Your gut health affects a whole host of bodily functions so it's worth keeping it in check. Here we look at what gut health really means, and the surprising role it might have on our energy levels.
When it comes to those annual health trends lists, gut health always seems to be in the mix. In fact, we’d argue that looking after your gut is less of a yearly trend now, it’s a constant consideration (especially when your gut is giving you grief).
Now, when your gut is grumbling in the middle of the day it’s an obvious concern. But there’s some other more surprising ways our gut might be telling us that all is not well. First let’s grab our microscopes and get down there.
Ok, so your gut, technically, is the gastrointestinal tract or digestive system, a pathway that spirals through your body, starting from your mouth and travelling all the way down to your rear. Nice.
The microbes in our gut thrive on balance and harmony, and they’re constantly adapting to various challenges – health, diet, age, gender, what we touch, or put in our mouth. Pretty much everything and anything can subtly shift and alter its composition.
Now, when your gut functions properly, this delicately balanced composition is helping your body extract energy from the foods you eat, fight pathogens, protect against disease, and maybe even boost your mood. The key to healthy gut health is maintaining the balance between the good and bad bacteria in the microbiome. If your gut is acting differently than normal, it could be a sign it’s unbalanced.
If the balance is off your gut won’t be extracting energy from foods as effectively as it could be. Food is fuel which might be why a common symptom of poor gut health is feeling tired and sluggish. (Along with other other regular symptoms like bloating, constipation, diarrhea, indigestion, heartburn and abdominal pain. Ugh, the list really is *yawn* exhaustive).
This gut health imbalance may also make you deficient in certain vitamins and minerals that are important for energy production in the body like the B vitamins and iron.
The number one thing you can do for your gut is to make sure you’re getting enough fibre in your diet. Fibre is what forms the bulk of our poop, feeds our gut bacteria, and helps with gut motility. Government guidelines say you should aim for around 30g a day (one of our Tomato & Herb Hot & Savoury meals contains 14g of fibre per serving).
Variety is another key. A 2018 study on 10,000 people from across the US, UK, and Australia found that eating over 30 plants a week was associated with markers of better gut health.
Adding fermented food like kefir or sauerkraut to your diet may also help. These foods contain live beneficial bacteria, which have shown to have benefits on our overall gut health (although we still need more studies on the subject).
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