Qualified Nutritional Consultant

Healthy gut flora is the root to our health

In honour of IBS awareness month April 2018 the focus is on improving digestive health by learning how to improve our gut flora. If we have issues with digestion it can generally affect all parts of our body, but the good news is the right diet can put you on the path to a happy healthy gut flora. In the UK, there are around 6.5 million people that suffer with some form of bowel problem, this can be anything from constipation to bloating, stomach pain or diarrhoea. Other symptoms may include headaches, poor appetite, nausea and heartburn. Want to know how you can keep your gut health in tip top condition then read on for some suggestions.

Healthy gut flora is the root to our health

The most effective way to improve your gut health is by consuming a high-fibre diet, with plenty of fluids, healthy fats, good quality proteins and making sure that you move every day. That could be something as simple as walking or working out in the gym but to increase bowel motility (movement) we all need to move. A diet high in fibre bulks out the stool and allows easy digestion, it also appears to have a preventive factor in many diseases.

Healthy gut flora, digestive health

Foods to support healthy digestion and gut flora
  • Examples of food that are high in fibre include cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, avocados, berries, onions, carrots and leeks. The main message it to consume a mainly planet based diet. These soften the stool, allowing correct formation and easy elimination.
  • Good quality protein is essential for healthy digestion. The process of digestion involves not only the mechanical breakdown of food, e.g. breaking food into smaller pieces by chewing but also chemical digestion which involves the pancreas releasing digestive enzymes in response to the type of food we consume. So, include wild-caught fish, grass-fed beef, organic chicken, eggs and bone broth – a super-food when it comes to healthy digestion.
  • Healthy fats are important for a healthy digestive system so a low-fat diet is not good for the gut. Fatty acids play a role in the maintenance of the lining of the bowel so, including nuts, seeds, coconut oil, ghee, goose fat, butter and olive oil in your diet will help to keep the bowel lubricated for good digestive health.
  • There is so much information and research looking at how important fermented foods are for the health of the bowel. Our digestive tract is populated with good and bad bacteria and we need to make sure that we support the good stuff so they can live in harmony side by side. You can do this by consuming sauerkraut, kimchi, fermented vegetables, kefir and natural yogurt. Eating fermented foods allows the transfer of healthy microbes to the gut bacteria.
  • When it comes to what we should avoid, it is important to reduce the amount of sugars in the diet as these feed the bad bacteria and can be detrimental to gut health. Other foods to avoid or reduce include high starchy foods, e.g. white bread, pasta, alcohol, fizzy drinks and processed foods.
What to do if problems occur

If you suffer from severe constipation then the main foods to support digestion are soups and broths, vegetables – which should be boiled, the juice from sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables along with natural yogurt. You could also include beetroot juice to help with the production of bile (help with the breakdown of fats) and prune juice to speed up transit time and improve digestive health.

If you suffer from diarrhoea then include sauerkraut juice and natural yogurt, you also may not be able to tolerate vegetables so it’s better to boil the vegetables and drink the juice. It is also good to include kefir if you can tolerate it, make sure you start with a small amount.

Click here for a vegetable broth recipe

Vegetable broth can be sipped or used in recipes including soups, stews or casseroles.

Vegetable stock contains bio available vitamins and minerals from vegetables that can help to soothe digestion and nurture you. Drinking broth creates a warm and nourishing feeling and makes you feel good all day.

Your three-day digestive health plan

 

  Breakfast Lunch Snack* Dinner Exercise
 

Day 1

Stewed apple with cinnamon and natural yogurt Beef and vegetable soup made with bone broth  

Cup of vegetable broth

Pan-seared mackerel fillet with fermented vegetables mix 30-minute strength exercise
 

Day 2

 

Stewed apple with cinnamon and natural yogurt

 

Carrot and beetroot soup

 

 

1 cup of kefir

 

Homemade casserole made with meat and vegetables

 

 

7-minute aerobic training

 

 

Day 3

 

Homemade smoothie with almond milk, yogurt, berries and avocado

 

 

Beetroot juice Sauerkraut and scrambled eggs with red onion and garlic

 

 

Cup of homemade broth

 

Roast chicken with  cauliflower,

 spinach and sweet potato garlic mash

 

 

25-minute walk at lunchtime

*leaving 4 hour gaps between meals gives the bowel and chance to rest and digest

It’s important to take steps to improve intestinal health if you suffer from any digestive issues as a healthy gut is a happy gut and holds the roots to our health, just as a tree without strong roots will not thrive, healthy digestion helps us to become the best version of ourselves. So, make sure that you support healthy digestion through making diet and lifestyle changes.

Remember a healthy gut makes a happy person.

Jeraldine Curran founder of The Food Nutritionist is a fully qualified nutritionist specialising in digestive health. She works with adults and children with digestive issues including irritable bowel disease (IBD), constipation and diarrhoea. Other services include nutritional workshops, conception and pregnancy, individual consultations, corporate work and wellness retreats.

For more advice and support do not hesitate to contact me or you can email [email protected] or call 07729 174208

 

 

 

 

 

 

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