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Simple Ways To Ambush A "Bummed Out" Gut From All Angles

Most of the time we just ingest food without even thinking about it. While we may think it is not affecting us, our body is thinking otherwise. It’s time to start listening to your body. Digestion, mood, health and even the way people think is being linked to their “second brain,” also known as their gut, more and more every day.

There are three main reasons why we should never underestimate the importance of gut health when it comes to wellbeing. Firstly, It’s home to trillions of bacteria, not to mention actual human cells, that work hard to keep you fit and well.

our intestinal tract (bowel) contains trillions of microbes. These are a hugely important part of our health: they produce different hormones and vitamins, and we couldn’t survive without them.

Secondly, the majority of the cells that make up our immune system are found in our digestive tract. Having good gut health is linked to fewer sick days and lower risk of allergies and autoimmune conditions. Finally, even if you put the healthiest food into your body, if you don’t have a healthy intestinal lining to digest it, you won’t get all the benefits of what you are eating.

There is no single way to tell if you have a healthy gut – it’s a collection of factors. Constipation, diarrhoea or stomach cramps can be signs of an unhealthy gut. But just because you don’t notice any symptoms, it doesn’t mean you have good gut health. Other factors include, how often you get sick, whether you are on a restrictive diet and what medications you take, and your lifestyle can have a serious impact on gut balance.

Making simple positive changes to your life is a simple way to get a healthy gut and wholesome gut microbiome. So don't let your gut feel "bummed" out, here are some easy hacks and tips to ensure you maintain a healthy microbiome, plus advice on what to avoid that could be wreaking havoc on your digestive system.

What Exactly Is the Microbiome?

Did you know, the composition of your gut microbiome is completely unique? A bit like a fingerprint - and consists of around a trillion microbes! Therefore, what you eat can affect your microbiome, which is home to communities of bacteria and plays a major role in your overall physical and mental health.

To start, an important definition: The microbiome is the bacterial environment within your GI tract, which is made up of thousands and thousands of different types of bacterial species. All together, there are trillions of bacteria within your microbiome.

Experts believe that all diseases — from neurological to autoimmune to cardiovascular and so on - are connected to the microbiome. The gut can also affect your brain, and vice versa. That makes intuitive sense if you've ever described yourself as having a "nervous stomach" or needing a "nervous poo"! It's also common to experience GI symptoms that seem linked to your feelings or mood.

Confused About The Difference Between Pro & Prebiotics?

Probiotics are microorganisms that can occur in foods; they aren't foods themselves. Prebiotics, on the other hand, are actual foods. But bottom line: If you want the probiotics in your gut to thrive, you'll want to incorporate prebiotics in your diet. And the combination of prebiotics and probiotics helps promote a healthy gut even more than either consumed alone.

What Are Probiotics?

Gut-friendly probiotics are considered the good kind of bacteria. These living microorganisms (or microbes) naturally exist within the GI tract and offer countless health benefits, such as improved digestion and immunity. One of the most obvious advantages of probiotics is their ability to keep the microbiome in balance. When you get sick, there is an uptick in the amount of pathogenic (bad) bacteria in your GI tract. Probiotics help knock out the bad bacteria and restore a healthy ratio of good to bad. Some food this good bacteria is present in is yogurt, kefir, some soft and aged cheese, many fermented foods like kimchi, kombucha, miso, sauerkraut, tempeh and olives.

What About Prebiotics?

Prebiotics help boost the growth of friendly bacteria. If you're looking to support your gut microbiome, fibre-rich prebiotics are incredibly important. They're not digestible, so they pass right through your system, but during their time in your gut, they fuel the growth of probiotics.

Prebiotics are a type of carbohydrate, typically found in fibre-rich fruits and vegetables like asparagus, bananas, endive, chicory, garlic, globe and Jerusalem artichokes, kefir, leeks, onions as well as foods rich in soluble fibre.

Add some nutritious, fibre-rich prebiotics foods to your diet like Jerusalem artichokes, bananas, shiitake mushrooms, asparagus, potatoes, raw garlic, onions, honey, oats, chicory coffee alternative, unpasteurised apple cider vinegar.

Not To Mention A Synbiotic!

Think of synbiotics as a bridge combining probiotics with prebiotics. By adding prebiotics to probiotics, you may help the probiotics survive as they travel through the upper-intestinal tract to their ultimate destination, which is the colon. Synbiotic effects can occur in two ways by improvement in the host’s health after ingestion of a mixture of prebiotics and probiotic strains or by the promotion of indigenous beneficial microflora such as bifidobacteria after ingestion of prebiotics alone.

Given the outsized role the gut plays in your overall health, it's only natural to want to make sure it's a healthy environment. And fortunately, we do have a sense of what elements can affect — and change — your microbiome.

Focus On Gut Healing Foods

Your gut is home to good bacteria, which work to break down food and keep your immune system healthy. If your gut is in bad repair, it may take a while for it to heal and get your own digestive enzymes working efficiently. If you’re deficient in the good kind of bacteria, it can lead to a number of health problems—including feeling tired and gut discomfort.

In order to keep your gut healthy, and prevent these symptoms, you should focus on foods that are rich in fibre, plus favour certified organic foods, as they’re far richer in nutrients and free of many nasty chemicals that compromise gut health.

One of the first steps to stoping bad bacteria in its track is reducing your intake of acid forming foods, processed foods, sugar and alcohol. Gluten and dairy sensitivities are quite common, so these kinds of foods are probably best avoided if you have any sensitivities, as they contain proteins that are hard to digest. Artificial sweeteners are not good for your gut either and GMOs (genetically modified organism's) should be avoided.

The aim is to consume low HI (human intervention) foods, and reduce acidity in the body by eating more alkalising foods including your green leafy veggies, celery, broccoli, citrus fruits, seaweed, root veggies, peppers, berries, avocado, citrus fruits, nuts, butter beans and green drinks to name a few.

Some herbs that may aid digestive health include: fennel, chamomile, slippery elm, ginger, peppermint, lemon verbena, lemon balm, dandelion root, yellow dock, licorice root, oregano, garlic, ginseng.

Animal proteins can be hard to digest so are best cooked slowly in soups and stews. Spices such as garlic, ginger, cumin, cayenne and black pepper can be added to animal proteins to aid digestion.

Vegetables are best steamed or sautéed as an excess of raw vegetables can weaken digestion.

Meat bone broths are high in minerals and other essential nutrients and are excellent for healing the lining of the gut.

Grains provide a great source of fibre to aid detoxification but can be hard for some people to digest and contain anti-nutrients. If you consume grains, either soak them or ferment them to make them easier to digest. Doing this helps to neutralise anti-nutrients too. It may be worth avoiding them for a while in the initial stages of healing gut health.

Lemon juice helps stimulate digestion. A shot of lemon juice before all meals can be a good aid to digestion. While coconut oil is helpful for gut health as it contains lauric acid, which is antibacterial and anti-fungal.

Gut health hacks don't stop at the food you eat though—keeping a check on your lifestyle and mental health makes the list too.

Move More

Exercise is one of the best ways to improve your gut health, but it's important to not overdo it. It helps us keep our weight in check and maintain a healthy body. If you start exercising too much, however, this can lead to other problems like dehydration. Exercise doesn't have to mean running marathons or hitting the gym every day—you can even fit in some exercise by simply walking more often. Take the stairs instead of riding an elevator for etc, there are always ways we can get more movement into our lives.

Manage Stress

Try not to eat when you are angry or stressed, as your body’s fight or flight response predominates at those times, meaning digestion is not a priority and is slowed. Tension can have a profound impact on your gut health and can cause digestive problems like, indigestion and constipation to name a few. Feeling tense or stressed also affects the way in which you digest food, which can lead to many other problems.

Be Mindful & Rest To Digest

You'll have heard of meditation and breath-work - but how are they on a list of gut health hacks? Some forms of mindfulness, such as yoga are vital in helping support the gut-brain connection.

Eating smaller meals, taking more time and chewing your food thoroughly, so it liquefies before you swallow. Saliva contains digestive enzymes that help break down foods, so it's also important to avoid drinking with your meal as it dilutes the enzymes.

In addition, when you don't get enough rest and sleep, your hormones can become unbalanced, and the stress hormone, cortisol, can rise. Increased stress can cause intestinal permeability issues—or something known as leaky gut—where food and toxins are able to pass through the intestine and into the bloodstream.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Sure, the food's important, but so too is drinking lots - and lots - of water, as it is essential for overall digestive health. Water aids in the absorption and transport of nutrients throughout your body. Drinking water also softens stools and improves bowel motility. You can always add fruit to flavour.

Protect From Medication & Limit Where Possible

Antibiotics deplete many bacteria, not just the ones making you sick. That’s why they should only be used under the supervision of a doctor when you really need them, as studies show that antibiotics alter the composition of your gut biome in the long and short term, and some doctors may also prescribe a probiotic at the same time. If you do need them, make sure to top up your prebiotic fibre intake to nourish your good bugs, and get a microbiome test to see how you can help them recover.

Limit Snacking

We all love a good munch on something delicious, but snacking for the sake of it may not be promoting a healthy gut.

Eating triggers a healthy immune response known as postprandial inflammation. This is normal, but if you eat all the time, you’re actually prolonging this inflammatory state, increasing your calorie intake, and promoting weight gain. Luckily, there are a few simple hacks to solve the snacking.

First of all, don’t buy snacks — that’s where it all starts. Then, build wholesome meals with protein, fats, and fibre, it will keep you fuller for longer. Bring those meals to work so you’re not tempted by snacks when you head out for a disappointing sandwich. It’ll save you money too!

And finally, leaving an optimal 14 hours between your dinner and your breakfast - say, having dinner at 7.30pm and eating breakfast at 9.30am - can be a great way to rest, repair and enhance your overall gut health.

This however may not work for everyone if you body dictates more regular eating - but it can work for some.

Gut Promoting Snacks Inspo...

Greek yogurt with whole grain cereal, nuts, seeds, banana, and honey

Providing a healthy dose of probiotics and has even more protein than regular yogurt, leaving you fuller for longer. Your favorite whole grain cereal, walnuts, sliced banana, chia seeds, and a drizzle of honey are perfect toppers that offer both prebiotics, anti-inflammatory benefits, and longer-lasting satisfaction.

Tortilla chips with guacamole and salsa

Tortilla chips, guacamole, and salsa make a flavorful and filling combo. Avocados and tomatoes are potent anti-inflammatory and prebiotic ingredients. While you’re there, grab a low-sugar kombucha to add some healthy bacteria into the mix.

Energy balls with oats, seeds and nut butter

Energy balls (or bars) are so versatile, nutrient-dense, and delicious that eating them can truly feel like you’re indulging in a treat. Start with oats and flaxseed, both of which contain prebiotics—typically soluble fibres that act as food for our healthy gut bacteria, helping them to flourish. Then add in anti-inflammatory (and protein-packed) almond butter (or whatever nut butter you love) to create a simple go-to energy ball base. From here, add in any other ingredients you like including anti-inflammatory powerhouses like chia seeds, dark chocolate, chopped walnuts, honey, dried cherries for example.


Whole grain popcorn, not the pre-bagged or microwave version, can be beneficial for your gut health. We’re talking about whole kernels that you pop on the hob. Popcorn kernels contain vitamins, minerals, fibre, and protein. The fibre in popcorn improves digestion and normalises bowel movements. And the vitamins and minerals in popcorn help supply key nutrients to your gut microbiome.

Vegetables with hummus

Vegetables like carrots, celery, bell peppers, and cauliflower are delicious finger foods that you can dip in hummus for a nutritious snack. These veggies are low in calories while also providing your body with vitamins, minerals and fibre. Remarkably, eating high-fiber foods can reduce your risk of colon cancer, hemorrhoids, constipation and diarrhea.

The content provided in our articles is provided for information purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice and consultation, including professional medical advice and consultation; it is provided with the understanding that YK DAILY is not engaged in the provision or rendering of medical advice or services. The opinions and content included in the articles are the views only and may not be scientifically factual. You understand and agree by reading anything on our website that YK DAILY shall not be liable for any claim, loss, or damage arising out of the use of, or reliance upon any content or information published. All images are from Pinterest, if you know the original creator please let us know, so that we can credit them.


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