Eat your gut healthy. Even if you’re the Serena Williams of gut health, there’s probably still more you can do to win a grand slam for your gut. And if you’re new to this then there are tonnes of easy ways to start improving your gut health through clever little food swaps.
Gut health food hacks
Variety is key to increase your chance of feeding each kind of gut bacteria their favourite nutrients. Plants are the epitome of good gut health foods. Scientists haven’t quite figured out all of our gut bacteria’s preferences so a healthy gut diet of at least 30 different types of plants a week means there will be something for everyone. A handy tip is to freeze fruit and veg so you can eat a bigger variety through the week. Even herbs, spices and different colours of grapes count!
Hit your daily 30g fibre target. This is totally achievable through making easy swaps. Look for food high in fibre or prebiotic fibre which can feed the good bacteria in your gut. A sandwich made with Genius bread can be as much as triple the fibre of a boring old standard sandwich. But be careful – going from zero to hero on fibre too quickly is not a bright idea! Slow but steady increases win the race. Gallons and gallons of water (okay maybe not actual gallons!) will reduce negative effects of too much fibre too fast. You can read up on all fibre has to offer here.
Often the first type of food people think of for a gut health diet is fermented foods. And no – you don’t need to force down that infamous fermented herring Surstromming, unless that’s your thing then of course! There’s loads of tasty fermented foods you might already be eating or that you can add to your meals. Things like sauerkraut, kimchi, miso and kombucha, all with live bacteria called probiotics. Research has shown that countries where this is popular tend to have better gut health.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Where you can, swap to extra virgin olive oil over other fats to help your gut. This type of oil has the highest number of friendly polyphenols and these enhance the growth of good bacteria while inhibiting the growth of the bad bacteria. Not bad for a fat, eh?
A few to avoid for a healthy gut diet
A high sugar diet is not going to help you improve your gut health as it increases the amount of bad bacteria in your gut. Inflammation in the body has been linked to a sugary diet and it is an irritant to the gut. It may be wise to reduce the sugar you are eating as part of a gut healing diet.
This doesn’t have to be a goodbye forever, more of a let’s catch up once in a while kind of friendship. Fried foods are harder for your gut to digest and may even be an evil conspirator to the growth of harmful gut bacteria.
For some people a gluten free diet is critical, for example those with coeliac disease where gluten is a trigger to the immune system telling it to attack the small intestine. In this case, even the smallest amount of gluten could cause very serious consequences. Others eat gluten free to reduce the symptoms of gluten sensitivity, like bloating. If you want to know more about coeliac disease or gluten sensitivity head over here.