by Sarah Halfpenny
As we age, taking care of our gut health becomes increasingly important. A healthy gut not only aids digestion but also plays a crucial role in supporting the immune system and overall health. Follow these five steps to stay in top form …
Embrace a fibre-rich diet
Load up on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes to boost your fibre intake. Fibre acts as fuel for the beneficial gut bacteria, promoting a diverse and thriving gut microbiome which may help to prevent chronic illnesses like Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. Aim for at least 25-30 grams of fibre per day, and don’t forget to hydrate adequately to aid digestion.
Cultivate probiotic power
Incorporate probiotic-rich foods into your diet to introduce beneficial bacteria into your gut. Fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and tempeh are excellent sources of probiotics. These friendly microbes support gut health, enhance nutrient absorption, and contribute to a stronger immune system.
Don’t forget about prebiotics, the natural “food” for the good bacteria in your gut. Foods like garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus, and bananas are packed with prebiotic fibres, fostering the growth and activity of beneficial gut microbes. Prebiotics have been shown to reduce insulin and cholesterol levels in obese people.
Manage stress mindfully
Chronic stress can negatively impact gut health. Engage in activities like yoga, meditation, or tai chi to reduce stress levels. Sleep is also a crucial factor – too little sleep has been linked to negative gut health. Taking time for relaxation and self-care is not only beneficial for your mental wellbeing but also supports a healthy gut.
Stay active and hydrated
Regular physical activity and proper hydration are essential for gut health. Exercise helps stimulate the muscles of the digestive tract, aiding smooth digestion. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your gut hydrated and ensure smooth bowel movements.