Karen Newby, BSc Nutritional Medicine, mBANT, CNHC
“All disease begins in the gut.” – Hippocrates
Written 2,000 years ago by the ‘father of medicine’ the gut remains an essential part of our wellbeing, with a huge amount of ongoing research attempting to fully understand this complex micro biome. The gut is home to two-thirds of our immune system; it’s the biggest line of defense against the outside world (aside from the skin) and is also known as the ‘second brain’ – our ‘gut feeling’. This is due to it being the home of the largest amount of nerve endings outside of the central nervous system. It’s also where most of the body’s ‘happy neurotransmitter’ serotonin is made, and where most vitamins and minerals are absorbed.
Here are my top tips for nourishing your gut:
- Reduce refined sugar and simple carbohydrates – yeasts and unhelpful bacteria feed off sugar.
- Caffeine can cause gut spasms as can dairy and wheat. Make a food diary to see if they these symptoms and avoid if applicable.
- Organic probiotic yogurt (if dairy is tolerated) or probiotic coconut or soya yogurt.
- Sources of prebiotics (which help create the right environment for healthy bacteria to grow): Jerusalem artichokes, chicory, asparagus, leeks.
- Increase anti-inflammatory foods: linseed/flaxseed oil and seeds, oily fish, ginger, turmeric, garlic.
- Berries and cherries – sources of bioflavonoids which can help to repair the gut lining.
- An Apple A Day – will keep the doctor away by helping to nourish your gut – they contain pectin which helps to keep bowel movements regular.
- All vegetables help to provide gentle soluble fibre which provides the right environment for beneficial bacteria to grow.
- Beetroot, carrots, mango, peppers, spinach, sweet potato – sources of beta-carotene which help support the immune system.
- Peppermint tea – helps to increase digestive secretions is known to be calming and to help reduce gut spasms.
- Ground linseed (flaxseed) – help to nourish the gut as it turn into a mucilage. Add to smoothies or low sugar granola or porridge to help nourish the gut. Also a good source of protein.
- Psyllium husks – bulking agent and a great source of gentle fibre.