Episode 31 – 8 ways to improve your sixpack, I mean gut health!
Everyone wants a six-pack. It looks great and it’s desirable by all.
But, what about under the “hood”? Who’d want a healthy gut? What’s the point of that?
Why gut health is essential for you.
A healthy gut is essential for optimal bodily function. Without a healthy digestive tract the body begins to experience all sorts of uncomfortable symptoms that if not treated, may lead to greater health issues later on. Some signs of an unhealthy gut may include:
- Bloating and gas
- Food allergies or sensitivity
- Mood swings and irritability
- Frequent infections
- Skin conditions
Yuck! Who’d want to experience any of those?!
So, how does the state of my gut health influence my bodily function?
They say the gut is the body’s second brain!
The gut is where a lot of things are happening. It starts at the mouth, goes through transformative processes in the stomach and small intestine, transitions through the large intestine and ends at the bottom – literally. During this journey the body has to do a few things:
- Protect itself from any unwanted foreign materials such as bad bacteria, processed chemicals such as, food additives, pesticides, and other unrecognisable foods. It primarily does this through your immunity system.
- Use energy (stored in the body) to convert the food into more energy (for use later on)
- Produce digestive juices to assist in transforming the food to useful materials
- “Push” the food through the digestive tract effectively
- Keep your gut micro-organisms happy
- Absorb the nutrients efficiently.
- And more.
If one or more of these steps are interrupted, then you may experience the above signs and symptoms.
What can you do to improve your gut health?
Here are some ways to take care of your gut and maintain a healthy digestive system.
1. Drinking warm water upon waking
This small step first thing in the morning will do wonders for you. By drinking a glass of water you are stimulating your gastrointestinal tract to “switch on” and improve your digestion throughout the day. If you need help starting, try lemon water or tea.
2. Chewing your food
Chewing your food properly is so important when it comes to digestion. The mouth is where digestion begins and if the food is not chewed properly it will put more energy demands on the rest of the digestive system to process it or worst still, the food wont be digested properly and pass through – wasting energy on ineffective digestion.
3. Avoid processed foods
Stick to whole foods. Processed foods are harder to digest and metabolise using excessive amounts of energy to digest it. These processed foods may also interact with your gut bacteria in undesirable ways causing the above mentioned symptoms.
What about the other 5 ways of improve gut health? Check them out down below.
4. Stay hydrated!
Your digestive system is unable to function properly without sufficient water. This is particularly important in the secretion of digestive juices as well as in the absorption and movement phases of digestion. Thus, remaining hydrated throughout the day is very important. Try to drink 2 litres of water a day (or more if applicable).
5. Eat your veggies
Vegetables are full of water, fibre, vitamins and minerals which all aid the digestive process so make sure you eat your daily fill. The fibre will also act to both “clean” the bowels as well as provide good fuel for your gut bacteria – keeping them happy.
6. Drink green juice
Sometimes it can be difficult to include veggies in your meals. By adding a green juice to your day, you not only increase your water and also your vegetable intake as well. Vitamins in the form of vegetables are generally easier on the digestive system to absorb. Try using ingredients such as these: mint, cucumber, celery, ginger and lime for your next juice.
7. Don’t overeat
A common mistake people make is overeating. This is when you eat beyond the point of hunger just to satisfy your taste and often leave the table feeling bloated and uncomfortable. Overeating makes it difficult for the food to be digested properly. Again putting extra stress on the gut.
8. Eat fermented food
Fermented food such as kefir, kim-chi, sauerkraut and kombucha are full of naturally occurring pro-biotics which are essential for good bacteria in your gut. Adding one serve of these to your daily diet will improve digestion and increase immune function. If you do not have access to these foods you can supplement with a pro-biotic tablet.
Bring it home strong!
By simply adding these changes to your daily routine you are sure to see an improvement in your digestion and overall health – your gut will thank you!
– Gaelle Marcel thank you for the photo
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Chris Everingham lives and breathes health & fitness.
Chris Everingham lives and breathes health & fitness. International Athlete, Elite Performance Manager for the Philippine Volcanoes rugby teams, qualified Dietitian / Nutritionist and qualified educator. Chris Everingham combines more than 10 years of experience and education together to deliver the best strategies to grow your mindset, rewire your habits and transform your life.