by Pramila Mundra
The incredible complexity of the gut and its importance to our overall health is a topic of increasing research with interesting discoveries. The term “gut microbiome” refers specifically to the microorganisms living in your intestine.
A person has about 300 to 500 different species of bacteria in their digestive tract. While some microorganisms are harmful to our health, many are incredibly beneficial and even vital to a healthy body. Numerous studies in the past two decades have demonstrated links between gut health and the immune system, mental health, autoimmune diseases, endocrine disorders and even cancer.
The communication system between your gut and brain is called the gut-brain axis. Interestingly your gut contains 500 million neurons, which are connected to your brain through nerves in your nervous system. Many facets of modern life such as stress, less sleep, processed foods and taking antibiotics cause damage to our gut microbiome.
Here are a few things you can do for your gut health.
- Eat slowly: Chewing your food thoroughly and eating more slowly can help promote full digestion and absorption of nutrients. This helps to reduce digestive discomfort.
- Eat Clean: Reducing the amount of processed, high sugar and high trans fat foods can drastically improve gut health. Eating plenty of green vegetables and lean protein can positively impact your gut. A diet high in fiber is also very beneficial to a healthy gut microbiome.
- Check for food intolerances: if you have symptoms such as cramping, bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, rashes, fatigue or acid reflux, you may be suffering from a food intolerance. You can try eliminating common trigger foods like gluten, seed oils, lactose, processed foods and see if your symptoms improve.
- Take a prebiotic or probiotic : Prebiotics provide food meant to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, while probiotics are live good bacteria. It is prudent to choose a high quality probiotic supplement. Fermented foods such as Sauerkraut, yogurt, tempeh, miso and kefir are great dietary sources of probiotics.
- Get enough sleep: Not getting enough or quality deep sleep can have serious impacts on your gut health, which can cause more sleep issues. Try to get at least 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep daily.
- Lower stress levels: Chronic high levels of stress are hard on your body, including your gut. Some ways to lower stress levels include walking outdoors, meditation, spending time with loved ones, yoga, listening to music or journaling.
- Hydrate well : Drinking plenty of water has a beneficial effect on the mucosal lining of the intestines. It is the vital medium needed for de toxification process in the body and helps in efficient functioning of the gut.
Pramila Mundra is a Nutritionist, with a Masters Degree in Food Science and Nutrition. The key aspect of her approach is to handle health issues mostly by correcting the food choices and lifestyle. Her Meal planners and program are customised and holistic as per the individual food likings, work routine and limitations. She runs her own Health clinic at Adarsh Palm Retreat, Bangalore You can find her on Twitter @PramilaMundra