Looking to get back to your healthy habits now that the silly season is (well and truly) behind us? A few simple steps can make huge inroads when it comes to getting your gut back to tip top shape. Read on for more…
Drinking adequate water throughout the day is critical for not only good gut health, but for maintaining overall health. Drinking water helps keep things moving through the digestive system to support regularity. Keep a water bottle handy at all times – and if you’re someone who struggles to remember to drink water, perhaps set a reminder on your phone to keep you sipping regularly. When it comes to water, bottoms up!
Swapping refined, processed grains for whole grain foods can make a huge difference when it comes to your gut health. The Australian guidelines recommend that Australian men consume 30-38g of fibre per day, and for women to consume 25g of fibre per day. Wholegrains are a rich and diverse source of fibre and the essential nutrients that are important for maintaining good health. Wholegrains are widely recognised as being superior in comparison to processed and refined grains, because they contain a number of protective nutrients that can help improve health and importantly, prevent diseases. The body digests wholegrains in their intact form more slowly, which can help to not only improve gut health, but also the health of your heart.
3. Fruits and Vegetables
Variety is the spice of life when it comes to good gut health. Eating a wide range of fruits and vegetables ensures that you’re including a whole range of vitamins, minerals and nutrients in your diet. Not to mention, mixing it up and making different selections when it comes to your fruit and vegetables each day is a great way to relieve the dreaded dinner doldrums. Think outside the box next time you’re meal planning and see what you come up with. Eggplant boats? Lettuce cup tacos? Grilled cheese in red capsicums? The options (and your creativity) can be endless.
Getting your body moving can make a big difference when it comes to the health of your gut (not to mention your overall, and importantly, mental health). This doesn’t mean you need to dedicate hours upon hours of your day to sweat it out in the gym. Rather, regular cardiovascular exercise such as walking, swimming or cycling – any exercise that increases your heart rate – can stimulate the muscles of the abdomen to move digestive waste through the body. Find an exercise you enjoy and make a date with yourself to get moving!
So, you’re eating a wide range of fruit and vegetables, you’ve upped your water intake and you’re exercising regularly. There’s one last, crucial piece to the gut reset gut – and that is rest. Rest is crucial for keeping your gut healthy. There is more and more evidence emerging daily about the importance of getting an adequate amount of good quality sleep when it comes to maintaining the health of your gut. A recent study from Nova Southeastern University highlights a correlation between poor quality sleep and a strong negative impact on gut health, and specifically the diversity of gut microbiome diversity. Diversity of the gut microbiota (the tiny microorganisms that live within the Gastro-Intestinal tract) is critical for maintaining good overall health – so getting enough good quality sleep is critical to protecting your gut health. Try introducing a healthy sleep routine to settle you into a great night’s slumber. Put your phone away an hour before bed, limit caffeine to no later than 2pm, and set your bedroom to be cool and dark. A good night’s sleep can make a huge difference to your gut, and overall, wellbeing.
So – there you have it. Simple steps to reset your gut for a happy, healthy year ahead.