up your gut flora? Do you have a leaky gut? We'd love to hear from you!  

            1 Response


            April 18, 2015

            I love this article so much! Thank you NSC! I’ve been wanting to get my gut back on track. This has been soo helpful. Putting probiotics on the shopping list as we speak. X

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