How to Improve your Gut Health

Gut problems are a common complaint, and symptoms are varied and wide, just like the causes.

Symptoms can include gas and bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, nausea, or more chronic conditions such as IBS, heartburn, ulcers, autoimmune and bowel diseases. Nutrition deficiencies, low digestive enzymes, bacterial overgrowth, parasites, infections, hormone imbalances, stress and food sensitives can all contribute to gut issues.

Aside from gut pain and discomfort, the big picture of why we need a healthy gut is that it’s essential for overall health. It’s the hub where our food is metabolised, the place where a bulk of our immune system resides and where it all happens to keep us thriving from top to toe.

If we ignore unwanted gut symptoms and don’t action or treat an unhealthy gut, symptoms will only get worse and can manifest as other unwanted symptoms throughout the body.

Let’s look at some of the small lifestyle changes we can action to ease discomfort and improve overall gut health:

– Don’t overeat. This puts a strain on your digestive system

– Balance your meals with plenty of plants, quality oils and proteins and wholesome grains to ensure adequate nutrients and limit the chance of deficiencies

– Don’t rush. Take your time to eat slowly and chew thoroughly. If you race through your food, your body won’t have time to secrete the digestive enzymes needed to break down and
metabolise food

– Avoid eating when stressed, anxious or angry, as it’s harder for your stomach to break down and metabolise food

– Avoid foods that you react to, and may have sensitivities to, such as wheat, dairy or citrus fruits

– Limit the stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol, refined sugar, and recreational drugs that will adversely affect digestive function and beneficial gut bacteria

– Give your gut a chance to repair and recover by fasting for at least 12 hours, every night

Do you see anything in that list that you can begin to action?

One of the easiest and most effective ways to look after your gut is to include certain foods and natural remedies in your routine, on a regular basis. Foods and natural remedies that promote gut health include: s

• Fermented foods to boost natural probiotic (good bacteria) levels. This includes foods like kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and tempeh

• Yoghurt containing live probiotics such as acidophilus and bifidus can also be a great addition

• Organic / spray – free vegetables providing essential nutrients & prebiotics (food for good bacteria), without pesticides

• Quality protein sources such as grass – fed organic meats, bone broths, gelatin, wild fish, tempeh, prepared legumes, raw nuts, nut butters and seeds that nourish the gut and provide
essential nutrients

• Whole grains such as brown rice, rye, oats, millet, quinoa, amaranth and traditional sourdough bread for essential nutrients and prebiotics

• Healthy oils such as extra virgin olive oil, extra virgin coconut oil, olives, avocado, unsalted raw nuts and seeds for essential nutrients and microbiome health

• Herbs and herbal teas such as peppermint, chamomile, ginger, lemon, fennel and dandelion to aid digestion

• Bitter foods, such as cruciferous vegetables and dandelion greens that propel digestive enzymes to enhance the digestive processes

• Begin the day with lemon juice in a glass of warm water and try apple cider vinegar, slippery elm or digestive enzymes before meals to enhance digestive process

• Drink water, it helps the gut with elimination and optimum digestive health. Drink at least 1 glass every 2 waking hours. Fresh vegetable juices also help keep you hydrated.

Everyone is different and will display unique gut-related symptoms, based on their lifestyle and genetics. If you’re wanting more personalised gut health advice, my clinic offers nutrition consultations with solutions that suit your lifestyle, and functional testing that can identify exactly where your symptoms stem from, and the most effective treatments for fast and sustainable recovery. Contact us HERE

If you’re looking for gut healthy recipe inspiration, check out my popular Gut Health Recipe Pack with 40 delicious and easy to make recipes that are tailored to improving gut health, with 2 weeks of meal plans and 2 shopping lists. You can find it HERE

Remember that there is always an opportunity for you to heal your gut health issues. You don’t need to put up with discomfort and unease. The sooner you action it, the better.

Take good care,
Tracie

Tracie Connor is an Accredited Nutritionist specialising in gut health, weight management, stress management, hormone health and genetics (nutrigenomics). 

Based in Brisbane, offering services nation-wide online. 

Catch her regularly featured in the Sydney Morning Herald, Women’s Health & Fitness Magazine, Huffington Post and on ABC Radio

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