The father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, wrote that “all disease begins in the gut”, and modern medicine is increasingly coming around to this way of thinking.
Having suffered from IBS for most of my adult life, I have spent many years trying to get to the bottom of what is a debilitating and often embarrassing condition.
Having tried everything from anti-depressants to over-the-counter remedies, advice on the topic has often been hard to come by, and like many others I have frequently had to suffer in silence, using a process of trial and error to ease the symptoms of this painful problem.[/vc_column_text]
Here are my top tips to ensure a happier gut and a healthier you.
1) Eat your fruit and veg:
The bacteria in our gut thrive off good quality fruit and veg, so ensure you include a wide range in your diet. Aim to eat at least 20 different types of fruit and vegetables each week, alongside good quality meat and fish, and extra virgin olive oil. If you struggle with getting enough veg, then stews or casseroles are great ways to increase your veg count and can be made relatively cheaply.
2) Embrace fermented foods:
Fermented foods are a fantastic source of probiotics which help keep our digestive system in good health. Try adding sauerkraut or kimchi to your diet, or why not try kefir, a type of fermented milk popular in Eastern Europe which can be added to smoothies. If you aren’t keen on kefir’s slightly sour taste or are trying to avoid dairy, then why not try making your own coconut milk kefir?
3) Cut the stimulants:
As a society we live off caffeine, sugar and alcohol, all of which are detrimental to gut health. Cut these out of your diet as much as possible, or if you can’t cut them out entirely, at least reduce your intake. Don’t substitute drinks with decaf versions, as these are often heavily processed. If you still crave your daily cup of tea, why not try Redbush Earl Grey – all the flavour but none of the caffeine! And if you can’t completely kick the sweet stuff, use a good quality honey instead of sugar.
4) Food prep is your friend:
As mentioned, your gut thrives off ‘real’ food, so avoiding processed foods is keyto destressing your gut. If you struggle to get good quality food on the go, meal prepping is your new best friend. Make a batch of casserole at the start of the week and stick it in Tupperware ready to go each day, and whip up a batch of tasty coconut bliss balls to stop you reaching for those unhealthy mid-afternoon snacks.
5) Mindful Eating:
Good digestion starts in the mouth, so try extending the principles of mindfulness to eating; chew each mouthful at least 20 times, properly savour the taste, and eat
in a quiet, calm environment. You’ll find you end up eating less and enjoying it more.
Follow these steps and you’ll be on your way to a healthy gut in no time!
Feature written by Joanna Betts
Joanna is renowned fitness trainer and athlete.