The Foundation for Good Health Starts in Your Gut
As a naturopath, the gut health of my clients is extremely important to me, because I know that without a strong and healthy gut, other aspects of our health suffers.
Why? Because the gut influences all other systems in the body. For instance, if you are suffering from eczema, dysbiosis of the gut is often one contributing factor. People suffering from mental health disorders, such as depression or anxiety, will often report issues with their digestive system, such as constipation, diarrhoea or bloating. PMS? Yes, your gut health could be impacting your monthly mood swings!
Now, correcting gut issues isn't a magic bullet for correcting all other health concerns, but more often than not, a marked improvement in overall health and wellbeing can be seen when the gut is also treated along-side the primary health concern, whether that be skin health, mental health, weight-loss, hormone imbalance, immune system dysfunction...the list goes on!
So, knowing how important the gut is to our general health, what can you do on a daily basis to help support it?
1. Make the right food choices!
What we eat has a direct impact on our gut health and gut bacteria. Research shows that a typical ‘Western diet’ high in processed foods, significantly alters our gut microbiome, increasing the risk of certain chronic diseases. So, pick whole foods, from the fresh food section of the supermarket and minimise packaged foods like biscuits and servo-pies!
If you can remember one thing about food and gut health, it is that your gut LOVES diversity. That means eating different grains, vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, legumes, etc, don’t just stick to the same meat and three veg every night, or the same tuna salad for lunch. Change it up! Swap your broccoli, mashed potato and carrots, for asparagus, parsnip mash, and Brussels sprouts. Swap your canned tuna for tofu, or falafel or some delicious grass-fed beef! Don’t let your gut bacteria get bored by eating the same meals everyday, as this reduces the diversity of your gut bacteria and we know a diverse gut bacteria equals a happy gut.
Eat a diet that is rich in soluble and insoluble fibre, as this helps to fuel your gut bacteria. Aim for 30-40g of fibre per day. Easy swaps like grain-bread over white bread, or rolled oats instead of commercial cereals, or buckwheat pasta instead of regular pasta, can make a big difference in increasing your fibre intake. And of course, don’t forget your 5 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit a day.
If you are experiencing frequent digestive discomfort, such as bloating, indigestion, diarrhoea or constipation, this is not normal and should be investigated. There could be multiple reasons for your digestive symptoms, from a food intolerance to a parasite. Speak with your healthcare provider to ascertain a diagnosis so that the correct treatment can be undertaken.
About the Author
Casey is a clinical naturopath and nutritionist and the founder of The Natural Path Health. She has a passion for identifying and treating the root cause of disease to achieve long-lasting health goals with her clients. "I love helping my clients regain their energy and vitality for life."