You might be thinking “well I have a pretty good gut already, why should I need to change anything?” but regardless of whether you have a good gut or a bad one with lots of digestive problems, I strongly believe in prevention and making your gut a safe and healthy haven for all those good bacteria.
You can do this simply by changing some diet and lifestyle factors and cutting out a lot of the crap….don’t over complicate things mumma, it doesn’t have to be that hard…little by little, step by step is the key!
So here’s my top 10 tips for a healthy gut:
- Avoid processed foods full of artificial colours, preservatives, hydrogenated oils and refined sugars – this is a no brainer. We all know these play all kinds of havoc on the health of our gut and promote chemical imbalances…not good for us mummas! When you eat processed, sugar-laden foods you’re giving bad bacteria an all you can eat buffet which is a recipe for disaster (trust me, I spent 32 years doing it and now I’m having to reverse years worth of bad food choices).
- Eat probiotic and nutrient dense foods. Try experimenting with fermented foods and drinks like sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, kombucha and kefir to fill your gut with extra of the good guys. Keep an eye out in the video section as I’ll be showing you how easy it is to make fermented foods and drinks at home. Also make sure your diet is high in vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, poultry, meats, fish and healthy fats….these are staples for a healthy gut.
- Give your digestive system a break. Try to have at least 2 hours between meals and try not to eat past dinner time. Definitely don’t snack too late (aim for at last 3 hours before you go to sleep so you’re not going to bed on a full tummy). I used to snack on chocolate, crisps and other sugary or salty snacks right up until bed time and then wondered why I couldn’t get to sleep or even stay asleep…sleep is the time when your body rests and rejuvenates so don’t put your digestive system into overdrive.
- Get yourself on a good probiotic. Most of our foods don’t contain adequate live concentrations of probiotics which is crucial to good gut health so supplementing with a good probiotic can have many wonderful benefits for you.
- Drink warm lemon water in the morning as you wake before you eat anything. Lemon water flushes out toxins and is extremely beneficial for the body. It aids the digestive system and makes the process of eliminating the ‘crap’ from our body a lot easier. I’ve been doing this for well over a year now and I’ve noticed my bowel movements are pretty much on cue plus I don’t usually get hungry for breakfast until I’ve eliminated so I know my body has done it’s work and is ready for more food.
- Stay well hydrated throughout the day to help your body flush out toxins and waste. Aim for at least 8 glasses or more of water per day. I like to mix my liquid up and have herbal teas, ginger or lemon tea, coconut water or fresh cold-pressed juices. Whatever you like, get liquefied mumma!
- Do an inventory of your household and personal care items? Are you using a lot of chemicals in your home and on your skin? We are porous so anything you spray in the home or touch with your skin is gonna be absorbed and create a hostile environment for our good bacteria. Keep a check on what you’re using and try to find substitutes and more natural alternatives as much as possible. Here’s a great article with some natural beauty recipes you might like to try: http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2013/04/simple-steps-to-safe-and-natural-personal-care-and-18-homemade-beauty-recipes.html and have a read of this awesome guide to Non-Toxic Home cleaning http://eartheasy.com/live_nontoxic_solutions.htm
- Be mindful of synthetic drugs like antibiotics, steroids, contraceptive pill and other prescription drugs which can really damage your gut and allow pathogenic bacteria to settle in. Where possible avoid these all together or try to find natural remedies and alternatives. We’ll go into detail much later on about how prescription drugs affect the gut so stay tuned for that podcast!
- Get enough sleep. Aim for a minimum of 7 hours to allow the body to shut down, reset, recharge and detox. This may be hard for you mummas with small ones (trust me I know!) so do what you can to rest when you can so that you’re not putting unnecessary stress on your gut and immune system.
- That leads me nicely into number 10 and perhaps the hardest and yet one of the most important aspects of not only good overall health but a healthy guy…..reduce stress! Easier said then done right. We’re mummas, we’re multi-taskers, we wear the hats of cook, maid, seamstress, chief, doctor, story teller, care giver, teacher, banker, personal shopper, driver and more. Our lives are full to the brim. Is it any wonder we get stressed? But you’ve got to take time out for yourself in whatever way you can whether that means a walk, a trip to a local cafe for a cuppa and a magazine, reading a good book or having time out in nature or mediating. If you don’t look after you, you won’t be able to fully look after everyone else especially if your health suffers like mine did. Learn to love you and take responsibility of your own health so that you can keep being the awesome mumma you were created to be.