Gut health is the new trend, with hundreds of products coming out claiming all sorts of benefits around healing your gut, improving your digestive system, and curing IBS.
This can lead to a lot of confusion around how to actually help gut health, but the reality is that for most people, 2 major factors are the only thing you need to focus on when it comes to improving your gut.
As a note, if you are living with IBS, Coeliac, or Crohn’s disease, then it is vital to speak to a GP and Dietitian. This information is solely meant to optimise gut health in those who are unaffected by GI illnesses.
Get enough fibre
There are 2 types of fibre, soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fibre is responsible for thickening your stools and helping your digestion system, while soluble fibre is responsible for feeding your gut bacteria. Each of these have their own unique benefits and therefore it is vital to make sure we are getting enough of each.
The general guidelines for Males is 30g per day of fibre, and 25g per day for Females.
Getting enough fibre can help normalise bowel movements, control blood sugar levels, reduce the risk of several diseases, and improve your gut microbiome.
Great sources of fibre include Wholemeal Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Lentils.
The amount of fibre you are having per day is by far the most important factor in making sure you have a healthy gut.
Diversify your fibre intake
For those that are already getting enough fibre, the best way to optimise your gut health is to diversity your sources of fibre.
Although we talk about soluble fibre as a whole, it can actually be broken down into thousands of different fibres which all have minute differences in its structure. These fibres will generally do the same thing, however, different types of bacteria in your gut prefer different types of fibre.
Because of this, by diversifying your sources of fibre, you can improve your gut health by diversifying the types of bacteria that grows in your gut.
This is important because bacteria feeds on soluble fibre, and in turn will produce ‘short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs)’. SCFAs have anti-inflammatory benefits and can also improve your immune health. SCFAs are also readily used by the brain, which is one of the reasons why a healthy gut is mentioned frequently with improved mental function.