If you’re all up to date with health events, you may know that digestive health has a dedicated day when it's celebrated worldwide, this year on the 29th of May. But you may be wondering how and why do you celebrate healthy digestion?
Unfortunately, this day has very little to do with the nation’s favourite, the Digestive Biscuit. Instead, it’s an invitation to learn more about how to improve and maintain optimal gut health. A healthy gut will facilitate nutrient absorption which will allow you to maintain better overall health. Gut health is also believed to be strongly associated with the health of your mind and a stronger immune system. Not to mention that digestive problems such as indigestion, bloating, acid reflux, heartburn and constipation can often stand in the way of an active mind and body as they can diminish the quality of your sleep and exercise performance.
You can surely improve gut health and prevent digestive disorders naturally, but for that it’s very important to make the majority of your daily lifestyle choices with better gut health in mind. Today we’ll discuss in more detail how you can optimise three important elements of your lifestyle that relate to the health of your gut.
1. Boost your fibre intake
Eating a diverse diet that includes various sources of fruit and vegetables, beans, pulses, herbs, nuts and seeds is key to feeding your gut microbiome all the nutrients it needs to function properly. To ensure that you get the best of your wholefoods intake, we recommend opting for organic foods, which are usually more nutrient-dense than their conventional alternatives, and consulting a health professional to ensure that your food intake matches your daily activity levels.
We’d also like to emphasise the importance of dietary fibre in maintaining a healthy gut. Dietary fibre is believed to get things moving in your digestive system, feeds the good bacteria in your gut, and helps keep you fuller for longer.
Many processed foods contain little to no fibre so they may not be your best bet if you’re looking to boost fibre intake. The good news is that if the majority of your diet consists of plant-based whole foods, you most probably get enough fibre daily. A delicious, really convenient way to reach the Recommended Daily Intake of fibre (i.e. 30g for adults in the UK) is by boosting your meals with superfoods such as our Gut Feel Flaxseed range, Chia+ Pudding range, Chia seeds, Wheatgrass powder, Barleygrass powder, Lucuma powder or our Breakfast Boosters.
Check our recipe section to discover three mesmerising Chia pudding recipes. Alternatively, browse our recipe section to choose from dozens of recipes including our fibre-rich superfoods.
If you’re currently on a very low fibre diet, we suggest you slowly increase your daily fibre intake and always distribute it between several meals to avoid symptoms of overconsumption such as bloating, abdominal pain or gas.
2. Improve stress management
Your mood and gut health are in fact interrelated. It’s believed that the majority of the serotonin in the body, the happiness hormone, is produced in the gut.
What can you do to boost serotonin production?
This wonderful hormone is made from the essential amino acid tryptophan, which the human body absorbs from various foods including vegan sources such as quinoa, oats, cacao, spirulina and chia.
Aim to get enough of the sunshine vitamin daily. Adequate vitamin D levels in the body were proven to support serotonin synthesis, so make sure you get enough of this fantastic vitamin year-round. Vitamin D is produced by the body when in direct contact with the sunlight as well as from dietary sources such as mushrooms.
Try our vegan vitamin D rich organic Mushroom Superblend in coffee, shakes, smoothies, porridge and bakes.
Additionally, the body produces a hormone called cortisol when under stress. Produced in excess and for long periods, cortisol can inhibit the normal function of your digestive system.
What can you do to manage stress better?
The good news is that there is a fantastic range of stress-reducing daily habits - to fit every schedule and preference - you can develop. If you’re not sure where to start, simply choose to try or improve one of the habits below:
- Sleep – When you are relaxed and full of energy, you are more likely to tackle daily challenges with more tact, recover better after exercise, achieve more and carry more purposeful conversations, hence stress less. Read this blog to find out how you can improve your sleep quality.
- Meditation – a meditation routine can last as little as 3 minutes a day. What’s more important is that you do it consistently to feel the stress-reducing benefits. Read the blog written by our Naturya ambassador Louise to learn how meditation can help you re-energise.
- Breathing – There is more to breathing than inhaling and exhaling. Performed mindfully as part of a daily routine, following a precise technique, breathing can have fantastic stress relieving benefits. Learn how to breathe for better stress management here.
- Journaling and creating a priority list- Laying down your thoughts at the end of the day can help you understand your feelings in a more rational way, prevent racing thoughts at night, and help you decide on how you could better deal with daily stressors the following day. Similarly, writing down a priority list at the beginning of the day will help you have a better outlook of what to expect, how to plan your day, and what you could postpone to avoid feeling overwhelmed when things don’t work out how you expected. Not to mention that it’s incredibly satisfying to tick things off your list when they’re done!
- Enjoy the small things in life – petting a dog, laughing with a friend, enjoying a delicious drink or meal, getting a massage, and doing some form of exercise. These are all proven to boost one or more happiness hormones including serotonin, dopamine and endorphins.
3. Review your eating & drinking habits
- Cut down caffeine– Several foods and drinks consumed in excess can irritate your gut lining and cause abdominal cramping. Coffee, which contains high levels of caffeine, can often upset your stomach. So, we’d recommend sticking to a maximum of two cups a day, and try not have it on an empty stomach. Another thing that can help is opting for coffee blends that have lower acidity such as darker roasts and arabica beans.
For a natural, caffeine free energy boost, try our delicious organic Energy Functional blend made with a combination of Maca, Lucuma and Baobab to support normal energy metabolism.
- Eat mindfully – paying attention to your food, chewing better and slowing down by putting your fork down after every bite comes with several benefits including better digestion, enhanced pleasure during your dining experience, and better appetite regulation.
We hope that this guide offers a great array of tips to naturally restore and maintain your digestive health. If you need some healthy recipes inspiration though, make sure to check our recipe section.