If you’ve been experiencing the trifecta of poor gut health signs – we’re talking about constipation, diarrhoea and bloating, here – or some of the less obvious signs like poor mood, brain fog and fatigue, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve got a few tips to boost your gut health in no time, from learning how to quit added sugar to consuming prebiotic-rich foods – it’s all here!
One of the major reasons for dysregulated gut health is excess sugar consumption. This is because, as research shows, overdoing it on the added sugar can suppress the immune response, with only a 75-gram dose of the sweet stuff required to negatively affect immunity. We also know added sugar promotes inflammation, poor digestion and backed up pipes! One of the best ways to get your gut back in order is through a diet overhaul with a focus on whole, minimally-processed foods. Research shows the gut has a direct link to the brain and gut inflammation throws our neurotransmitters out of whack, and that’s why so many of us experience cognitive symptoms with our gut issues – and it's also why many of us dismiss the possibility of poor gut health. That trifecta of constipation, diarrhoea and bloating we mentioned earlier may be a more obvious sign, but mood issues and fatigue are just as common. How does it happen? Well, when we eat too much sugar, gut bacteria like Proteobacteria and Bacteroidetes can get out of control and cause inflammation. If we don’t restore our gut health and combat inflammation, we can end up at a greater risk for developing a number of diseases like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune disorders and mental health disorders.
Eat your probiotics
Fermented foods are a great way to get a good dose of gut-boosting probiotics. These are the good bacteria that colonise our gut and help get our microbiome back in balance. The fermentation process involves preserving food, originally having been used to extend shelf life in the days before our trusty refrigerators. But that’s not its only benefit – fermentation produces microorganisms which provide beneficial, gut-boosting bacteria and create that familiar acidic taste we associate with fermented foods. Here are a few to include in your diet to improve gut health:
Fermented foods don’t just improve your gut health by providing these healthy bacteria, they also improve the bioavailability of other nutrients – this means they’re more readily absorbed and used by our bodies. This is especially evident in grains, dairy products and legumes that are harder to digest in their original forms. Grains in particular have higher levels of phytic acid pre-fermentation, and this acid binds to nutrients and prevents us from properly absorbing them. That’s why fermentation is so beneficial to our gut – research shows it strips those nutrient-binding acids away and leaves you with a more bioavailable product that’s easier on the digestive system.
Get your fibre
Along with fermented foods, it’s also important to get a good dose of prebiotic-rich foods that those probiotics can flourish on. You’ll want to prioritise whole, fresh fruits and veggies, along with seeds and nuts, legumes and whole grains. Fibre is one of the key elements for a healthy microbiome, with studies showing it reduces hunger frequency, so we’ll be less likely to binge on ultra-processed foods. It’s also essential for blood sugar regulation, appetite management and bowel movement regularity. You’ll want to enjoy a variety of high-fibre foods for gut health, as a lack of this nutrient is sure to result in an unbalanced microbiome. With only 5% of us getting enough fibre, it’s no surprise so many of us are having gut issues. 19 to 38 grams per day is the current daily intake recommendation, and it’s not that hard to reach when you go for whole foods.
Healthy fats are also important for a healthy gut, and this is because they improve digestion and ensure we can absorb other nutrients like vitamins A, D and E are fat soluble. They also help balance blood-sugar levels, boost brain health and regulate your appetite. You’ll find these fats in avocados, walnuts, eggs, ghee, olive oil and coconut milk.
Ditch inflammatory foods
If you’re looking ot restore your gut health, you’ll want to cut out the inflammatory foods in your diet. The difficult part? They’re all around us. From processed snacks to cereals, confectionery and even bread – many of our household staples are loaded with preservatives, added sugars, excess salt and ultra-processed oils known for messing with our hormones. An estimated 80% of women are affected by hormonal imbalances, which research has shown can go on to lead to the development of diseases like Alzheimer’s disease. By cutting these foods out, you’ll also reduce your risk for heart disease. Inflammatory foods to avoid include:
- Deep fried foods
- Fast food
- Ultra-processed foods
- Added sugars
- Trans fats
We’ve got studies showing the trans fats result in a higher amount of C-reactive protein in the body – to put it simply, this is one of the markers for inflammation.
Need a little help getting your health goals started? We’re here to help. Join us for the 8-Week Program. We’ll help you change the way you look at food – and that doesn’t mean you have to follow restrictive diets or miss out on your favourite foods; we believe you can still enjoy delicious food without jeopardising your health. With celebrity chef Sarah Glover on our panel of experts, you’ll have an array of fun recipes at your fingertips, along with our own exclusive armoury of simple, tasty and healthy recipes for everything from daily meals to impressive entertaining. We know it can be hard to stick to your health goals – especially when you’re trying to manage it alone. When you sign up with us, you’ll have access to clear-cut meal plans, community support and exclusive access to our sugar-free content. Here’s what’s on offer:
- 8 weeks of meal plans and shopping lists.
- 90+ member-only recipes.
- Community forums to share your journey.
- Support and guidance from the I Quit Sugar team.
- Exclusive content from our panel of experts.
So, if you’re ready to ditch sugar and the host of maladies that come with it, it’s not too late to join. We’d love to help you get started on your health journey. Sign up HERE today!
I Quit Sugar
March 21, 2023
Hey Marie, thanks for commenting! Many shop-bought kombucha brands can go a little overboard on the sugar, so as long as you look for one that’s on the lower side of things (try to keep it under 5 grams of sugar per 100 grams of kombucha – that’s around 0.12 oz per 3.5 oz), you’ll still be doing your gut a lot of good. If you like, you can make your own kombucha at home and simply ferment it longer to minimise the amount of sugar that remains. Kombucha can be a great source of gut-healthy probiotics as long as you avoid some of the high-sugar brands – it also helps to steer clear of the fruit-based flavours as these tend to be higher in sugar. Here is a sugar-free option from Remedy: https://www.harrisfarm.com.au/products/remedy-organic-kombucha-ginger-lemon-4×250ml-65527