Your gut is the central hub of your entire body’s wellbeing and poor gut health can lead to chronic conditions and symptoms you wouldn't ordinarily expect.
An imbalance of gut bacteria is the primary cause of poor gut health. Whether this is from the lack of enzymes being produced in your stomach which break down foods, a mineral deficiency in your diet which affects the release these enzymes, or a simple intolerance to certain foods, all of these issues can result in irritation and inflammation in your gut.
Once this imbalance is in full swing it can systematically take over and control the health of your gut, and you can then begin to experience symptoms such as allergies, diarrhoea, bloating, sleepiness, mood swings, hormone imbalance, and poor immunity to common colds and flu. Even more severe illnesses such as Crohn’s disease and Irritable Bowl Syndrome (IBS) can be triggered or exacerbated by poor gut health.
This month, I’m sharing with you my top five ways to help heal and soothe your gut naturally - simply with a few changes to your diet.
Follow these tips and you’ll be surprised with the difference to how you feel inside, as well as your energy levels and vitality.
These are a natural antibiotic bacteria found in your digestive tract which help with the general break down of foods. A lack of these decrease the effectiveness of food breakdown, causing digestive disorders. Luckily, we can ingest probiotics by eating certain foods such as fermented foods - which are loaded with probiotics. The fermentation process of a food is when natural bacteria feeds on the sugars and starch in the food, preserving it and creating beneficial enzymes, making the food easier to digest and are great for your gut. Some of these foods include yogurt, kefir, kimchi or sauerkraut. Some people with histamine intolerance can react to fermented foods so it’s best to check with your health care provider if you think this could be the case for you.
2. Real foods
Real foods are naturally unprocessed foods, like vegetables and fruits, which stay soft in the digestive tract. They contain few chemicals - especially if you are buying organic - and can help to aid a healthy digestion. In particular, water dense vegetables, such as zucchini, avocados and cucumbers, can dramatically help ease irritation within the gut as they contain fibres that absorb water.
3. Natural anti-inflammatories
As poor gut health can contribute to inflammation within the gut wall, it’s important to try and reduce this inflammation to repair and restore. Many foods are natural anti-inflammatories, including turmeric, ginger, cayenne, cinnamon, pepper, garlic and cloves. Adding more of these spices to your diet will naturally ease the inflammation within your gut.
Certain foods are hard for people to digest, causing irritation within the gut and resulting in bloating and lower abdominal pain, as well as drowsiness. Wheat is a common culprit, consumed in everything from biscuits, bread, cereals, pasta and pastries. Cutting out these foods could lead to a healthier gut.
This acid-forming substance can exacerbate the growth of bad bacteria within your gut, leading to inflammation and irritation. Avoiding processed or refined sugar in your diet can help reduce this risk.
These may seem like big changes, but really it’s as simple as having yoghurt for breakfast with fresh fruit instead of processed cereals, or adding turmeric to scrambled eggs for an anti-inflammatory, protein-packed meal. Swapping refined sugar for a natural alternative such as raw honey, and adding more vegetables into your daily diet will also help. Also, try using zucchini to make spaghetti instead of pasta - an easy substitute which is instantly increasing your mineral intake and easing any digestive issues.
This soothing hot drink can be swapped with your morning cup of tea so you can start your day with a happy tummy, or enjoyed at night for a comforting sleep.
- 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) cashew milk or milk of choice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- pinch of vanilla powder
- pinch of freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 tsp honey or 6 drops stevia or sweetener of choice
- Heat the cashew milk in a small saucepan over medium heat for 2–3 minutes or until just warmed. Add the spices, ginger, vanilla and pepper, then stir to remove any lumps.
- Remove from the heat and pour through a fine sieve to remove the grated ginger. Add the honey or stevia and enjoy warm.