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By Chloe Louise
The gut is increasingly becoming a hot topic in the health world… and for good reason.
Once upon a time, we believed the gut was solely for digesting food, but we now know there’s more to the story. Your gut is home to trillions of microbial cells, such as bacteria. Collectively, these cells make up our ‘gut bugs’ or ‘gut microbiome’. Fun fact: there are as many bacterial cells in your gut microbiome as there are human cells in your entire body.
In the human body, the gut is responsible for regulating immunity, detoxification, brain health, skin health and nutrient absorption. So basically, your gut health affects your energy, mood, sleep, metabolism, cognition, memory, skin health, stress response, and the list goes on and on.
Pretty clever, hey! This is why we often hear the gut referred to as ‘the second brain’. The good news is; there are plenty of ways to support good gut health.
So here are my top five tips for a happy and healthy gut. These are simple, holistic self-care tools that you can implement right away! Because if you look after your gut, your gut will look after you.
1. Eat the rainbow
Research shows that a healthy gut requires a diet rich in whole-food, plant-based goodness. I’m talking about a variety of colourful fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices. The more diverse your diet, the more diverse your gut microbiome will be. Whole foods are high in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fibre and anti-inflammatory compounds. Plus, when we fill up on nutritious whole foods, we naturally reduce our intake of ultra-processed foods that damage the gut and increase the risk of chronic disease.
2. Change the way you eat
We know the gut is impacted by what we eat, but did you know the gut is impacted by how we eat? Eating in a relaxed state activates our ‘rest and digest’ nervous system. This means we release more digestive juices, we absorb more nutrients and we experience fewer sore tummies!
3. Try prebiotics and probiotics
Prebiotics are specialised plant fibres that feed and fuel your healthy gut bacteria. Examples include oats, asparagus, garlic, leeks, onions, banana, apple, Jerusalem artichokes, chicory root and soybeans. Probiotics are live microorganisms that boost the number of beneficial bacteria found in the gut. Examples include yoghurt, sauerkraut, kefir, miso, kimchi, tempeh, natto, sourdough bread, pickled vegetables and kombucha.
4. Drink plenty of water
Adequate hydration is important to keep things flowing. Water regulates our bowels and flushes out toxins from the digestive tract for a happy gut.
My recommendations are to:
5. Practice stress management
I think we could all do with a bit of this! Stress can negatively affect the diversity and balance of your good gut bugs. Think of your favourite self-care practices and make time for them daily. You could try reading, journalling, meditating, drawing, cooking, dancing or socialising. I personally love spending time in nature and moving my body!
Remember, there’s no ‘quick fix’ or ‘magic bullet’ when it comes to gut health. But with time, these simple daily practices can become sustainable, lifelong habits. And trust me, it’ll be well worth it.
If you are personally struggling with gut health or believe you may have an underlying issue, please seek help from a healthcare professional. Good gut health can positively change your life in more ways than one.
Stay nourished and love your guts,
Chloe Louise Nutritionist
Chloe Worthington is a Clinical Nutritionist passionate about gut health and mental well-being. She is the founder of Chloe Louise Nutritionist, an online clinic guiding people to find balance, regain their energy and feel well. Chloe began studying nutrition after struggling with her relationship with food. She is currently undertaking a Master of Mental Health to expand her clinical knowledge and explore the power of food as nourishment for the body and the mind. Outside the clinic, Chloe enjoys daily yoga, walking in nature and cooking colourful meals! To see how easily Chloe creates delicious, nutritious meals and lifestyle tips, visit https://innerformhealth.com/
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