You might have heard that 70% of your immune system is in your gut, but what does that actually mean? And how do we actually spot that our gut health is compromised? Let’s take a look at the top 4 signs that your gut could do with some love.
1. You’re tired all the time
If you struggle to make it throughout the day without feeling like you could do with a nap the cause could be your microbiome. High levels of bad bacteria, the kind that cause illness, are linked with chronic fatigue. Compromised gut health can leave you feeling drained. It also creates a vicious cycle of disrupting your sleep which in turn leads to always feeling tired.
2. You have IBS
If you suffer from symptoms like stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and gas addressing your gut health
is likely to help as studies show that people with IBS have changes in the gut microbiome and often benefit from certain strains of beneficial bacteria
3. You struggle to lose excess weight
If you’ve been trying to lose weight and it seems harder than usual one of the best thing you can do is to start healing your gut with pre and probiotics.
What most dieters don’t realise is that our gut and brains are connected and our bad bacteria uses this to send messages to our brains making us crave unhealthy food – the kind that feeds them and makes us ill. The stronger our colonies of bad bacteria become the more we crave unhealthy food, so it becomes a vicious cycle.
4. Your skin is breaking out
Did you know that your skin is a great indicator for what is happening in your gut? In addition to the gut-brain connection there is also a gut-skin axis, a kind of dialogue between your gut and your skin. If you’re experiencing issues like inflammation, rashes, spots, boils, eczema and dryness don’t just reach for topical creams and external fixes, look to the gut for the root cause.
How to heal
If you’re dealing with some or even all of these issues try these simple steps to start healing your gut
Step one – Eliminate refined carbohydrates
Sugar and food that turns to sugar in your body feeds bad bacteria in your gut and is one of the worst culprits for poor gut health. The first step to healing your gut is to starve bad bacteria by eliminating or at least reducing sugar. This will have the added affect of stabilising your blood sugar which will make you feel better overall.
Step two – Incorporate lots more vegetables
We all know that vegetables are good for us but the specific reason they’re good for your gut is that vegetables are prebiotic foods. This means they will feed the beneficial bacteria in your gut, the kind that fight off bad bacteria and keep you healthy and your skin looking good. Incorporate lots of vegetables like jerusalem artichoke, chicory, garlic and ginger as these vegetables are particularly powerful prebiotics.
Step three – Bring in fermented foods
Once you’re starving your bad bacteria and feeding your colonies of beneficial bacterial the next thing you’ll want to do is to bring in probiotics. There’s no need to go out and buy expensive capsules, you can actually just start eating fermented foods. Bringing in natural sources of probiotics like unpasteurised kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, kefir and kombucha will nourish your gut and add to your probiotic colonies.
So if you’ve noticed you’ve been feeling run down, sluggish and tired, your digestion is playing up and your skin isn’t looking it’s best try these three simple steps to healing and replenishing your gut and get ready to feel like yourself again!
And for some gut healing breakfast ideas to get your day off to a great start try these options
1. A kefir based smoothie
Kefir is a fermented milk drink that contains a range of gut healing probiotics. Add some nuts for protein and good fats. Blend it with berries and a squirt of raw honey or maple syrup, both of which are great sources of prebiotics. Even people who are sensitive to dairy can often tolerate kefir but if you’re vegan you can use a coconut milk based version.
2. Scrambled eggs with kimchi
Fermented vegetables like kimchi or sauerkraut make a great accompaniment to scrambled eggs and are full of gut loving probiotics. If you’re vegan have your fermented vegetables with scrambled organic tofu instead
3. Overnight oats
Oats are a great source of prebiotic fibre that will feed your probiotic colonies. Add raw milk or plant milk to oats, along with berries, yoghurt and even some kefir for probiotics. For sweetness add prebiotic rich raw honey or maple syrup.
Emma-Louise Follows is a medical herbalist and founder of Ayurvedic Gut Health and 3 Day Detox company Eat Live Wellness.