I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: Gut Health is the key to good health. Your body reacts to whatever is going on in the gut and when you don’t look after it, it can present itself in many ways such as leaky gut, candida overgrowth, IBS and autoimmune disease.
All sorts of things can effect gut health – from stress, to the food we eat. We really want to be continuously doing things to support it. Remember, it’s what we do consistently over time that counts! I look at it as health insurance.
The best part is that beginning to take care of your gut is easy. Here are my top 5 tips on how to start improving your gut health:
1. Chronic Stress
As mentioned, stress can take its toll on gut health. In fact, stress takes its toll on a lot of things! When we’re stressed out frequently, often it sends our body into fight or flight mode. If we go into F&F mode too often, we can end up suffering from burnout! Not only this, but the gut is especially vulnerable to chronic stress which can result in changes to our gut wall lining and gut permeability – both key elements in leaky gut! Finding ways to reduce your stress is important for not just your gut health, but overall health in general.
2. Fermented Foods
So – the gut is made up of a powerhouse of microbiome; a collection of bacteria, fungi, protists, archaea, and viruses. These microbiome need to be maintained. One of the best ways to get a healthy dose of good bacteria is through fermented, probiotic foods. The microflora that lives in fermented foods creates a protective lining in the intestines and shields it against pathogenic factors, such as salmonella and E.coli. 80 percent of our immune system is also located in our gut so fermented foods lead to an increase of antibodies and a stronger immune system too! Great fermented foods are living sauerkraut, kimchi and yoghurt (I personally go for Coconut Yoghurt).
3. Fermented Drinks
Much like fermented foods, there are also great sources of probiotics in fermented drinks! Sometimes this is a little easier than eating a group of foods but my happy medium is a mixture of the two. My favourite fermented drinks are kombucha and coconut kefir. Be wary of both of these as when consumed in high amounts, you may end up running to the toilet… if you catch my drift! I personally make kombucha at home – I’m still working on a guide for this one. Unfortunately most of the brands on the market have too much sugar for my liking so when made at home I can get away with a lot less sugar and a longer ferment to ensure it’s all eaten up. My favourite store bought kombucha is by Remedy, however this isn’t super readily available in NZ like it is Australia (it’s only in Auckland) so I go for Daily Organics if I can while I’m out. There’s only really one coconut kefir brand on the market and this is The Kefir Company which is available in loads of places.
4. Bone Broth
Bone broth is a great tool for sealing up the gut lining.
As I mentioned earlier, one common symptom of poor gut health is leaky gut. So what is leaky gut? Well your gut lining is filled with tonnes of small holes that allow specific substances to part through. When we abuse our gut through a multitude of different ways, these holes increase in size and your gut begins to leak proteins like gluten as well as bad bacteria and undigested food particles. This leads to increased inflammation, digestive issues and onto autoimmune conditions. Toxic waste can also leak from the inside of your intestinal wall into your bloodstream causing an immune reaction.
So why is bone broth good? As I mentioned, it helps to seal that gut lining up. Bone Broth is full of healing compounds like collagen, proline, glycine and glutamine. Not only are these great for sealing up the gut lining, but it supports the growth of probiotics, supports healthy inflammation levels in the digestive tract and also fights food sensitivities too!
Sometimes we don’t have the time to make things like bone broth, which is where powerful supplements like collagen come into play. Since I have such a busy lifestyle with loads of travel involved, I choose to take a high quality Marine Collagen supplement so that I’m able to get a lot of these gut health benefits at all times. I personally use Renew+ by Ora Pure which is a local kiwi company I love. PLUS they give me 15% off for all of my followers if you use ELORA at the checkout. So if you don’t like the idea of making bone broth or the idea of drinking it, this fruity pineapple drink is definitely your best bet for getting those benefits. It’s also the reason my nails and hair are so long and strong (especially for someone with dyed blonde hair)!
I talk about probiotics over on The Shrinking Violet Facebook all the time. Probiotics are the bacteria that line your digestive tract and help support your body’s ability to absorb nutrients and fight off infection. Not only are probiotics essential for good gut health, but they also support a healthy immune system and healthy skin!
Probiotics are probably my number one must have supplement for anyone. If you’re someone who suspects poor gut health then after addressing your diet, then a probiotic supplement is the next thing I would be starting.
Here are some of the probiotic killers that can prevent your body from getting all of the probiotic benefits it needs:
- Prescription antibiotics
- GMO foods
- Emotional stress
- Chemicals and medications
So by avoiding the above, we can give our body the best possibility at improving our gut flora balance. I am an advocate for both ensuring you get a mix of probiotic foods and a high quality supplement. It’s important to find an excellent probiotic that works for you. We stock my favourite one over on the 10 Week Challenge Store which is great because it’s dairy free. Most common probiotics are made from dairy since dairy (such as yoghurt) is a great source of probiotics however for those of you sensitive to dairy such as myself, this probiotic is a lifesaver.
So there you have it – my top tips for getting better gut health. I hope I have inspired you to start taking care of your gut!