Gut problems are a very 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 and symptoms.
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.
– 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
– Avoid eating when stressed, anxious or angry, as it’s harder for your stomach to break down and metabolise food
– Do your best to manage stress levels. Constant and underlying stress is one of the biggest reasons why women are bloated. Stress impacts the way the gut functions and plays havoc with hormones, both leading to gut-related issues
– Avoid foods that you react to, or may have sensitivities to,. If you’re unsure what these are, work with a trusted gut health practitioner to help you identify.
– Limit the stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol, refined sugar, and recreational drugs that will adversely affect digestive function and kill 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 mentioned that you could 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.
• Fermented foods to boost natural probiotic (good bacteria) levels. This includes foods like kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and tempeh
• Organic / spray – free vegetables and fruits, 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 that soothe digestive upset and 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 filtered 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 private practice 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 searching for gut healthy recipes, have a look at 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
Please remember: that there is always an opportunity to heal your gut health issues, you should not put up with discomfort and unease. The sooner you action it, the better your overall health will be.
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.