Good Gut Food
It will come as little surprise to many people that the main function of the digestive system is to process and absorb nutrients from our food.
But how effectively the digestive system works does rely on what fuel we give it! Its funny how we make sure we fill up our cars with the right fuel to make sure they can get from A to B, service them to keep them running well – but what about our bodies? Do we pay enough attention to that sophisticated engine we call the gut? Perhaps not enough…
But the beauty of our bodies is that it is quite simple to keep them in good gut shape by the food we eat. Click on the tips below to find out more:
Ten steps to gut food heaven:
- Have a balanced diet
Make sure your diet has plenty of variety. You need to include foods rich in fibre such as fruit and vegetables, oats and beans, moderate amounts of lean meat, fish eggs and protein and milk and dairy foods.
- Choose lower fat products
Many popular foods now have lower fat varieties. Be on the look out for products high in saturated fat as these can raise cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease. For those who find it hard not to snack during the day, try a handful of nuts or dried fruit instead of crisps or chocolate.
- Give time to your meals
Don’t rush meals and try to fit in food with the rest of a hectic day. Give yourself quality time for meals and eat slowly to allow your system a better chance to digest food. Chewing food thoroughly also releases enzymes which aid digestion.
- Limit alcohol intakes
You don’t need to be tee total but when consuming large quantities of alcohol it can irritate the lining of the stomach. Women should drink no more than 2-3 units a day and men 3-4 units.
- Eat prebiotic foods
Prebiotic foods help ‘feed’ the good bacteria that are present in the intestines. These are vital for both digestive health and in building immunity. Leeks, bananas, onions and, to a lesser degree, beans and pulses are good prebiotic foods. Try and incorporate prebiotics into your daily routine.
- Drink plenty of fluids
Keeping hydrated is key for general health but also for digestive health –having enough fluids will help to keep stools softer and easier to pass. Aim to drink at least two litres (3.5pints or 8-10 glasses) a day.
- Have three meals a day
Having three meals a day is actually the optimum in terms of fuelling the body. Key to this is having a healthy breakfast – blood sugar levels are low when you wake so eating a balanced breakfast will help prevent sugar cravings later on in the day.
- Five fruit and vegetables a day
Rich in essential vitamins, minerals and fibre, ensuring you have five fruit and vegetables a day can make a big difference to your diet. Experts believe eating five or more daily servings can help ward off cancer, heart disease and strokes and ideally by eating a wide variety – aim for a rainbow of different colours.
- Eat wholegrain foods
When shopping for rice, bread, cereals and pasta look to purchase wholegrain varieties. The grains used contain valuable fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and when these grains are refined (to make white flour or rice) these are stripped away.
- Eat and drink dairy products
Not only do dairy products provide a good source of calcium, they also provide vitamins A, D and B2. Aim to have two to three moderate servings a day, aiming for low fat versions where possible.