Spring clean your gut
There are gentler methods of releasing the sluggishness of winter and enjoying an internal spring clean than dramatic master cleanses. To look after your gut for spring, you don’t need to live off roughage and rabbit food or partake in faddish five-day juice detoxes to enjoy the benefits of good gut health.
Here are five simple and effective ways to gently give your gut a good seasonal clean, alleviate gastrointestinal anguish and remove some junk from the trunk.
1. Maintain a healthy balance of gut flora
A healthy gut flora balance should include approximately eighty five percent good bacteria to around fifteen percent bad bacteria. However the modern diet is high in sugar, carbohydrates, preservatives and additives which makes the perfect breeding ground for promoting an overgrowth of bad bacteria, that will kill off your healthy gut flora very quickly.
Other causes of this imbalance include medicines such as antibiotics,1 or drinking tap water; which contains chemicals such as fluoride and chlorine. If you suffer from acne, low energy, digestive problems, or low immunity; chances are that you have an imbalance in your gut flora that needs to be rectified.
Cutting down on sugar, increasing your intake of dietary fibre, anti-inflammatory healthy fats such as extra virgin olive oil, flaxseed oil, cold pressed extra virgin coconut oil and avocadoes, and increasing antioxidant rich foods will help to eliminate bad bacteria.
Probiotic and fibre rich foods and an abundance of fresh vegetables including leafy greens will sweep out bad bacteria from your system and have an alkalizing effect on the magical universe within, promoting a healthy gut flora balance.
In springtime try including yoghurt at breakfast, kim chi with meals or make my in-season Apple and Fennel Soup.
There are many delicious gut-healing recipes in my Heal Your Gut recipe book too.
2. Rest your tummy twice a week
It’s not difficult to plant your gut in repair mode pronto. Giving the digestive system a rest a couple of times a week will help to fast track your gut lining rebuilding, one of the keys to healthy absorption of nutrients. You don’t need to “fad fast” with no food at all to promote great gut healing, but why not give it a gentle rest a couple of times a week with easy to digest meals?
Ditch the salads and raw foods and opt for gut friendly cooked foods. Health promoting soups and veggie packed stir-fries not only fill you up but also provide you with beneficial vitamins and minerals.
Certain fruits are great gut loving ingredients too. Papaya has been shown to improve constipation and other symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). In one study, people who took a papaya-based formula for 40 days had significant improvement in constipation and bloating.2 Papaya can be baked - try my Oven Baked Papaya with Lime and Coconut. Another gut friendly option is my Pan Fried Pineapple recipe .
3. Heal and seal your intestinal barrier
Healing your gut involves a dual focus: improving the balance of good bacteria in the gut, and healing the intestinal walls to decrease intestinal permeability. By doing this you are allowing the gut to smoothly complete all of the functions required to regulate your entire body, without leaking unwanted toxic substances into the bloodstream; minimizing the risk for various diseases.
The gut barrier’s primary focus, aside from transporting and eliminating food and water, is to prevent foreign, unwanted substances from entering the body. Therefore the gut barrier must remain strong and healthy in order to perform this function. In our unhealthy modern lifestyle, gut permeability or ‘leaky gut’ is becoming a common problem. This involves the breaking down of the intestinal walls; creating ‘holes’ which allow large protein molecules to escape into the body. Because these substances are not supposed to live outside the walls of the gut, the immune system views them as an invader; mounting an immune response that aims to attack these proteins.
Researchers are now recognising that the integrity of the intestinal barrier has a fundamental role in health and disease.3
Healing and sealing the gut barrier can be done by stocking up on mineral rich bone or vegetable broths, taking a plant based protein powder, or getting a shot of collagen or aloe vera in your morning smoothie. Try this Hello Vera Smoothie which can easily be made at home.
4. Forget doing and start being
Finding peace in a stressed-out, digitally dependent culture may just be a matter of thinking differently. A plethora of articles on mindfulness have been popping up lately, as the mindful revolution grabs media attention and extols its health benefits and virtues across the globe. Simply speaking, we can’t discount the fact that anyone can practice mindfulness and meditation wherever they are.
There’s no doubt that a peaceful mind equates to a healthy gut. Mindfulness is escaping from our thoughts about the past and the future in order to concentrate, body and mind, on the moment. It’s the exact opposite to what we normally do, going through our endless tasks, thinking about what we did or didn’t do, worrying about what is still to be done and intently focussing on our to do list.
Food and probiotics alone will not promise a thriving colony of healthy bacteria in your gut. Stress and emotional factors can override even the most perfect diet and wellness practices. Chronic, long term stress that lingers for weeks is incredibly damaging to your gut health. Stress causes many changes within the gut including changes in gastric secretion, gut motility, mucosal permeability, viscal sensitivity and barrier function.4 Savouring the pleasures of life as they occur helps you to become more fully engaged in activities and creates a greater capacity to deal with stress and adverse events when they inevitably arise.
5. Reverse your negative emotions
Interestingly, our bacteria respond in damaging ways to the negative emotions and stress of the host. The hormones secreted during a stress response contribute to the overgrowth of bad bacteria. Figuring out what causes your negative thoughts is critical. Is it something that can be controlled? What lifestyle changes or decisions can you make that can remove negativity from your life? Sometimes the answer is not clear and it can be valuable to seek outside help. Incorporating meditation and yoga into your life may also help you deal with these issues.
It’s easy to start spring cleaning your gut
Are you ready to spring clean your gut? If you’re wondering where to start, just let go of the heavy and rich foods and immerse yourself in healthy easy to digest foods like soups and smoothies. Delve into the mountain of fresh fruits and vegetables that come out in spring. There is so much produce and everything is so bright and colourful, making each dish exciting to eat.
Gut health is important for your mental health and overall wellness, it’s one of the most important components of the body. We interact with it daily and it’s something intricately connected to many aspects of our everyday life.*
OnePath Life Limited (OnePath Life) is committed to deliver market leading mental health and wellness solutions with a focus on service, customer wellness and prevention. The focus on mental health and wellness is at the core to OnePath Life’s proposition. To deliver on our commitment, we have developed a suite of tools, education pieces, and collaborated with partners to provide our customers with the support they may need to facilitate a healthy life. OnePath Life has proudly partnered with Lee Holmes to provide education and nutritional inspiration for our customers to supercharge their health.
* Important note
The information related to your health is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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