The power of gut health

I am more and more convinced of the enormous value to our health of making sure our gut is healthy and digestion is functioning well. So I asked Nutritional Therapist Anna Mapson from Goodness Me Nutrition to share some of her wisdom with me, and you.

Inside our gut we have over 100 trillion bugs, collectively known as a gut microbiome. If this collection of bacteria, fungi, parasites and other bugs doesn’t work well, then we can see all sort of issues. 

These bugs have lots of functions, we really need them! They help us digest our food by breaking down indigestible plant fibres. The bacteria also support creation of serotonin, our happy hormone, and they make vitamins like B vitamins and vitamin K. 

The thyroid, hormones, immune system are all linked to gut health, so it’s important to get microbes that work with us, not against us. 

How do I know if I have poor gut health? 

If we have digestive issues we naturally want to address our diet, and take a look and how the whole digestive tract is functioning. But there are other signs you may have gut health issues which aren’t as obviously linked. For example, are you always getting ill, or struggling to lose weight? Do you have skin issues or problems with low mood? These can all be linked to gut health. 

How to improve your gut health

Over the years as a human race we’ve lost many species of gut bacteria, and we want a diverse collection of bugs because this is associated with better health. 

So eating a varied diet, full of plants will help to create the fight kinds of food for a diverse set of bugs. See if you can eat 30 different foods a week. 

My top tips for gut health:

  • Eat whole foods – fresh vegetables, fruit, vegetable sources of fats and proteins.

  • Feed the bugs with fibre – lots of pulses, wholegrains, vegetables every day

  • Fast for 12 hours overnight – this is associated with better digestion, and stops late night snacking. 

  • Exercise – people who regularly exercise have microbes that are more associated with better health. Even one exercise session can help change the bacteria. 

I run a 7 Day online Gut Reset which gives you a week’s worth of meal plans and the principles of good digestion so you can eat well into the future. There are daily mini videos to help you learn all the basics about gut health, with tasty gut healthy recipes.

You can find Anna sharing more of her wisdom on her website as well as the social media links below.

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Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash