Poor gut health can not only cause gastrointestinal problems, but it’s also linked to a weakened immune function and bad overall health.
‘Ensuring we are nourishing it [our gut] with the right nutrients is one of the most powerful things we can do to improve our wellbeing,’ said dietitian and author Susie Burrell on her blog.
According to Susie, there are three things we can do to improve our gut health.
Australian dietitian Susie Burrell (pictured) said regular fasting has a range of benefits and may help you lose weight
1. Focus on fibre
‘One of the easiest ways we can all positively influence the health of our gut is to ensure we get enough dietary fibre,’ explained Susie.
‘Not only does the right mix of both soluble and insoluble fibre ensure that our digestive tract works efficiently and keeps us regular, but an optimal intake of fibre is also linked to healthy gut microflora, helping to lower cholesterol levels and allowing us to feel lighter and more active.’
Adults should eat between 25-30 grams of fibre each day to ensure their digestive system is functioning correctly. This will also help reduce constipation.
Two pieces of fruit, at least two cups of vegetables and one or two servings of wholegrains every day is sufficient.
2. Feed your gut right
Eating a balanced diet is key to a well functioning gut. Susie said incorporating prebiotics, which are found in foods such as onions, leeks, celery, wheat bran, soy beans and rye based breads, will help promote the growth and function of good bacteria in the gut.
Eating fibre and feeding your gut prebiotics can help improve your digestive system (stock image)
‘Prebiotics found in various fibrous foods move through the digestive tract undigested and then act to feed the good bacteria promoting their growth and optimising gut balance,’ she explained.
‘As a result, the gut is healthier and better able to absorb nutrients as they pass through the digestive tract.’
3. Give your gut the bugs it needs
‘Known as the good bacteria, probiotics are microorganisms naturally found in the human digestive tract that improve the balance of healthy bacteria,’ said Susie.
Probiotics are microorganisms can assist in restoring healthy gut flora following a course of antibiotics (stock image)
Studies have shown that probiotics, which are found in fermented drinks and yoghurts, can help reduce constipation and bloating and restore healthy gut flora after consuming a course of antibiotics.
Research from Griffith University has even found that probiotic supplementation can reduce the risk of getting a cold and reduce symptoms of allergy.
‘It is thought that poor dietary patterns, along with the stress of modern lives, mean our gut bugs take a beating and as such making sure we are getting a regular dose of various probiotics is a powerful step towards optimal health,’ said Susie.