How to look after your gut
By How To
Of all the different bits of
your body, sometimes your gut doesn’t even get a second thought. But it’s one
of the most important parts of you – in fact, it’s almost like a second brain,
processing all the food you eat and making sure you’re in good health.
But what if you’ve been
neglecting your gut health and need to improve your digestive health? When you
eat, large bits of food are digested by enzymes in your body into amino acids
and sugars, and then pass through your gut wall.
When there’s not enough
enzymes in your gut, that’s where the problems start, and this poor digestion
can damage the gut wall. And it’s not a good feeling.
Bad things happening in your
gut can cause all kinds of things you might not expect – from migraines to
eczema, to chronic fatigue and infections – things you’d maybe not think bad
gut health could cause. So keeping your gut happy and healthy will help you keep happy and healthy. Patrick
Holford, an expert in nutrition for over thirty years, has some tips on how to
get a healthy gut:
Improve your digestion
It sounds almost too
straightforward, but eating the right foods is the best place to start if you
want to keep that gut of yours happy. What this means is being kind to your
digestive system by eating whole, unrefined and chemical-free foods that your
gut works best with to digest and absorb.
Improve your absorption
This is all about improving
your gut health – and the easiest way to do this is by taking two teaspoons of
L-glutamine powder in water. One at night before you go to bed, and the other
as soon as you wake up, waiting an hour before you tuck in to breakfast. It’ll
help heal your gut wall.
Improve your protection
You’ve heard all about
friendly bacteria, right? Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are there to give
our gut a helping hand. You can do them a favour by taking a probiotic
supplement twice a day, which will help protect your gut wall.
Calm inflammation down
As well as sticking to a
healthy diet and avoiding food you’re intolerant to, there are other ways to
help your gut health along and tackle poor digestion.
i Try and eat oily fish two
or three times a week, and take at least 1000mg of omega-3 fish oil. If you’re
vegan, replace the fish with chia seeds.
ii Turmeric, which is one of
nature’s best anti-inflammatories.
iii Eat quercetin and
bromelain – they might not sound familiar off the bat but they’re important
anti-inflammatories found in red onions (quercetin) and pineapple (bromelain).
iv Increase your intake of
MSM (sulphur) – it’s found in eggs, onions and garlic, and this helps
methylation. Which means it is super important and required for nutrient
absorption, which will help tackle poor digestion.
Try an elimination diet
Over time, your body may have
developed intolerances to certain foods, which doesn’t help your digestive
health as it triggers an immune-based response by your antibodies.
Get tested for the IgB
antibody reactions against certain food to help you work out which you need to
eliminate. You may be able to introduce them over time as your gut health
Drink at least six glasses of
water a day, eat more oat-based foods and chia seeds, or you can take a
teaspoon or capsule of glucomannan. All that combined should help.
For more tips on how to get a
healthy gut, read Improve Your Digestion (£14.99, Piaktus) by Patrick Holford.