HealthLife & Style

5 Things You Should Be Doing To Maintain A Healthy Gut

Gut health. Heart on stomach. Photographed by metamorworks. Image via Shutterstock

What is your gut instinct telling you?

If you’re a foodie like us, you love nothing more than endless gastronomic indulgences and cocktails that have you hooked from the moment the theatrics are played out. Let’s admit it, looking after and maintaining a healthy gut, is often one of the furthest things from our mind. But, it is important that we think about our health, as much as our indulgences.

We’re here to stop all the confusing jargon and misleading information in its tracks, thanks to accredited nutritionist and Australian dietitian, Rebecca Gawthorne. Partnering with Activia Oat Probiotic Yoghurt, Rebecca has shared five simple tips with us, to help us make the right decisions in order to maintain and maximise a healthy gut!

1. Consuming Probiotics

Probiotics are a must for supporting a healthy gut as they minimise the growth of bad and harmful bacteria. For this, Rebecca recommends that the easiest way to consume probiotics is through yoghurt – whether that be straight from a tub and topped with nuts, fruit and seeds or swirling it in as a key ingredient in your homemade smoothie. Thankfully for those looking for plant-based and dairy-free alternatives, Activia Oat Probiotic Yoghurt will be your answer as it’s packed with billions of probiotics.

2. Eat a Variety of Plant Foods Each Day

What we eat plays one of the most impactful roles on our gut health because diet can change our microbiota composition. Research has linked diets which are  rich in plant foods to greater microbial diversification, which means a healthier gut. This is because plant based diets are rich in prebiotics.

Prebiotics are a type of fibre that act as food for the probiotics (the healthy bacteria that live in our gut). These prebiotic fibres are not digested in the small intestine (where protein, carbs, fats are digested and absorbed), but rather they travel to the colon (the large intestine), where they are fermented. This fermentation process nourishes the good bacteria to keep your gut bugs healthy and abundant. Different probiotics feed off different prebiotics, so eating a variety and abundance of plant-based foods is key! Delicious fibre-rich, plant-based and fermented foods can fuel your gut with essential microbes to keep both your digestive system and your body happy and healthy!

3. Eat Foods Rich in Insoluble Fibre

Insoluble fibre adds physical bulk to your stools and helps to speed up the removal of waste products from your gut. This helps prevent constipation and keep your gut healthy. Some good food sources of insoluble fibre include wholegrain, wheat bran, fruit and vegetable skins, nuts, seeds and legumes.

4. Exercise and Drink Water Regularly

Drinking water is essential for regular bowel movements, preventing constipation and keeping your gut healthy. Adults should aim to drink approximately (or at least) two litres of water per day. On top of that, exercise can help to strengthen your abdominal muscles as well as stimulates your intestinal muscles. This helps to move contents through your digestive system, so you should aim to move your body each day too.

5. Manage Stress and Get Enough Sleep

Psychological stress and poor sleep patterns have been shown to impact microbial colonisation and cause an imbalance of microbial dysbiosis. Gut microbiota control the function and responsiveness of our intestinal immune cells, so when this is thrown out of balance, it causes increased susceptibility to infection. This is why you may fall sick more easily when stressed and/or sleep deprived! So, to keep your gut and overall body healthy, make sure you take time out to relax and refresh your body and get enough sleep.

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