5 simple ways to optimize your gut health

Here’s how to maintain your health from top to toe, starting with your gut.

In recent years scientists have discovered just how important gut health really is. The GI system has an important role to play, transporting food from the mouth to the stomach, converting it into nutrients and stored energy and disposing of waste.

But it actually has a much bigger role to play in your overall health. Studies have found that apart from digestion, it impacts the whole body from immunity to chronic illness and even emotional stress.

Accredited Nutritionist and author, Jacqueline Alwill says scientific evidence shows that good overall health starts in the gut.

"When we focus on integrating food and nutrients to support the gut our health on all levels - physical, mental, and emotional - truly does thrive," she says.

So what's the key to good gut health? Keeping it simple. Some key small changes to your eating and lifestyle habits can have a lasting impact on your wellbeing.

Here’s how to give your gut and overall health a boost every day.

1. Start the day right

Include a good source of fibre in your breakfast. This is easier than you think with lots of options like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes. Incorporate just a few of these gut-loving foods into your morning meal to kick start your day.

2. Incorporate both pre and probiotic rich foods

Both of these work together to feed the good bacteria in the gut and ward off bad bacteria that can create digestive discomfort and disease. Try probiotic rich foods like yoghurt, miso, sauerkraut and kombucha and prebiotic rich foods like bran, barley, onion, garlic, leek, bananas and asparagus.

3. Rest and digest

Whilst you might want to stay active, when it comes to meal times it’s essential to slow down. Focusing on your meal and the practice of eating it is more important than you may realise.

While it may not always be possible, try to make the time to sit and eat your food, chewing it and not rushing so that your gut can digest your meal effectively.

4. Include fruit or vegetables and wholegrain

Aim to include just a small portion of these in every meal and you will start to notice the difference.

Over time, you can increase to about three handfuls of low starch vegetables and a fist sized portion of wholegrain or starchy vegetables as the foundation of each meal.

These will increase your daily intake of both soluble and insoluble dietary fibre and support the integrity of your gut.

5. Be consistent

You need to do the ground work in order to climb the mountain and the same goes for your gut. Don’t expect overnight results. Be committed to supporting your digestive system for the long-haul and nourish it with the gut-loving, fibre rich foods it needs to survive.

After some inspiration? Check out these gut healthy recipes.

Jacqueline has teamed up with Kellogg’s on their latest Fibre Fit campaign. Find out more, here.

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