Gut health, it’s a thing and so it should be. The gut has an amazing impact on overall health, from how well we digest food, to our mood and mental health. For example, bacteria in our gut can break down dietary fibre into “short-chain fatty acids” (trips off the tongue, doesn’t it?) which are essential for keeping our intestines healthy. Gut bacteria not only break down compounds but they can also produce B vitamins and vitamin K. The composition of the human gut microbiota changes with time and diet, highlighting how important it is to feed your gut microbiota properly. In short, be good to your gut and it will be good for you! And there are about 100 trillion reasons why (which, ironically are approximately the number of microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract of a human).
Listen to your gut
Now you know what the gut does, you’ll know why we need to keep it healthy. It’s important to make sure we get enough fibre in our diet to help feed our gut bacteria. The large intestine specifically needs “prebiotic fibre”, which can be found in foods like:
Oats nutrition, barley, wheat bran
Vegetables- asparagus, leek, onions, garlic, artichoke, green leafy veg
Fruit - apples (pectin), unripe bananas, nectarines, watermelon, dried fruit
Cashew, pistachio nuts
Starchy carbohydrates that have been cooked and left to cool - potatoes/rice/pasta.
Unsurprisingly, too many processed foods that are high in sugar, poor-quality fats and alcohol may have negative effects on our gut bacteria.
Be gut mindful
There are other lifestyle factors, such as stress, that can influence our gut bacteria. We know the gut and the brain talk to each other via the vagal nerve but it’s important to note that they don’t always like what the other has to say. Stress can alter the composition of bacteria in your gut and not for the better, so practices like mindfulness and meditation can help maintain the balance.
Exercise your gut
Exercise is positive for gut health as well as mental health, and it’s recommended that you do at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day, if you can. Things like smoking have adverse effects on gut bacteria, which is just another reason to never give up on giving up. While we’re still learning about the gut, we do know that keeping active, managing stress and following a healthy diet can help to take care of our gut health and in turn, general health too. In our gut we trust, then.
Swisse Me & gut health
We’ve made sure we have included plenty of gut-friendly prebiotic fibre in our ranges - like our Start Me healthy filling snacks breakfast blend, Coffee - made with 4 fruits and natural yoghurt. Or Cocoa, blended with fruits and grains for all those lovely oats benefits. Have a try, your gut will thank you for it!