Top Tips for Gut Health
Top Tips for Gut Health
Tips from Chris O'Neill, Pharmacist in LloydsPharmacy Finglas, for good gut health.
The human gut is much more complex than previously thought. It has now been linked to numerous aspects of health previously thought to be nothing to do with digestion such as emotional wellbeing and immunity.
The gut contains millions of living organisms with up to 500 different species of bacteria in the human digestive tract. Although some bacteria are harmful to our health, many are beneficial which allow for easier digestion and absorption of nutrients. Problems arise when there is an imbalance, with not enough good bacteria. This can happen due to poor diet, illness etc.
Signs of An Unhealthy Gut
Stomach disturbances such as gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea and heartburn can all be signs of an unhealthy gut.
Sleep Disturbances and Low Mood
An unhealthy gut can contribute to poor sleep and therefore lead to chronic fatigue. Serotonin, which is a hormone that stabilises our mood and sleep, is mainly produced in the gut and low levels of this hormone have been linked to depression and insomnia.
Chronic Inflammation in the Body
Research has found that an unhealthy gut can lead to inflammation in our body changing the appearance of our skin, for example leading to conditions such as acne and eczema. Chronic inflammation can also alter the functioning of our immune systems and lead to autoimmune conditions where the body attacks itself rather than foreign invaders.
5 Tips to Improve Gut Health
Eat a Diet High in Fruit and Vegetables, and Low in Sugar
Fruit and vegetables are high in fibre and bacteria in the gut help digest this fibre which in turn stimulate their own growth. Too much sugar in the diet can cause unwanted chronic inflammation in the body.
Chewing food thoroughly and eating your meals more slowly can promote full digestion and absorption of nutrients.
Drinking plenty of water has shown to be have a beneficial effect on the lining of the intestines and on the balance of good bacteria in the gut.
Get Enough Sleep
Not getting enough sleep or sufficient quality of sleep can have a negative effect on your gut health and the quality of your gut microbes. You should aim for 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night.
Take a Probiotic Supplement
Taking a probiotic is a great way of addressing the imbalance of good and bad bacteria in your gut. There are many different types of probiotics which come in the form of live good bacteria. Some probiotics are taken short term to treat a current health condition such as diarrhoea or thrush or to prevent these conditions from occurring after taking antibiotics for example. Many people take probiotics long term to aid digestion, improve the condition of their skin or to simply improve their overall health. Some people also take probiotics long-term to manage chronic conditions such as auto immune disorders as probiotics increase the amount of good bacteria which in turn help reduce inflammation in the body. Speak to your Pharmacist which probiotic would be most suitable for you.