Did you know the gut is now recognised as one of the most important organs in the body?
In fact, it plays a key role in our health and wellbeing in a variety of different ways.
Love Your Gut Week (17th-23rd September) is aiming to highlight the importance of your digestive system and emphasise exactly why it's time to show your gut some affection.
With research revealing 63 per cent of us have suffered with a persistent gut or abdominal problem or symptom, it seems more crucial than ever to do what you can to keep your digestive system as healthy as possible. To help you get started, Love Your Gut Dietitian for 2018, Jo Travers, is on hand to offer her top tips to securing good gut health.
1. Vary it up
Your gut is home to a wide number of helpful bacteria that will digest food, help to train our immune system, and even affect our genes. To keep them thriving, they need to be well fed- one of the best ways to do this will be fibre-based foods, so be sure to eat plenty of plant foods, such as vegetables, beans and whole grains.
2. Keep hydrated
To move through the digestive system and bowels, food will need to be properly lubricated. It's easy to do - simply drink water! You should aim for two litres each day.
3. Fermented food
Traditional fermentation of foods such as yogurt and kimchi will grow lactic acid bacteria - this will colonise the gut when they're eaten, having a positive effect on your metabolism. You can also support the bacteria that's already living there by introducing more to your gut through fermented foods.
4. Get outdoors
Encountering the outdoors is enough to influence your gut - microscopic airborne particles will be colonised by a variety of bacteria that we breathe in. Visiting different environments - for instance, taking a trip to the countryside - will increase the diversity of environmental bacteria, thus improving our microbiota.
5. Sleep essentials
A good night's sleep can make us feel better and has the added benefit of helping our microbiota. Two nights of disrupted sleep has been found to have a disruptive impact on the ratio of two strains of bacteria that are linked to obesity.
6. Keep moving
Significant amounts of exercise can increase the population of bacteria while also reducing inflammation. Aiding peristalsis - the movement of food through the gut, it can help to improve the symptoms of constipation too,