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How to Love Your Gut - Foods and tips to win it over
These days, there’s all sorts of fresh, thoughtful, romantic ways to show someone you care. You can go big and order a helicopter ride over the 12 Apostles. Or do something that requires less effort and more self-control, like wait for your partner to watch the next episode of Stranger Things (or at least tell them you did). But when it comes to your gut, exactly what can you do to win it over?
Well, you can start with something as simple as eating the right meals and incorporating healthy habits into your day. To help you do so, we compiled a list of them, along with some self-care tips so that your gut will love you back. How cute. Now, let’s start with the most important meal of the day.
Believe it or not, yoghurt is actually fermented milk, a.k.a lactic acid bacteria. Gross, right? Well, while it is a bit ‘icky’, lactic acid is actually a great source of nutrients for your gut. Because it’s filled with friendly bacteria called probiotics, yoghurt can help combat bloating, constipation and diarrhoea.
Now, as friendly as yoghurt is, we feel it’s important to warn you there are many imposters out there that claim to be great but don’t have the probiotics to prove it. To avoid this trap, be sure to check that your yoghurt’s label lists “live and active cultures” the next time you visit your grocer.
It’s true, Grannies do always say an apple a day keeps the doctor away. That’s probably why there’s an entire range named after them. But have you ever wondered how this saying came about? Well, our gut instinct says it may have to do with the fact that apples are full of Pectin - a soluble fibre that’s great for digestion. Once Pectin digests it’s eventually broken down and gives your number 2’s err…’more volume’. In other words, it gets everything moving and running like a well oiled machine which decreases any inflammation in your colon. So yep, definitely keep following Grannies orders and pack one in your lunchbox every day.
- Whole grains
How to Love Your Gut Tip #2. Tell your gut “you complete me” with a daily serving of whole grains. Ha, get it? Sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves. Bad jokes aside, the health benefits of whole grains are rather serious. Similar to apples, they do incredible things for your bowels like add gusto to your instestine’s movements, making bathroom trips a breeze. An easy way to source these guys is through oats, quinoa, farro and products made from whole wheat.
There are a few reasons why Grizzly bears catch salmon straight from the stream, mid-air:
1. It looks cool.
2. They’re ravenous.
3. They’re entirely aware that salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and simply cannot spend another second without it in their bellies.
Of course, we can’t confirm that they actually have this knowledge, but for pure theatrics, let’s pretend that they do it because they know omega-3 reduces inflammation throughout their entire body.
For us humans, the benefits are similar. Salmon’s great for calming down inflammatory conditions like bowel disease, food intolerance and an inflamed gut, so to stay healthy, keep these little beauties in your diet.
Lunch & dinner
Guys - if you’re looking for something to cheer up your partner during her first trimester, Ginger’s a great go-to. This traditional ingredient has been used in Eastern medicine for generations and not only helps improve digestion, but also prevents pregnancy based nausea - a.k.a morning sickness.
And for those without one on the way, you’ll be pleased to know that ginger is also great for digestion. This exotic root has been known to speed up the time it takes for food to empty from your intestine, which in turn reduces your risk of heartburn, nausea and stomach discomfort.
- Dark green vegetables
Thanks to the delicious array of condiments from all over the world, eating our daily greens is no longer a challenge. And aren’t you glad? Because without them, we’d miss out on a heap of magnesium which helps relieve constipation by improving muscle contractions, plus it’s a great source of insoluble fibre. There’s lots of different types of vegetables that belong to this family, our favourites are spinach, brussels sprouts, broccoli and other leafy greens.
Peppermint is grown throughout the world which is fantastic for a number of reasons. The first being, more people are likely to have fresher breath. Key words: more likely. And secondly, it’s awesome for digestion so you’re never far from a soothing solution. Peppermint oils in particular are great for improving digestive problems as they’re known for relaxing muscles like your digestive tract. However, if the peppermint is taken in other forms - let’s say covered in chocolate there is a 100% chance it won’t be as effective. Especially if you’re lactose intolerant.
Daily Eating Habits
- Eat healthy fats
It’s true, good fat does exist. But before you go and tuck into a family bucket, they need to be the right ones. With the right fats, i.e avocados, nuts, fish, and so forth, your body can absorb nutrients better, plus reap the rewards of omega-3 acids like reduced inflammation and the possible prevention of inflammatory bowel diseases.
- Stay hydrated
Sounds obvious right? We know, so apologies for sending a reminder. But in case you aren’t great at remembering to drink up, we recommend drinking 1.5-2L of water a day. This’ll help you get this flowing and prevent constipation. And no, tea doesn’t count. While it’s made up of water, it’s chemical make up actually dehydrates you.
Ditch Bad Habits
We’ve all got our vices. Some we’re proud to share, others we’d rather keep in the bedroom, under the duvet, along with the other 1000 choc chip cookie crumbs. But for the more publicly known, let’s start with smoking. Smoking is the arch nemesis of your gut and we highly recommend ditching it. Apart from it’s pungent waft, it’s known for causing stomach ulcers, gastrointestinal cancers and acid reflux. And making a rather dangerous dent in your wallet.
- Eating right before bed
Another slightly more delicious vice is those late night snacks. Cookies, 3am kebabs... you know what we mean. While it results in a lovely food coma, eating immediately before dozing off can lead to heartburn and indigestion. If you simply must cure those post midnight cravings, we recommend propping yourself up with a pillow or going for a walk around the house to help your food settle.
And while it leads to belly laughs, new friends, and all round great times, excessive alcohol consumption has been linked to bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract. Now, we’re not saying to cut it out completely - we wouldn’t wish that upon anyone, but everything in moderation.
If you can take anything from this article, there’s lots of ways and opportunities to show your gut some lovin’ every day. E.g at brekky, lunch and dinner, and by following any of the daily habits above. If you’re interested in going all out and treating your digestive system like royalty, have a squiz of our article on Enzymes or Supplements to help IBS.