Hello everyone! How are you today? I hope you have had a great week since I wrote to you last.
I have been making it a priority in my life to read books that I find interesting and that grow my knowledge in some shape or form. I must say I love a nutrition/health/wellness book. I love to learn as much as I can about health in all the forms it takes. I don’t think we ever stop learning and there certainly isn’t enough hours in a day to learn everything there is to know. I always learn so much from just one book and I love to share what I have learned with you!
This week’s podcast was also on this book (image above) “The Mind-Gut Connection” by Emeran Mayer, MD. A very science-orientated, knowledge dense book. It wasn’t the easiest nutrition book to read but fascinating none the less. I love taking books of this nature and transferring the info into an easily understood format. This way I can solidify my knowledge in this area and you guys can learn something new without all the work that reading a book entails!
Below is the podcast episode if you want to listen to this instead of reading it. There is also more info in the podcast!
So, without further ado, here is a 10-step guide to a healthier, happier gut by Emeran Mayer.
There are a few socio-economic and physiological issues to consider within these statements. I will not be going into these issues today. This blog post is purely educational with cold, hard facts backed up with scientific evidence. Please, if you have a problematic relationship with food or this information triggers you in some way, stop reading. Trigger warning: health related issues, food, calories, eating.
- Practice natural and organic farming of your gut microbiome.
Remember that saying “you are what you eat” – well it’s kind of true. Your gut microbial diversity mirrors what you eat. In a very simplified way, the gut is made up of bacteria. For the purpose of understanding we are going to call them good and bad bacteria. Foods rich in refined sugar, toxic fats, animal fats, processed foods feed the “bad” bacteria in your gut, allowing these bacteria to flourish instead of the good, nourishing bacteria that ensures overall wellbeing. Vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, beans, seeds, pre and probiotics etc, all enrich the good bacteria in the gut.
Picture your gut microbiome as your little farm. What would you feed your animals? Food that will nourish their bodies? Yes, let’s do that!
2. Cut down on animal fat in your diet.
A substantial body of evidence linked a high consumption of animal fat to obesity, and several other malignancies including cancers of the breast, colon and prostate. A diet rich in animal fat is also linked with poor brain functioning and health.
Our bodies are simply not made to cope with this type of westernised diet. Animal fat is shown to be particularly dangerous – meats rich in fat, cheese etc.
I must also add that a diet rich in animal fat and products are most likely low in plants such as veg, fruit, nuts, seeds, legumes. This is 100% adding to these starling figures. A good place to start is to cut down on animal fat and focus on increasing plants in your diet.
3. Maximise your gut microbial diversity.
- Reduce animal food sources.
- Increase and focus your diet on plant sources of food – veg, fruit, nuts, seeds, legumes, beans, whole-grains.
- Reduce processed foods – this in turn will dramatically reduce refined sugar intake, chemicals and toxic fats.
- Drink water and lots of it.
- Put fresh herbs in your food – they taste amazing and are amazing for you.
- Green tea and other herbal teas.
- PLANT FIBRE! – whole-grains, fruit and vegetables.
- Fermented food products (see at step 5).
Finally, listen to your body and more specifically your gut feelings and intuition. How do certain foods make you feel? Your body has designed and evolved to flourish with a diet rich in plant products with minimal animal foods that were wild caught and healthy. The body is not and will never be able to cope with the typical westernised diet.
4. Avoid mass-produced and processed foods and maximise organically grown foods.
I would argue we shouldn’t even call processed foods, “food”. It’s null of nutrients and a total waste of time to consume, harmful to consume. There is no biological benefit to consuming processed foods and there never will be. As soon as you remove these foods from your diet you stop craving them. The “bad” bacteria in the gut will reduce and will stop craving these foods. Virtually every system in the body will improve. Trust me on this.
Organically grown food is rich in nutrients and biodiverse in nature. Making this switch is monumental for your health.
5. Eat fermented food and probiotics.
“Fermentation in food processing is the process of converting carbohydrates to alcohol or organic acids using microorganisms—yeasts or bacteria—under anaerobic conditions.”
Many fermented foods:
- kimchi – salted and fermented vegetables
- sauerkraut – fermented cabbage
- kombucha – fermented green or black tea
- miso – fermented soya bean (amazing in stir fry)
- kefir – yogurt enriched with probiotics
These foods are enriched with probiotics and fantastic for your gut health! You can get a hold of these foods in many supermarkets.
A good, vegan, natural probiotic, made from fermented fruit and vegetables, i take and love -https://www.togetherhealth.co.uk/products/multibiotic-fermented-food?_pos=5&_sid=42faef3d9&_ss=r
6. Be mindful of prenatal nutrition and stress.
If you are pregnant or thinking of having a child – your diet and health is important for your child’s health. The maternal gut microbiome (delivered to the baby through breastfeeding) produces metabolites that can influence the baby’s brain development, diet induced inflammation and the baby’s microbiome and gut health.
Stress during pregnancy and throughout childhood has negative effects on the Childs health physically and mentally. If you are pregnant or have a child, manage your stress as it may have adverse effects on your Childs health.
If you would like a whole blog post on this I can do so. Let me know!
7. Eat smaller portions.
We have a major obesity epidemic. Many of us can benefit from consuming a few less calories. Packaged foods/ processed foods will have calories per serving. The serving is usually not representative of a real person serving and the calories may not be correct. Foods rich in toxic fats and refined sugar are also addictive in nature.
8. Don’t eat when you’re stressed, angry or sad.
Emotions have a profound effect on the gut and the microbial environment in the form of gut reactions. A negative emotional state can throw off the gut-microbiota- brain axis in several ways.
When feeling these emotions, hold off from eating anything or find ways to calm this emotion.
9. Enjoy meals together.
The Mediterranean diet has been praised for its health benefits for decades. Have you ever heard of the French paradox?
The French consume many refined carbohydrates, wines and saturated fats, yet seem to be totally healthy. A concept that has puzzles the nutrition world and still does. One of the theories for this is that the French consume food as an experience, with people in abundance and love. Consumption of food takes time and preparation and is always with others and a slow, enjoyable experience. In comparison, we consume food quickly, mindlessly and in front of TV’s without connection.
This may be the reason the French are so healthy, despite their food choices.
10. Become an expert at listening to your gut feelings.
Listening to your bodies signals is always a good idea. I believe our bodies know more about everything than our conscious minds. Mindfulness, mediation and other ways in which we use to look within are helpful in fine-tuning your gut feelings, allowing them to be more accurate and insightful.
Take a moment before eating to be grateful for your food, listen to your body and react according to what your body is telling you. You might see real changes in your body and behaviour.
There we have it, 10 steps to a healthier, happier gut! I hope you enjoyed this blog post and got some valuable information from it!
Thank you for reading.