By now you know that your gut is queen with comes to overall health and wellness.
But after winter indulgences, sometimes it's harder to get our digestion back on the right path. So Health Bird spoke to Amy Jordan, a nutritionist at BioCeuticals, and she offered these top five tips to ensure your insides are always doing your outsides a favour. Follow Amy's tips, not only for inner beauty, but for glowing skin, happier mood, more restful sleep and increased concentration.
1. Cut down on caffeine
A tough one for most of us, but an excess of caffeine may cause an imbalance in the gut by producing too much stomach acid. Coffee has been known to exacerbate the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) – if you're frequenting your local cafe or Nespresso machine more than once a day, try cutting back to one per day and see if this improves your bloating. If you’re struggling with fatigue, instead of reaching for a jolt of java, ditch social media from the bedroom, and instead see your bed as a place of sleep and sex only.
2. Go herbal
Swap out coffee for herbal tea. There are a number of herbal teas that can do wonders for your gut, particularly if you’re feeling bloated and irritated. Chamomile, peppermint and liqorice root teas all help to reduce bloating and gas, and support the digestive process.
3. Drink more water
Our body is more than 60% water, and the gut actually needs this water to keep bacteria and waste travelling through the digestive system, without experiencing unpleasant side effects such as constipation and bloating. While sugary drinks such as soft drinks are accessible and cheap, resist the urge to hydrate with these – all they do is feed the ‘bad’ gut bacteria in the bowel, which is exactly what you don’t want!
4. Manage stress
Did you know that your digestion is controlled by your entire nervous system?
When stress activates your ‘fight or flight’ responses in your nervous system, your digestive process can be halted and can exacerbate other gastrointestinal issues. Adopt a practice like yoga or meditation. Even taking 10 simple, deep breaths a day can help to lower your stress levels by relaxing your body and mind.
5. Incorporate probiotics
If you’ve been on antibiotics throughout winter, or if your immune system has taken a bit of a hit, you may be experiencing an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in your gut. If the bad bacteria continues to be present in larger proportions your body may struggle to fight off viruses and gastrointestinal upsets.
The good news is, there are plenty of probiotic rich foods that you can add to your daily diet with very little fuss. Yoghurt, fermented vegetables (like kimchi and sauerkraut) and tempeh are just some of these sources. A probiotic rich diet will help ease the imbalance of good and bad bacteria in your gut. If you’re struggling to include probiotic foods in your diet, consider speaking to a healthcare practitioner about adding a high quality, multistrain probiotic supplement to your daily routine. Specific probiotic strains have been shown to benefit in different areas. For example, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus plantarum and Bifidobacterium breve may provide temporary symptomatic relief of medically diagnosed irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Additionally, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium breve and Streptococcus thermophilus may provide temporary relief of diarrhoea.
Incorporating one, or preferably all, of this tips will have you well on the way to a healthy gut. A healthy gut makes a happy life!
For more strategies on how to improve your gut health, visit http://www.bioceuticals.com.au/education/articles