Take Up The Gut health Challenge
Your challenge for February is to fast from alcohol (in line with the FEB FAST challenge)…..now that the festive / holiday period is over and we try to get back to some sort of normal routine let’s see if we can avoid alcohol altogether for the month (it’s a short month!). The aim is to improve your gut health and with that in mind this article is about some simple tricks to improve your gut’s microbiome. I imagine most of you have heard about the gut microbiome – a good couple of kilos of bacteria unique to each and every one of us that we need to feed lots of good stuff and less bad stuff. So how do we do that? Lee Holmes is a great resource, her website is www.supercharged.com, with great tips and recipes on the good stuff.
Our weight is regulated by brain and gut hormones which means that our diet must have as much diversity as possible and be highly plant based. Amazingly a healthy gut improves our sleep as it helps regulate the hormone melatonin. On the flip side, sleeping well helps us lose weight by promoting the hormone leptin (our fullness hormone), but more on that later in the year in another article. Our moods are determined by the gut – imagine if you always felt like you were in a good mood because you fed your gut well. It’s possible!
You’ve no doubt heard about prebiotics and probiotics –not always necessary to buy them in tablet form, eat them in food form! Prebiotic foods include peas, sweet potato, leek, onion, root vegetables – so easy to include those in your diet. Probiotics include fermented foods and may take some getting used to so start slow and add a little before or after meals to gain benefits. Sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, live cultured yoghurt, kombucha – great sources of probiotic bacteria to recolonise your gut and balance the good and bad bacteria to assist with weight loss. The high sugar diets we consume also feed the bacteria negatively so unload the sugar and upload the water to promote a good healthy gut.
In a nutshell you can create a good gut microbiome by:
- eating well, fibre is good, sugar is bad
- reduce toxin load (no alcohol for the month goes a long way towards this)
- exercise regularly (even 10 minutes each day is a good start)
- sleep well
- manage stress
- interact with nature
None of this is new! Make a pact to go water only this month and improve the overall health of your gut (and by extension your mood!).