Everything you need to know about gut health
The term ‘go with your gut’ has never been more relevant. Because, you’ve no doubt noticed that more and more people are starting to talk about the importance of gut health to your overall health and wellbeing. Unsurprisingly, this is for good reason, especially as we start to get older.
While appearance is often one of the first things we think about, what we should remember is that our body’s ageing really begins on the inside. Our microbiome – or the ecosystem of trillions of microbes that live in our body – is what we refer to when we talk about our gut, and our gut health.
The bacteria in our gut are responsible for helping to digest foods so we can access all the nutrients in them. Because we can’t access the available nutrients without food being broken down, our large intestine works to break down indigestible components like fibre, so we can get all the good stuff our bodies need. Probiotics are live bacteria that you can include in your diet through certain foods to help your digestive system stay happy and healthy.
So, why do we need to think about gut health even more as we get older?
As we get older, our gut microbiome changes and becomes less diverse. This can be because of a number of things – from antibiotics we might be taking, to our hygiene habits. Are you eating a lot of processed foods? Do you have a stressful or sedentary lifestyle? These all contribute to a less diverse gut microbiome, which means there is more opportunity for bad bacteria to take over and cause various diseases – including things like urinary tract infections or pneumonia.
Six most important reasons you should care about your gut health
- It’ll keep your immune system strong
- A healthy gut means a healthy brain
- Help with detoxification of your body
- Boosting your memory retention
- Give your skin a youthful glow
- Get an energy boost
By absorbing nutrients from the healthy foods in your diet, probiotics will help make sure you’re getting all those nutrients, vitamins and minerals that you really need to give you a better dose of energy. Whether you’ve had a long day at the office or you’ve been running around after grandkids, everyone needs a bit more pep in their step to get through the day!
Simple ways to keep your gut healthy
To keep our gut healthy doesn’t have to mean a diet overhaul. Just like we shouldn’t be getting caught up in the idea of ‘superfoods’, we also don’t need to overthink our diet to keep our gut healthy. Dr Michael Mosley, author of The Clever Guts Diet says it’s just about knowing the regular foods that are nutrient-packed and tasty.
The biggest thing to keep in mind is switching from a diet full of sugar and processed food to one that is higher in fibre. There are also plenty of foods that might already make a regular occurrence in your diet; you might just need to up the intake because they’re particularly good for your gut.
Four foods that keep your gut happy (that you’re probably eating!)
- Apple cider vinegar
Chickpeas are easy to introduce as a staple into your diet – from whipping up your own homemade hummus to adding them to curries or toasting them to add to salads, the options are endless! Because of the high fibre content in chickpeas, they’re an ideal way to help your digestive system so you stay regular – if you know what we mean! As well as maintaining healthy bowel movements, chickpeas are full of iron, phosphate, calcium and magnesium to help keep your bones strong.
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