Probiotics, eating more fibre and avoiding processed foods are top dietary tips to improve the good bugs in our gut.
Lifestyle Tips for Gut Health
Here are 5 non-food tips for gut health to help you develop and maintain good gut health through lifestyle as well.
1. Get a pet
The more varied our mix of bacteria is the more healthy we are. This is why it’s important to eat a variety of different foods rather than relying on the same things all the time.
If you live with a dog or cat then you’ll be exposed to their bacteria through stroking them, being licked and also the things they bring into the house from their feet, mud and mess. After all animals lick themselves clean most of the time, and dogs aren’t afraid to get dirty (cats not so much!). Pet owners tend to have a more varied mix of bug microbes.
2. Avoid antibacterial soaps
You don’t need antibacterial soaps and cleaners, we are too obsessed with removing bacteria. Most bacteria isn’t pathogenic (bad) but when we kill off 99.9% (as the bleach and cleaners proudly state) then all the harmless bacteria is killed off too. This means there is room for the bad bugs to jump in and start procreating.
Also a substance commonly used in antibacterial products, triclosan, has been shown to have a ‘profound’ disruptive impact on gut flora in mice. Avoid this and just use warm soapy water to clean you hands and kitchen.
3. Avoid antibiotics
We know more about the over prescription of antibiotics now, but where possible avoid using them. We are lucky to live in a country where we have access to medicine that can resolve infections, but they are often over prescribed. If you do need antibiotics then consider a probiotic to replace the good microbes.
Use of antibiotics in farming is widespread and non-organic animals have high use of antibiotics, especially pig farming.
When we’re stressed our digestion slows down, and the gastric juices are reduced. This means food passes through to the gut in a partially digested state, which causes fermenting, gas and bloating.
Being stressed also changes the bacterial balance in your gut, more of the negative bugs are present, and less of the good ones. Find a way to switch off from the stresses of your day.
People who exercise more have a healthier mix of gut microbes. If you start exercising your gut health improves, and if you stop it can go more downhill. So it’s within your control and the great thing is effects on our gut microbes can be seen within hours of exercising.
If you have a dog you are also more likely to be out for a walk every day, linking with non-food tips for gut health Number 1!
Hi I'm Anna Mapson, registered Nutritionist (mBANT, CNHC). I help people with IBS, gut health and digestive issues.
I can help you to:
- understand your digestion better, so you recognise your triggers
- eat a well balanced diet, with tasty meals that are simple to prepare
- develop healthy, sustainable habits for life
“Anna is amazing! I feel totally transformed"
To find more about 1:1 nutrition consultations or my group membership see my IBS Diet support page
What you need to know about Weight Loss with IBS
How to tackle exercise, diet change and stay consistent.