In these unprecedented times with the Coronavirus Pandemic, it would be great to think we could all focus on how we each can protect ourselves and improve our own health to create robust immune systems. Having good gut Health and strong Immune function can fight off not just Coronavirsu but normal everyday colds and cases of flu as well as other infections.
I’m not sure if you know this but the gut is one of the biggest organs in the body. Your gut health and the trillions of microbes that live within your gut have a significant impact on our overall health and Immune system.
Are you often sick, suffer from an autoimmune condition or have allergies? Did you know that 70% of our immune system lays along our digestive tract? Good Gut health is key.
Every week I have fascinating conversations with my clients on Poo, Bowel movements and Flatulence. We don’t find it one bit embarrassing because its such an important issue that a lot of my client suffers from as well as allergies, IBS, weak immune systems and other gut issues, so much more awareness is needed.
There is so much conflicting information around what is actually the correct foods to eat to improve your gut health. Believe it or not, the important issue is what you can include in your diet NOT what you have to exclude or restrict.
Here are my top tips to keep your gut healthy
Eat more plant foods. For instance, every week try and increase veggies and salads and by setting yourself a goal of eating 30 different plant-based foods each week. I find that by adding salads and veggies to my main meals I can easily hit that number.
Increase in Fibre. I find that my clients significantly lack fibre in their diets particularly if they consume a lot of processed or highly refined foods. Fibre is the backbone of plant-based foods. Including fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds feed our bacteria because they produce hormones, different vitamins and communicate with our brain. Human cells cannot digest dietary fibre – its sole purpose is actually to feed the bacteria living in our gut.
Did you know that just 8g of Fibre per day can lower your risk of heart disease by 19%, type 2 diabetes by 15% and the risk of colon cancer by 8%.
Try adding a teaspoon of mixed seeds to your yoghurt or eggs or porridge in the morning.
Myths surrounding Gut Health
Probiotics can do the job!
Popping a Pricey Probiotic is unlikely to be the magic bullet to your gut problems. I suggest that if your health is generally good then there is no real benefit to taking probiotics. The Jury is still out on the effectiveness of probiotics and more research is required. However, whilst awaiting the European Food Safety Authority to give the nod to health claims linked to probiotics they can help with IBS symptoms and anti-biotic-associated diarrhoea. Probiotics strains have different levels of effectiveness depending on your specific health issues so it’s important to get the correct bacteria strain to your specific symptoms. Speak to your dietician or specialist Pharmacist.
Eliminate Gluten and Dairy
Exclusion over inclusion is rarely the answer, in fact, cutting food groups out of your diet can actually impact gut Microbes and decrease their diversity which can lead to nutritional deficiencies. Unless you have a diagnosed condition such as Coeliac disease or lactose intolerance there is no need to remove these from your diet.
Specialist ‘Gut Supporting’ products
It’s in this area where we see all the Pseudoscientific crap and Charlatans peddling their wares looking to make a quick buck. Stay clear. The simple thing to do is to include a variety of fruits, veggies, legumes beans and pulses in your diet.
Its a one size fits all
You are unique, so is your gut. What works for one, may not work for another. According to Dr Simon Glasford, professor of Pharmaceutics at UCL, the difficulty lies largely with the fact that ‘nobody knows what a “normal” microbiome should look like, and the diversity of gut bacteria will always vary from person to person’. Always take advise from trained Dietician or Pharmacist as some treatments might actively make things worse.
Remember its as much about inclusion as exclusion when it comes to feeding your gut microbes. Look at the colour of your edit, is it beige? think about adding colour and volume by adding high fibre fruits and veggies.
To get an instant high fibre, highly nutritious and filling meal plan download my 7-day Jumpstart program or my 10 days Fat Loss Kickstart. They include ideal family-friendly meals that are calorie and macro counted for anyone looking to eat a highly nutritious, high fibre and nutrient-dense diet.