Knowing you need to improve your lifestyle for health reasons is one thing; achieving those changes is another story, and can be overwhelming — and frustrating — with the constant messages about, frankly, unrealistic habits you have to adopt.
But good gut health (i.e.a healthy balance of bacteria and other microorganisms) doesn’t have to be hard work or involve sacrificing things you love, either.
It really is about small, simple strategies that are realistic for you to fit into your lifestyle.
The following ten micro-habits can make a meaningful difference to your gut microbes, no extra effort required.They’ve been trialled and tested by thousands of my clients. Why not try to focus on one each week for the next ten weeks.
1. Buy a new TYPE OF fruit and vegetable each week
It sounds simple, but mixing up your shopping list and adding in plant-based foods you’ve never tried, or rarely eat, is one of the best ways to increase the diversity of your gut microbes — and the ‘skills’ they offer you in terms of vitamin production, supporting your metabolism, training your immune system .. . I could go on.
Basically, each plant has a unique mix of chemicals (or phytochemicals) that nourishes the microbes in your gut.
And don’t just stick to the fresh produce aisle — try new spices, unfamiliar types of canned beans (such as black beans, see recipe, right), nuts, even jars of roasted peppers or artichokes.
Knowing you need to improve your lifestyle for health reasons is one thing; achieving those changes is another story, and can be overwhelming — and frustrating — with the constant messages about, frankly, unrealistic habits you have to adopt
2.Chew 10 to 20 times for each mouthful
It’s the kind of thing your mum might have said but it really is important to chew properly — research shows your body will then absorb more of the nutrients from your food.
In a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2009, people absorbed around 15 per cent more nutrients when they chewed almonds 40 times per mouthful than when they chewed just ten times.
Chewing more also helps relieve bloating because the food will be better absorbed before it reaches the large intestine, where anything that’s undigested is fermented by the bacteria, producing excess gas.
3.Have a morning cup of tea or coffee
Staying hydrated is super-important for your digestive and overall health. As well as keeping a water bottle with you, enjoy a cup of filtered coffee or tea in the morning (or weight loss affiliate programs decaf after noon), as they’re rich in phytochemicals.
Despite the old wives’ tale, moderate caffeine intake (around three single shots of coffee or tea per day) has been shown to be as hydrating as water.
4.Breathing exercise to de-stress your gut
<div class="art-ins mol-factbox floatRHS health" data-version="2" id="mol-27e59510-0167-11ed-b6e9-55f322cf5a71" website MEGAN ROSSI: My 10 tiny steps to boost your gut health