There are many contributing factors that affect your gut health. Factors such as diet, food intolerances, lifestyle, hormones, sleep, stress and especially medications will affect the state of how your body digests and eliminates what you eat and drink. When I wrote my ebook Perfect Digestive Health it was through dealing with my life long digestive issues and then finally discovering the way forward to good health.
To help support your digestive health, I've gathered my top tips on how to heal your gut naturally. The below information is based on my book Perfect Digestive Health and continual research on gut health.
1. PROBIOTICS WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE
First of all, it's important to know that there is a balance between good and bad bacteria in our digestive system, which is responsible for the way our bowel functions. Probiotics are live microorganisms (good bacteria) that reside in the gut that play an integral role in maintaining healthy gut function by preventing the invasion of harmful microbes. They can also assist with;
- the elimination of toxins,
- our ability to fight off infection and illness
- regulating our metabolism
- nutrient synthesis and absorption.
Probiotics can be found in our Everyday Greens as well as fermented foods such as tempeh, miso, kefir, sauerkraut and yoghurt, as well as in powdered or capsule form from health food stores.
With the right amount of good bacteria, you will build your immune system, your body will absorb the nutrients from food better and it will help with gut motility. Probiotic actually means pro life, so where possible choose the foods that are life giving to your health.
2. NOURISH YOUR BODY WITH PRE-BIOTICS
Pre-biotics fuel our probiotics (the good guys)! Prebiotics refer to natural soluble fibres that feed the good bacteria in our large intestine, helping to promote balanced gut flora and healthy bowel function. When our good bacteria eat prebiotic fibre, they produce beneficial short-chain fatty acids, such as butyrate, which inhibits the growth of disease-causing pathogens and maintains the health of our intestinal lining.
Rich sources of prebiotics are found in a variety of plant-based foods including; green leafy vegetables, citrus, leeks, flaxseed, apples and Healthy Chef Organic Superfood.
3. DRINK TEA
My favourite teas for digestive health are Healthy Chef Immune Tea that is wonderful to relieve bloating or a soothing Digest Tea which is wonderful if you suffer from reflux.
Ginger is known in Ayurveda as the ‘universal remedy’ due to its many benefits for the body, and it has been used for more than 2000 years to treat digestive issues. Ginger is also the key ingredient in Healthy Chef Chai Latte and it's wonderful mixed with warm milk and a little raw honey. Ginger helps to:
- Relieve symptoms of gas and cramping by relaxing the smooth muscle of the intestines
- Stimulate digesting by speeding the movement of food from stomach to SI.
- Eliminate any discomfort after eating.
- Stimulate saliva, bile and gastric enzymes to aid in the digestion of food.
If you suffer from constipation or slow motility, Studies from the European Journal of Pharmacology report that green tea is beneficial in reducing gastrointestinal disorders. The caffeine in green tea as well as Matcha Green Tea can also act as a mild laxative to get the bowels moving in the morning.
The caffeine in Energy Tea and Matcha Green Tea can act as a mild laxative to get the bowels moving in the morning.
4. USE AROMATICS + ANTI-INFLAMMATORY INGREDIENTS
There are many benefits of eating a varied wholefoods diet including the abundance of vitamins and minerals in different foods. Specific foods in the spotlight for digestive help include:
- Carrots contain vitamins A, B complex, C, D, E, K, fibre, potassium, iron, manganese, copper, iodine, silica, sulphur, and chromium. This super vegetable supports healthy digestion and metabolism, aids the prevention of constipation and stomach ulcers, reduces inflammation, promotes healthy skin and good vision.
- Banana is nourishing for the digestive system and can help sooth intestinal inflammation. They are high in vitamins B + C as well as minerals including calcium, magnesium and potassium. I normally make my Calming Banana Smoothie with oat milk and a pinch of cinnamon if my digestion is irritated or I'm feeling bloated.
- Kiwi Fruit is an effective remedy for constipation and is extremely soothing and healing for the gastrointestinal tract. According to Monash University, approximately 1 in 7 people suffer from constipation. A 4-week study showed that eating 2 kiwi fruit per day over 4 weeks was an effective treatment to increase bowel motility. Kiwi fruit is high in soluble fibre and vitamin C as well as being low FODMAP. I love making my low FODMAP smoothie using 2 kiwi fruit, water, lime juice and a teaspoon of Healthy Chef Greens.
You will also love my Probiotic Breakfast Bowl and Fruit Salad For Digestive Health and Green Goddess Smoothie.
5. NOURISH WITH COLLAGEN
Collagen is rich in glycine and glutamine which are 2 amino acids that are beneficial for promoting digestion and supporting a healthy gut barrier. Bone broth is also a wonderful source of both gelatine and collagen. The collagen and gelatine are released from the bones to help to heal the lining of our gastrointestinal tract and reduce inflammation.
Bone broth is super nutritious when it's homemade with quality ingredients such as organic poultry, grass fed meat or wild caught fish and has amazing healing effects on the body, while also containing high amounts of minerals including calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.
I have wonderful bone broth recipes in my cookbook Purely Delicious that are simple to make and delicious to eat. You can also check out my Collagen rich Miso Soup. Make sure to invest in a good quality slow cooker if you decide to make these on a regular basis.
6. ENJOY A GLASS OF GREEN JUICE
Green vegetables are rich in living phytonutrients and are highly alkalising, assisting your body to cleanse, heal and nourish in a perfect environment. They can also assist the body to detoxify.
Enjoy Everyday Greens daily, a superfood blend containing alkalizing greens, probiotics and L-Glutamine to support your health and wellbeing
7. FODMAPS COULD BE TO BLAME FOR BLOATING
FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols. In short, it stands for foods that contain short-chain carbohydrates that can be hard to digest, which may lead to bloating for some people.
This is why I’ve designed recipes in my book Perfect Digestive Health to be low FODMAP, gluten and dairy free to give your digestive system the best chance of restoring itself.
8. EAT A WHOLE FOOD DIET
The 2-week meal plan in my book Perfect Digestive Health is based around a modified Mediterranean and low-fermentable carbohydrate diet that is rich in plant-based foods and good anti-inflammatory sources of whole foods. The diet includes plenty of fresh vegetables, salads, fish and a generous amount of good heart-healthy fats coming from nuts and olives. A well-rounded diet full of variety and whole foods plays a vital role in supporting health.
Enjoy your journey of healthy eating with balance, wisdom and moderation.Article by The Healthy Chef