Did you know the gut is central to our mental and physical health? It’s also surprisingly clever. It contains the same sort of neurons and neurotransmitters as you’d find in the brain. In fact, there are as many brain cells lining your gut as there are in the skull of a cat!
Even more impressively, there is a huge alien eco-system living down in your gut: trillions of different microbes, collectively known as the microbiome. Until recently we knew very little about the 1–2kg of microbes that live in the intestine, but in recent times there has been an absolute explosion of new and exciting gut-related research that has revealed the huge impact they have on our lives.
The TRILLIONS of living microbes inside your gut are essentially little mood elevators working around the clock producing happy-chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine. Making sure that you have a diverse and thriving microbiome can help not only with your mental health, but can prevent things like the urge to overeat, and can help regulate your digestive system.
How to keep your gut happy…
Make sure you eat your vegetables!
Vegetables are loaded with fibres. Eat a range including leeks, broccoli, spinach and asparagus.
Cut out sugar and avoid processed foods
If you eat too many simple sugars too regularly, you run the risk of literally starving your microbiome to death. Try to alter your diet to include more foods with complex sugars, to ensure a happy and healthy microbiome such as honey, dark chocolate, apples, berries, mango and sweet potatoes.
Probiotics are great for your gut
Probiotics are full of live bacteria that will help ensure your gut is populated by mostly the good types of microbes. There are many probiotic products that have live cultures in them.
Stock up on dietary sources of prebiotics
It’s important to include dietary prebiotics which should be staples in your home kitchen. Whole grains, apples, leeks, bananas, lentils, chickpeas, green tea, garlic, nuts and seeds are all great sources.
Fermented Foods are gut-friendly
Fermented foods are another great source of probiotics such as yoghurt.
It’s past your bedtime!
Getting enough rest is so important! Studies have shown that people with erratic sleeping patterns run the risk of disrupting their microbiome and running the risk of developing inflammatory diseases. Try to make sure that you get at least 8 hours of sleep a night.
Hit the Gym
The microbiomes of physically active people are more healthy and diverse. Even just 30 minutes a day could really impact your gut health, and help these little microbes continue to make sure that your stress levels are managed and your mental health stays intact.
See you next week and see you at the Club soon!