I know that I am not alone in my love for food. Since the beginning of time, humans have congregated around food in exactly the same way we congregate for stories, or family. But in our modern world, food is easier to obtain and tastier than ever.
Burgers, pizza, chicken wings, pasta, bread, basically every single iteration of humanity’s most delicious inventions are now available – affordably – by delivery or from a drive-thru window, and sometimes even available 24/7.
And although we are free to feast on whichever tasty treat we desire, there is one part of our body that must deal with what we ingest: The gut.
Well, not one part, really. The gut consists of various parts, organs, and living creatures that all attribute to our health.
What is the gut?
In principle the gut is simple, it is our gastrointestinal tract; one long tube that runs from our mouth to our rectum and processes all our food intake.
In theory, it is a lot more complex. It includes the mouth, throat, small intestine, large intestine, colon, and rectum. Each of these is its own organ with intricate workings, sections, and processes. The gut also has an amazing microbiome that is formed out of various living organisms like bacteria, fungi, cells, and even viruses. All of which help with food and nutrient breakdown.
Do you have an unhealthy gut? This is how you know:
Here is what you will be able to do to enhance your gut health:
1. Lower your stress levels
Chronically elevated levels of stress are hard on your whole body, including your gut. Some ways to lower stress may include meditation, walking, getting a massage, spending time with friends or family, diffusing essential oils, decreasing caffeine intake, laughing, yoga, or having a pet.
2. Get enough sleep
Not getting enough or sufficient quality of sleep can have serious impacts on your gut health, which may successively contribute to more sleep issues. Try and prioritize getting access to at least 7–8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. Your doctor is also able to help if you have got trouble sleeping.
3. Eat slowly
Chewing your food thoroughly and eating your meals slowly can help promote full digestion and absorption of nutrients. This could facilitate an improved, healthy gut and reduce digestive discomfort.
4. Stay hydrated
Drinking lots of water has been shown to possess a beneficial effect on the mucosal lining of the intestines, and the fine bacteria within the gut. Staying hydrated could be a simple way to promote a healthy gut.
5. Check for food intolerances
If you have symptoms like cramping, bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, rashes, nausea, fatigue, and/or acid reflux, you might have a food intolerance. Try eliminating common ‘trigger foods’ to determine if your symptoms improve. You will see a positive change in your digestive health by changing your eating habits and avoiding ‘trigger foods’.
6. Change your diet
Reducing the number of processed, high-sugar, and high-fat foods that you eat can contribute to better gut health. Additionally, eating lots of plant-based foods and lean protein can positively impact your gut. A diet high in fibre has been shown to contribute tremendously to a healthy gut microbiome. So, trust your gut, listen to what it tells you and always keep in mind that the gut can be seen as one large system that is crucial to your health.