The health of the digestive system says a lot about the health of the body on the whole, and I believe restoring gut health is the first step in achieving optimum health. And in saying that, it astounds me that almost every patient I see would describe some sort of digestive symptoms or dysfunction. Because of this, I have a burning passion for all things gut health, and over the years have compiled some key principals towards gaining healthy gut function which I share with you below.
Supplements When and how to use specific supplements to enhance/treat gut issues
TIPS for boosting fibre:
BREAKFAST – when having a smoothie add some veggies; spinach, cucumber, herbs for example. If having eggs also ensure there are some veggies alongside, asparagus, spinach, tomato for example. If having some porridge, boost it with some crushed nuts and seeds; almonds, pumpkin seeds, LSA or chia seeds for example.
LUNCH – If having meat and salad, ensure 50 – 70% of the plate is salad, and the meat serve is just the size of the palm of your hand
DINNER – same tips above, follow the protein guidelines below, schedule in 1-2 vegetarian meals per week into your meal prep to boost plant food intake
ALCOHOL – For the adults it is important to know that this can negatively effect your gut (and many areas of your health). It reduces beneficial bacteria, causes inflammation in the gut, and causes leaky gut. Begin with being mindful of the days following alcohol consumption how your digestive system behaves, then take notice of the weeks that you don’t consume as much alcohol and see how it behaves. If you can see a direct relationship, it will be very helpful in you creating a more healthy relationship with alcohol.
COFFEE/CAFFEINE – Is a stimulant, and increases bowel motility, this effects digestion as it can increase the rate at which food moves through the gut, and therefore it may not be digested effectively which ranges in a whole host of gut symptoms, especially bloating and “IBS” type bowel motions, either urgent and loose, or for some people it can constipate them. Be aware of how your gut feels immediately after caffeine, it is different for everyone. But my suggestion is avoiding caffeine 2 hours before or after meals.
TIPS -avoid added sugar to meals/in packaged foods, safe sugars are raw honey, pure maple syrup, plant based sugar replacements such as stevia, monk fruit syrup and occasional rice malt syrup or coconut sugar.
Read your food labels on packaged foods and avoid as much as possible foods that contain any numbers in the ingredients listing – our body only knows how to digest nutrients from whole foods, we do not have the enzymes to break down additives and preservatives and therefore they are treated like a toxin, while also causing irritation in the digestive tract.
Therapeutic foods These are dietary secret weapons that enhance gut bacteria, especially lactobacillus strains and increase stomach acid and digestive enzymes
Cut and core 5 apples, and cut them into cubes, and place them in a saucepan, add 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, 1/3 C sultanas or raisins and ½ a cup of water. Place the lid half on, and simmer for around 15 minutes or until tender.
They will last 5 days in the fridge once made, and are freezer friendly.
If you are ready to get to the bottom of your chronic gut health issues once and for all, then pathology testing is an essential tool, this will tell us exactly what is going on in your gut and where the imbalances truly lie, and therefore exactly what we need to do to heal it over and above these principals.
At 3 Elements Health we offer a wide range of Gut Health pathology testing, including Microbiome Mapping and Comprehensive stool analysis. Get in touch today!
By April Butt
April Butt is a passionate Health Practitioner and Nutritionist. Her approach to health, as well as food, is practical and sustainable. Within this blog she shares pearls of wisdom to make living a healthy lifestyle achievable for everyone.