Wellness Hub May 2017 Nutrition A beginner's guide to a healthy gut Melissa Shedden May 18, 2017 Share The gut: not exactly the most glamorous subject but by now you’ve heard how critical your insides are to a healthy and happy body and mind. In fact, researchers have found your gut is not only linked to your physical health, but your mood, motivation and get-up-and-go (yes, you can blame your tum for hitting snooze on that 6am run). To a beginner, the gut’s mega role might seem overwhelming, but just think of the untapped benefits once you get yours in good working order. And getting to destination happy gut is actually quite simple, with this first-timers guide. STEP 1: STOCK UP ON PRE AND PROBIOTICS Like planet Earth, when it comes to your inner ecology, diversity equals resilience. In other words, the more types of friendly gut bacteria you have, the better job of digestion your gut does and the less chance that vindaloo will upset it. Enter: pre and probiotics. Erm, sure, but what’s the difference? Basically, a food that is prebiotic contains nutrients, mostly certain types of fibre, that gut bacteria feed on. Meanwhile, probiotic-rich foods contain bacteria that help the resident bugs do their job better. Like Barack and Michelle, they’re a powerful combination. Check out the shopping list of potent pre and probiotics below so you can stock up on your next supermarket dash. Prebiotics Papaya Almonds Asparagus Bananas Cereal grains (whole wheat, barley, rye) Endive Garlic Kiwi fruit Leeks Legumes Mushrooms Oats Onions Probiotics Fermented vegetables (kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles, Greek olives) Fermented soybeans (miso, tempeh) Cultured dairy products (buttermilk, yoghurt, cheese) Cultured non-dairy products (organic soy or coconut yoghurt) Fermented grains and beans (chickpea, miso) Fermented drinks (kefir, kombucha) Fermented condiments (raw apple cider vinegar) STEP 2: POP A PROBIOTIC DAILY Take good quality probiotics every day.Swisse Ultiboost Inner Balance Probiotic 35 Billion is a premium quality, probiotic formula containing a clinically tested strain – HOWARU® bifido – to help support intestinal and digestive health as well as a healthy immune system. Best of all it is shelf stable, which means no refrigeration needed. STEP 3: FILL UP ON FIBRE Basically, fibre is king. It’s essential for the health of the gut, helping to keep the muscles working properly and reducing the risk of the runs or the reverse. Go for whole grains, wholemeal foods like pasta, and things like beans, lentils, pulses, brown rice and oats (see shopping list above). Most fruit and veg are filled with the stuff and also contain fluid to help the fibre work. STEP 4: GIVE IT A REST To give your gut a chance to clean up and clear out bacteria and waste, it needs a rest from digestion. Every 90 minutes to two hours, the smooth muscle in your intestines move and groove to keep bacteria and waste working through your digestive tract. But this process is put on hold every time you eat. You don’t need to fast for long periods, but it pays to put a stop to excessive snacking. STEP 5: DRINK MORE WATER (AND THEN SOME MORE) Let’s hear it for good old H2O – it helps your fibre intake do its job and also encourages the contents of your digestive system to keep moving in the right direction. Common knowledge says 6-8 glasses of water a day, but because we’re all different, here’s how to calculate your ideal hydration: Your weight in kilograms divided by 0.024 = how many millilitres of water your body requires each day. So if you weigh 60kg, you need 2500mL a day.